A few weeks ago my husband came into the living room where I was watching some lifetime movie from long ago and had a cat in his hands and asked me a question…
“Hey, where did you get this cat?”
I looked over at the cat and answered back “ Up in one of those antique shops up north, I think, but it is definitely second hand.”
Then he asked me another question that made me wonder why the sudden interest in one of my junk store purchases.
“Okay, but why did you buy it.” he asked.
I gave him a quizzically look like what a strange question to ask. He wasn’t asking the question in a negative why, like, I don’t know, in a way how some people think some purchases are weird and why waste the money…it happens. No, my husband was genuinely curious as to why I purchased this beat up looking cat. We sometimes as shoppers, all of us, will have moments of “Why did I buy this, what was I thinking.”. But mostly my husband knows that when I am second hand shopping I either buy something because…
- We need it.
- It will be a gift
- It made me happy when I picked it up.
Most of these thrift store treasure post I am sharing with all of you are only those items I have purchased that gave me a happy feeling when I picked them up off the selves. Like the little vintage ornament from Spain, a tiny mouse, a painting of a polar bear on whale bone (that one came with a spiritual letter from beyond), and even those garden pots came from a mom and pop company from long ago that had a really cool story behind them. My favorite was the pillow case doll dress. And now we have this little kitty pillow that my husband was standing in our living room now holding and questioning me on why I bought it.
“Why do we buy anything, because we like it.” I shrugged my shoulders and answered him back.
“No, something else up with this one, come on, why did you buy this cat.” he turned it around looking at it closer now.
Usually the cat sits on our dresser in our room but it was moved the other day to another dresser that sits below our TV where my husband was watching a documentary on a famous director that day he would ask me this question. But I will get back to that director in a moment, still need to answer that question, because now my husband wanted a more detailed answer to why I had to bring this cat toy into our home.
“Okay, you know, you always know…because when I picked up this toy it had a happy feeling to it, it must have made someone very happy.” there I answered the question in a way that some people would believe strange but if we were all honest about everything in life then we all know that sometime in those moments of shopping we will pick up items that makes us feel happy when we touch it.
With me it is in used items. Sometimes I will catch my husband watching me closely when at estate sales and shopping for used items, sometimes I will pick up something and leave it and other times I will hold onto an item for awhile then add it to my purchases. You know, me just being a gatherer, collecting pretty little things to turn our house into a home. Sometimes in my photos you will get glimpse of these special purchases of mine throughout our home decor.
My husband started laughing and said “I knew it, it’s one of those DNA memories things.” and then he went on to explain to me that he just got through watching a short doc on a famous Swedish director called Ingmar Bergman. Well now I was curious.
“Okay, so I don’t know who he is but what does he have to do with this cat?”
“Well in Sweden they used to give new mothers a toy cat after they gave birth, if it was a girl it was a pink bow around the cat but if it was a boy then it was a blue bow.?”
“ Wow, really? That’s cool, so you think this might be one of those cats from long ago?” I asked my husband.
“No, I think it is his cat…yeah, it’s his.” he turned it around looking it over again.
My husband went on to explain how this director did not have many toys as a child according to the doc and one of his favorite toys was a little cat that his mother received when he was born. He kept this cat toy with him through out his life. He also put the cat into his movies like a where’s Waldo type of thing or you know how some directors will plant themselves in their movies, well Ingmar planted his cat toy instead. There are all kinds of movies out there with a cat that looks like this one in it’s scenes.
“ I don’t think it is his toy but maybe some other Swede kept it as well, and they happened to be a boy because my cat has a blue bow, but that is a cool story.” I said to my husband
My husband said I probably liked it and bought it because it has a Swedish connection. I will be drawn to the Swedish folk art from time to time because my grandfather was born in Uppsala . I do not look Swedish though, except maybe the shape of my eyes. My daughter has more of the Swedish eyes then me and they are the green/blue color of her great grandfathers eyes, mine are brown. I also take after my father’s side in height, being barely 5”2. Everyone from my Swedish side (mother’s side) always towered over me, just as my son does now at 6 ft tall the last we checked.
Anyway, now I was curious about this Swedish director so I looked him up. Ingmar Bergman was born July 14 1918 and guess where he was born…yep, you guessed it…Uppsala. His birthday is close to mine as well, with my birthday being July 16th.
He directed, wrote and produced over 60 films in his life. He died in 2007. His father was a Lutheran minister and his mother was a nurse. Ingmar’s father was very strict and he would punish Ingmar by locking him in a dark closet while he went to minister his church. His father even became a Chaplin to the king of Sweden.
Guess no one knew what was happening behind closed doors back at home. Ingmar lost his spiritual faith at the age of 8, which is the saddest part of this story. I believe he never knew the beautiful side of religion and the love that it represents. This is sadly a common accordance in some churches, not all though. Such a sad thing when someone poisons a child by using God to abuse them. They grow up and become triggered by anything that God represents. They were never taught about the most important part and that is love.
At the age of nine Ingmar traded some toy solders of his for a projector called the magic lantern and he would create all kinds of shows using this new toy of his. Writing stories and designing puppets to create slides and photos. This would become his favorite toy. The rest as they say is history because Ingmar would grow up to become a very famous director. His movies would go on to influence future directors all over the world. That projector must have been one fun toy for an artist.
I always love it when an item I purchase comes with a story. This toy cat of mine was up at Our Little Red House for years and then one trip up there I saw it sitting on the shelf and decided to bring it back home to the city with me since this is where I mostly live.
Hope you all enjoyed this months thrift store treasure. Now I am off to see if I can find one of those 60 movies of Ingmar’s to watch and yeah, I will be keeping my eye out for this cat from the past. May not be his toy from the set…or maybe could be. Whatever, I had fun shopping and coming across this little treasure. Happy thrift store treasure hunting, hope you all find treasures for yourselves.