It has been a long time since I last posted. It has been a long time since I have made a damn thing other than dinner. My family and I sold our apartment and moved out, anticipating a two-week layover at Mom’s before we closed on our new apartment. Two months have passed…
I have learned that when you don’t have the space or the materials to make stuff, you tend to, well, not make stuff.
But I have been thinking creatively as I shop about for new furniture and 0ther things that make a house a home.
I am posting today to share a story that I shared with Susan Tuttle, who shared it on her blog. It is a story about a library ladder, me, my mother, my grandmother, my friend Martine, and a man with a shop – John Derian,
I wanted to thank you for giving me a gift today, via your blog.
Back in October you wrote about your fabulous trip to my hometown – NYC. I knew many of the places you visited but I had never heard of John Derian on East 2nd Street. Today I decided to take it easy, cancel my obligations, and have a fun day – life has been
extraordinarily hectic and stressful as of late.
My last minute fun plans landed me in the East Village with one of my partners in crime, Martine. We had a lovely time exploring first avenue and then we moseyed to John Derian. At first we walked into the linens store not realizing it was a different place from the curio shop. As I looked about, a library ladder caught my eye. It was holding some blankets and beautiful objects. I knew that ladder. It was my grandmother’s.
My Grandmother Gloria, who was like a third parent, passed away in June 2006. She had one of those grand Upper East Side apartments filled with art and furniture that did not fit in my or my mother’s more modest dwellings. We kept a number of pieces anyway and put them in storage, but neither of us could foresee using the library ladder. The library ladder and many other things were sold through a local auction house. As a kid, the ladder was my fort, my tower, my mountain, and my castle. When my mother was a girl, she played pretend with it too. It is the one piece I miss. I look at my three year old daughter (Gloria) climbing about, and playing pretend, and I wish she had that ladder.
I approached the saleswoman and asked her where John had found the ladder. She said John bought it at auction, but it had been in their shop for awhile – a couple of years. She was surprised it hadn’t sold because it is so beautiful. I told her I thought it was my grandmother’s. At the same time as she said, “John bought it at Tepper” I said, “we sold through Tepper.” It is definitely my grandmother’s ladder.
My husband and I are moving to a bigger home next week (pending closing on Monday – fingers crossed) and I have decided to make room for that silly ladder. After I balled like a baby as my friend hugged me tight, I bought it back on the spot for a small fortune.
Thank you for writing such a nice piece on NYC and John Derian. I made a mental note back in October and I have been trying to make my way over there but always got thwarted. Today, now that I have physical room in my life for a library ladder, I walked into John Derian and found the one item of my grandmother’s that I truly regretted letting go.
All my best and immeasurable thanks,
Pretty crazy, no?
Well I am awake bright and early. The Late Edition of The New York Times says:
Today, plenty of sunshine with light breezes, please, high 68.
My husband and I will be carrying our lightweight but unwieldy “English Library Steps” (as the tag at John Derian proclaimed them to be) the 4 blocks from my mother’s house to our new place. Movers are delivering our stuff from some storage facility in NJ and we will finally have a house that we can make a home – starting with Grandma’s library ladder.