She greeted us with dark eyes, haunted and beautiful, framed with wisps of black hair cut short and neat. Her little shop of hearts, just off the main drag, invites the imagination to take flight in mesmerizing juxtapositions of every day minutiae and the complexities of simplicity. With a beguiling smile, she bids visitors to search for a million stories among the lovely clutter.
See the white feathers, a graceful flourish to a sequined mask, but who hid behind the elegant facade? Was she at a masked ball for society’s ultimate pretenders? Did she sashay down Bourbon Street in chic camouflage after too many glasses of rich, red wine? Perhaps she attended a Halloween bash on a dark October night when frost lay heavy as revelers made their way home. The cherubic bust, with eyes closed, repeats a silent prayer for her mortal soul. Oh the stories that the imagination conjures up in a fraction of a moment.
The hats…the crumpled, flowered, colors of the rainbow, animal print hats hung from a wooden display pole. I fell in love with the hat with the cherries and why not? What lady doesn’t want a hat with bright red cherries decorating her tippy top while strutting down the street in red stilettos and red full lips? Then there was the lime-green frill of tulle with a pearl stung flower. It had to be the headdress of a bride’s maid dressed in pea-green soup while the bride danced in white satin.
A flounce of flowers caught my attention and I saw her…excited to be going to the city. Breaks away from the daily drudgery of cooking, cleaning, and children came so seldom, but a trip to the city, a full 60 miles away was such a rare treat that she barely contained her glee. . From a distance, he caught her admiring the black confection with a deep red flower, a burst of yellow, and a blossom blushing the soft lavender of a twilight sky. He envisioned her face beneath the pretty hat and then her joy each time she donned it, but money was tight. He figured in his head and decided he would do without the new shirt he needed so she could own something lovely. I’m sure they quietly argued until she acquiesced with a humble smile and he fidgeted ever so slightly while he handed the money to the clerk.
Black lace is a siren song waiting to be sung. The parasol in black lace, hanging from the ceiling, was a feast for the eyes prodding at the imagination to conjure up stories. Is there a mournful theme to the story of lost love and a need for a pretty parasol on a day too harsh for milk white skin? Perhaps it was the delicious ending to a stylish gown of black and white with a bustle in the back and ruffles in the front ala Scarlet O’Hara. Or maybe… just maybe…it was the whimsical addition to a bedroom scene with a high-kicking dancer and her delighted lover.
Visit a vintage shop and buy something…anything. Ponder the who, why, where, and what of it. Listen to the heart of the matter and let it ignite the imagination until the object is no longer just a thing, but a story with a past, present and future.
The photos were taken in a magical shop called Heartstrings in Cleveland's Little Italy. I can't wait to go back.
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