Friday, December 27, 2013

Buy only what you love

My maternal aunt  lived all her life in the thatched cottage  where she was born. 



 She was the eldest of seven children.  Aunt Mary was "delicate".  In Ireland it was not uncommon to hear the word delicate used when one was unhealthy.

We moved away from this area when I was eight years old.   My parents returned for visits but I did not.  My first job was in Dublin and when I had a week's vacation, I took my school friend with me and we visited my Aunt Mary.  Mary never married. She was an excellent housekeeper and loved her nieces and nephews which she rarely saw, due to the distance between Galway and Dublin. She was of curious mind, had a marvelous sense of humour with a happy and contented disposition.
I had a new fashionable wardrobe and I discovered Mary loved glamour and was an expert with needle and thread.  She inspected each item of our clothing and enjoyed trying on our dresses and high heels.  She moaned that it was difficult to get fashionable items where she lived.

My friend and I spend our days at the beach by our old farm and returned daily to Aunt Mary's in time for tea and her delicious freshly baked breads.


Autumn came and I was back working in Dublin and spending my lunch hours window shopping.  One day a coat caught my eye.  It would be perfect for Aunt Mary.   Each week I visited the shop and paid an installment on the coat.  In a few months, I had paid for the coat and I hastily ran to the GPO and mailed the coat to Aunt Mary.

She wrote that it was the most beautiful coat she had ever seen and was looking forward to wearing it to Sunday mass and for special occasions.

Aunt Mary died one year later and my uncle returned the coat to me.   

I loved that coat even more as it had brought joy to Aunt Mary and gently caressed her delicate figure.  I wore it until it became threadbare.  

64 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story and memory. It makes you so glad that you did something like that when you look back on life....and didn't just 'think about it'. I feel like I've never really found my style but I still have time! heehee! Hope your week is beautiful!

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    1. Hello Diane
      Aunt Mary was a very kind and generous soul and it was my joy in buying her the coat. She shared my taste or perhaps I learned from her.
      Thanks for visiting and wishing you a very Happy New Year my friend
      Helen x

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  2. A beautiful story, Helen. How special that you saved up so you could buy the coat for your aunt! She must have been so happy when she opened the package. Now, you get to wear it too, and I bet it is a special piece in your closet, for all the memories it holds.

    I wish you and yours a happy, healthy new year, Helen, full of pretty coats, and special moments spent with friends and family. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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    1. Hello Veronique, Thank you for validating my post. It is always marvelous when we find what we think to be the perfect present. I did love the coat and visited it weekly for three months until it was paid for.
      I was happy that she did wear it for her final year on earth.
      Wishing you a glorious New Year filled with joy and travel
      Helen xx

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  3. What a beautiful story, Helen! So, you're Irish, aren't you?

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    1. Glad you liked this story. Yes, I was born and educated in Ireland and left to see the world before I was 20 yrs and forgot to go home!!! (except for visits).
      Wishing you a very happy New Year

      Helenxx

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  4. I can picture it all Helen - you young girls visiting your Aunt Mary, and the diligent way you saved up for a special coat for her - a lovely read.

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    1. Hello Rosemary
      Mary was very special. She had no need to criticize and for two young girls visiting her she made us feel very important. It was the least I could do for her. Thank you for your welcome comments.
      Wishing you a creative, joyful and peaceful New Year

      Helen xx

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  5. What a beautiful story, and how wonderful that you bought the coat in instalments - your Aunt must have treasured it all the more as it came from you. Thank you for sharing this story. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday, and best wishes for a very Happy New Year!! xo

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    1. Hello Louise
      Hope you are enjoying the Christmas season and I wish you a joyful, creative and successful 2014.
      My starting salary as a secretary was miniscule and installments were a fact of life then.
      Helen xx

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  6. A lovely story Helen, and perfect for the season. Your Aunt's cottage is picture-perfect - how wonderful to have known her, and given her that coat!

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    1. Hello Patricia

      Her cottage was always tidy and cheerful with fresh wild flowers in containers and starched white linen. She baked the best scones, I am making myself hungry just thinking of them.
      Wishing you and your family the very best in 2014
      Helen x

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  7. I love this story--and can picture it all so vividly! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hello Jen

      Thank you for visiting and happy to hear you enjoyed this story. Wishing you a very Happy and healthy New Year

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  8. What a beautiful story and how kind you were. I'm sure she treasured that coat and wore it with pride.
    Lovely
    Julie x

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    1. Hello Julie
      Aunt Mary was slim and a good model for clothing. One might say she was too thin. She loved fashion and knew good fabric and good design,
      Wishing you a very Happy New Year
      Helen xx

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  9. So beautiful Helen. You brought a tear to my eye because this story is so full of love. Amazing how our twin paths have crossed over the last year, your support and friendship has been wonderful! I wish you continued joy and solace in your work and your life, and blessings from Ireland on you and your family. x

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    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thank you for your comment. I am delighted to have found you and your very special blog which brings joy and news from home. Thank you for the kind wishes which I return twofold.

      A very Happy New Year.

      Helen xx

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  10. What a wonderful story and what a lovely thing you did to buy your aunt the coat. Don't we wish all of our gifts could have such a special meaning.
    Sam

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    1. Hello Sam,
      You are so right. It brings us such joy when we find the perfect gift for a loved one. It also helps when we know the persons taste in clothing.
      Wishing you the joys of 2014
      Helenxx

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  11. Happiness is moments and that was one that keeps on giving!
    Happy new Year Dear Friend!
    Lots of Love to you always,
    Terri

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    1. Dear Terri

      Wishing you the joys of 2014 and good health and happiness to your family

      Looking forward to reading your posts
      Helen xx

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  12. An admirable principle, Helen, and beautifully illustrated, both words and pictures. I hope I will live likewise.

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    1. My dear Dr. Mise

      A hundred thousand thank you's for this high compliment. This means very much to me when I consider the source.
      You are a beautiful example to all who encounter your gentle presence.
      My fondest wishes for a New Year filled with joy
      Helen xx

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  13. The most lovely story, to be reading, especially at Christmas time, Helen....I too had an Aunt Mary, she was a very large part of who I am today...best wishes of the season, N.xo

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    1. Hello Nella

      Thank you for your message and I am delighted to hear you had a special Aunt Mary in your life.
      Wishing you a very happy New Year
      Helen xx

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  14. I do so enjoy reading about your youth in Ireland and your family cottages..
    What a lovely post Helen. A really lovely gesture to buy Aunt Mary a new coat.
    I am glad that the coat returned to you to use.
    Lovely memories Helen.
    Wishing you a very Happy New Year.
    lots of love val x x x x

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    1. Dear Valerie

      Aunt Mary was special in so many ways. Life had not been easy for her and she always managed to be generous and undemanding. She took great joy in he bouquets of daisies we presented to her each day upon returning from the beach. We used tell her "a tall dark and handsome man asked us to deliver them to her" The laughter would ring!!
      Fun and simpler times
      Happy New Year to you and your family

      Helen xx

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  15. Oh Helen you paint as beautiful a picture with words as you do with a brush!! This was a beautiful story. . .amazing how so many of us can look back in our lives and remember a special "Aunt Mary". . .I was lucky enough to have one as well. Happy New Year to you and yours!! xx Jackie

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    1. Hello Jackie

      Oh thank you for your kindness. I struggle to write and admire writers such as your good self and other bloggers.

      How fortunate you are to have had a special aunt also.
      Wishing you and Joel a very Happy New Year

      Helen xx

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  16. Oh Helen, what a wonderful post. I think you could write a book about your wonderful childhood memories, you captured it so well I could see it in my mind's eye. I love the way things were treasured when we were young and really used and loved.
    Thank you so much for your visit and kind words, my 'wallpaper' was handpainted and stencilled and I am very pleased with how it turned out. I wish you and your husband every good thing the New Year can bring you, with all my love, Linda x

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    1. Dear Linda
      How kind of you. I would need a very good Editor should I ever write my stories. I admire your writing abilities and so many other erudite authors in our blogging world.

      Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year

      Helenxx

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  17. What a sweet story and what a wonderful thing you did for your aunt. She must have been beyond excited to receive that gift and how very thoughtful of you. She must have been a lovely person. These kinds of memories are so special. Happy New Year to you, Helen.

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    1. Hello Sanda

      She was indeed a very special woman. In some ways she never abandoned her childish humour and joy. Yes I am grateful for my family
      Wishing you a very Happy new Year

      Helen xx

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  18. Dear Helen,

    I so enjoy your wonderful stories of family and surroundings in your magical Ireland! They have a lovely, lyrical essence to them. And, I always learn such interesting tidbits, and this narration is no exception, with the nuances of 'delicate', for example. Your gift to your Aunt Mary was, I'm sure, very much treasured and appreciated and the meaning behind its return to you, intriguing.

    Thank you for sharing these unique moments of your life.

    Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy New Year, full of colour!

    xo
    Poppy

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    1. Dear Poppy

      I am flattered to receive such praise from one such as your good self who is a master with "the pen".
      Mary was so grateful and generous and no gift was too good for her.
      Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year

      Helen xx

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  19. Such a beautiful story Helen. Sorry to hear you aunt died so soon after she received your beautiful gift, but I think she must have cherished the coat you gave her, just like you cherished it after she was gone.

    Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy 2014!

    Madelief x

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    1. Dear Madelief
      Thank you for your good wishes. I wish you and your daughters a very Happy New Year and peace and goodness in 2014.

      Yes it was comforting to wear the coat and know it had kept Mary warm.
      Helen xx

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  20. Such a lovely story! Thank you for the lovely comment on my blog - hope you had a wonderful Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

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    1. Thank you for visiting.
      It is always a joy to read your blog
      Wishing you the joys and goodness of 2014
      Helen xx

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  21. Dear Helen...I just adore the story of your Aunt Mary..what a gorgeous soul you are to have gifted her a beautiful coat. Just imagining the day she unwrapped it is a treat. I am so glad you are able to hold onto the memory, they are so precious and I imagine she would be "tickled pink"...an expression my father used to use to know that it is with you. Sending you warm wishes for a fabulous New Year Helen....looking forward to sharing another one with you...xxx

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    1. Dear Jeanne
      I love you late father's term "ticked pick". It truly expresses the feeling of gratitude and joy.
      She was easy to love and to coin one of my father's sayings "she wouldn't hurt a fly"
      Wishing you a marvelous time in Australia with you family this holidays season.
      To a great year with lots of adventures.

      Helenxx

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  22. Dearest Helen,

    That cottage is sublime. I love the architecture of the Irish dwellings, but more so, the STORIES behind them. Your Aunt Mary sounds a lot like my mother....so many stories to tell, but I love how you caressed this coat until it was no longer able to stand. So telling....

    Thank you so much for coming to visit me. I had the most splendid time revisiting my origins. It was extremely refreshing to see the ocean again, and to see my long-lost elders INSIDE OF US, the cousins that remain.

    Peace and beauty to you in 2014! Anita

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    1. Hello Anita

      I do agree with you about Irish cottages, someone said they look like they just emerged from the earth and they fit so beautifully with the colours of Ireland and the magnificent Irish skies.. Thank you for your visits and friendship and I am very much looking forward to a lots of joy in 2014.

      Helen xx

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  23. Oh, what a bittersweet story Helen. It's lovely that you got the coat back and have been able to cherish it yourself, knowing how much Aunt Mary enjoyed it such a special gift.
    Wishing you every blessing, joy, and happiness in 2014...♥
    xo J~

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    1. Dear Jessica

      Lovely to see you here. I did love the coat and still felt the same about it when it was returned to me. Some items are just stylish and classic.
      The belted waist, fit my 25" waist perfectly. Oh to have that waist line today..We can always make New Year's resolutions! Hee

      Wishing you the joys of 2014
      Helen xx

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  24. My dearest Helen,

    Happy New Year. Hope you had a good Christmas.

    I love the story of your Aunt Mary and it's beautifully written. Its like reading a short story by Chekov or a character from Little Women. I'm sure that Aunt Mary was very touched by your thoughtful gift. I gave a beautiful throw as a Christmas present to my grandmother. But she never wears it - she feels it's too good to be wearing it. She keeps it in its original condition in one of her drawers along side all her laces and crochets that she received as gifts over the years from different family members. She said she doesn't want any dirty paw marks from her dog on her cashmere throw.

    The cottage is just a picture perfect cottage, straight out from Helen Allingham's paintings.

    Wishing you a wonderful year of love, peace and happiness xxx

    Best wishes, ASD

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    1. Dearest ASD
      Your kind words on my writing are much appreciated. Oh it would be such a joy to have the gift of Chekov or our own talent with the pen. How sweet of you to give such a beautiful present to your grandmother and how she treasures it. I can just see her visit it in her drawer and admire it with her other treasures.
      I have been admiring Helen Allingham's paintings again thanks for the introduction. Your blog and comments always teach me something new.

      Wishing you the joys and blessings of 2014

      Helen xx

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  25. Helen,

    A happy New Year to you! I hope that you are well and have had a wonderful Christmas holiday filled with time well spent with family and friends.

    I LOVE this post, as I read it I could almost picture the cottage and your Aunt Mary. She was obviously a very special person and I am sure that she enjoyed that coat as much as you did giving it to her and then wearing it in return.

    I hope that you have a blessed New Year. Thank you for your always kind comments and encouragement.

    xo Elizabeth

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    1. Dear Elizabeth

      A very Happy New Year in return to you too.

      It is a joy to visit your blog and hear what you have been doing.

      Have a great week

      Helen xx

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  26. Good morning Helen! Thank you for coming to visit my post, and a Happy New Year to you! Another journey of blogging I hope will keep all of us busy and inspired! I won't give up on my writing interest, NO WAY! But I did have to stop my art of profit since the economy the way it is demands that I return to full-time teaching, leaving no room to spend the hours necessary to keep up with Etsy orders. One must make priorities, and work, family and writing are about all I can handle!

    Wishing you peace and great happiness in 2014! Anita

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    1. Dear Anita

      I so well understand your decision to return to teaching. Art is a long journey and look at poor Van Gogh who is a prime example of the time and effort needed. Yes, some rush to the front of the line and seem to make it often, for a short time. You are wise. I love your writing
      Helen xx

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  27. Dear Helen,
    Thank you for sharing this story. In addition to you and your Aunt Mary, this coat has touched us all - your readers. Beautifully told! Happy New Year!
    Warm greetings,
    Loi

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    1. Dear Loi

      Your comment is beautifully worded and I am flattered.

      Thank you for the good wishes and I return the joys of the New Year to you and yours

      Helen xx

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  28. Beautiful post Helen,
    As for your aunt Mary's home life so touching to our hearts of hearts.
    Love her cottage history, as for delicate in looks or a health reference my family calls my daughter Hannah delicate in both these ways.

    Thank you for visiting me so soon in the New Year.
    Happy New Year to you and all the NewNess to follow you.

    Xx
    Doré

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    1. Hello Dore

      Thank you for your New Year wishes and I return them to you twofold.

      I have seen pictures of Hannah, she is a beauty and I can see her delicate looks, I wish he good health always

      Helen xx

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  29. Oh Helen,
    What a touching and poignant story …… it really did bring a tear to my eye in a joyful way. I know that you won't want me to say it but, it just shows what a lovely and kind person you are ….. what joy you brought to your Aunt Mary by that one kind gesture.
    I am so pleased that our lives have crossed through blogging. Much love. XXXX

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    1. Hello Jackie

      You have me blushing. Thank you and I know you say it with kindness.
      I, too, love hearing from you and visiting your blog. It is wonderful to have had our paths cross.

      Happy new year

      Hugs

      Helenxx

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  30. What a simply lovely thing to do for your Auntie Helen! No doubt not only did she wear it because she loved its style but also because she could feel your love wrapped within its sumptuous folds too.

    Sending hugs Helen,
    Jane

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    1. Hello Jane

      She was very special Jane and in some ways was like a big child in her joy and generosity.

      Thanks for visiting. I have been involved in art projects and miss visiting my blogging friends. I shall visit your shortly

      Helen xx

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  31. Dear Helen, what a lovely thought. Your love of your Aunt and the pleasure a really beautiful piece of clothing can give. My Mother had a beautiful evening dress, now worn by me and then my daughter, it made us all feel so lucky to share it. Happy 2014. Jane

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    1. Hello Jane

      Lovely to hear from you. I have been thinking of you. Your mother's dress must be very special and how delighted she must be that three generations have worn it with joy.

      Helen xx

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  32. Happy New Year, Helen. Wow, this is such a lovely story, the perfect grace note to start my day on. Such a lovely illustration of the power of being thoughtful and kind, and how much giving things away can actually bring back to us.

    I hope that the year is off to a good start for you, and that it is full of creativity, love and joy! XOXO

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  33. Helen, what a sweet story. I am glad you got to know Aunt Mary and was able to give her something she treasured.

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