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My Mama's Madonna


My mom had one of these when I was little. Either the halo or the bird(or both) had been glued back on. Mom died at age 50, when I was 9 years old. I have a unique necklace of hers that I love, but not much else. I don't think at 9 years old when someone dies you consider owning things that were theirs? At least I didn't.


Today there was an estate sale advertised on Facebook. The listing had a photo of a figurine like this, except the one in the ad was cream-colored all over. I thought how lovely it would be to be able to have it in my home, since seeing just a photo of it had made thoughts of my mom fill my mind.

I don’t typically have much luck with this type of thing but Eric and I were out and about this morning when I saw the listing for the Estate sale, so he quickly decided to drive us there. The sale had only started a short time ago so there was a chance, I thought.


We entered the house and I did lap after slow lap of the circular floor plan trying to find the figurine. No luck. I'd seen a table with a few other ceramic figurines and I suspected the flower Madonna may have been sitting amongst them at some point. I deflated a bit at the thought: gone so soon.


Eric was admiring the crack-less ceilings of the home and slowly following my path through the house. I noticed an employee of the Estate Sale company, so I referenced the photo I had seen in the Estate sale listing and asked if the item had been sold. She confirmed it had been sitting where I had suspected and surmised it had been sold by another employee.


From initially seeing the ad to discovering the item was gone all happened in less than 30 minutes, so I hadn't gotten my hopes too high. Though disappointed, I exhaled to try to let it go and continued to glance around to see if there might be anything else I'd like to bring home from the sale.


We headed to the exit and to the left of the front door, on the floor, sat a box full of items and a few surrounding articles. On the outside of the box was written the word, "HOLD."


There in the box, lying on it's side, practically upside down, was the cream-colored flower Madonna. I reached out to pick her up to confirm. I was holding Her.


The estate sale employee came nearby and I asked about the box, "Was it being held for someone for a specific amount of time? Were they sure they were coming?" I don't think I even got the questions out before she explained that the items collected in that corner belonged to a man in the next room who was still shopping the house. I asked her to point him out.


Reading his masked face for his reception of my inquiry was impossible. I walked him to his box of treasures and asked, "was there any way I could buy the flower Madonna?" I picked Her up and handed her to him. He glanced at her bottom and I suspected my doom: She is a Hummell figurine, and they can sometimes have significant value when sold at auction or on eBay. I assumed he was a re-seller, and wouldn't let Her go.


He lifted his shoulders slightly in the smallest shrug and handed her back to me. He would let me buy her instead of himself. I thanked him at least 3 times.


Her price was unmarked.


That's how for $10, the kindness of a stranger, and with the love of Eric, I ever so carefully rode home this morning with my floral Madonna. My eyes welled with tears.


She's not exactly like my mom's, but she's from the same mold.


I think that's a fitting description of me as well: Not exactly like my Mom, but from the same mold.






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