January 17, 2018
When I was in my twenties, I visited my great aunt Zoe Trucia Evans at her Denver home. Aunt Zoe, my grandmother’s sister, and lifelong nemesis moved to Colorado from Indiana in the 1930s. Zoe’s husband Everett had a respiratory condition and needed the Colorado climate.
Throughout their lives, the sisters quibbled and quarreled over everything, and my grandmother often made disparaging remarks about her older sister.
I wanted to learn, for myself, how truly evil my great-aunt was. I was curious. I started writing to her, and she wrote back and we were pen-pals for the rest of hre life. She invited me to visit her in Denver.
I flew to Denver from my Florida home in 1985 and found my aunt a lovely and warm person. She told me stories about her parents, my great-grandparents. She was older than my Grammy and gave me more details about her beloved parents, Kellis and Anna (Long) Hoard. Both died in the early 1930s, long before I was born and when my mother was a small child.
The visit was so delightful that I went again, and have treasured memories of those visits at my aunt’s little brick home surrounded by my uncle precious and well-tended rosebushes. Zoe was very different from my grandmother, though they shared the same lively, piercing blue eyes.
Zoe wanted to give me a treasure from her family. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but I wasn’t enamored with the three- and four-inch-high figurines she placed in front of me on her kitchen table.
“These are Hummels,” she said, “And they are very special to me. Notice the mark on the bottom. All of them came from Germany in the 1940s.”
I didn’t know a Hummel from a hummingbird.
Great Aunt Zoe carefully wrapped the seven figurines in a newspaper. I took them in a carry-on bag back to Tampa.
After arriving home, I flung the bag onto our water bed and told my husband, “You should see these ugly little trolls Aunt Zoe gave me.”
He opened the wrapping paper and said, with incredulity, “These are valuable. Don’t you know that? These are Hummels and they are probably worth some money”
My husband knew some about antiques and was fairly amazed about how clueless I was.
I was still unimpressed. I should have paid more attention, but they didn’t ring any bells for me. I stuck them away in my grandmother’s china cabinet and left them there, except for moves undisturbed for thirty plus years.
Last week I decided to move my living room furniture on a whim. This involved emptying the china cabinet and setting its contents out on the dining room table to safely move an empty cabinet.
I moved the Depression glass, the wedding toast glasses, some teacups, and came to the Hummels. Where there had been seven Hummels, there were now seventeen. How did this happen? Did I see a lurid glint in the eye of the little pharmacist toward the kerchiefed girl on a swing?
Is it possible a miracle took place on the lighted glass shelves of our china cabinet? What do you think?