Sunday, April 10, 2011

An easel, the key, and a bracelet

Part of my extensive 10-step fundraiser therapy involved finally taking an oil painting class (step #6).  Yep, that's me taking a real grown-up art class at a bona fide art studio with other really nice grown-ups that like art, too.  I'm just so used to only doing art projects with the kids that involve Crayola paints or glitter or toilet paper rolls, so it's beyond refreshing to be doing my own art just for me. 

Now that my art gallery exhibit is opening soon, ha ha ha, I mean, now that I'm feeling kind of art-minded and wanting to soak it up like a sponge (because boy do I feel like a total beginner!), I'm more hyper-aware of art stuff.  Like, the other day I was driving down the road on my way across town to do some shopping, and I see a bright orange "Estate Sale" sign.  I keep driving, but immediately start debating whether or not I should turn around and check it out.  Believe it or not, I've never been to an estate sale, so I am kind of apprehensive.  But, a little voice keeps telling me to go...go because I might discover something really neat, like an old painting or antique jewelry or just something special.  Why not?!

So, I turn around and drive back to the orange sign.  I follow the arrow into an impressive neighborhood, full of meticulously landscaped yards, with white picket fences surrounding well-kept homes on huge lots.  Five more orange signs direct me through the streets until I finally find the “Estate Sale Here” sign.  I can't help but laugh at the irony that the estate sale is at the most rundown and dilapidated home I've seen on my little treasure hunt.  I gather my courage and decide to go in anyway.

It's obvious the house hasn't seen a contractor since it was built in the early 1960's - pebble floor in the entryway, original cabinets with vintage tile in the kitchen, and glass shutters for windows.  I meander through each room and find myself stopped in awe in a back bedroom.  It's full of art - original paintings, piles of prints, small wooden easels, and art books.  Taped on the wall were tons of articles about the artist, Robert Perrin.  According to the flier, “he was a renowned Western artist and also known for drawings of Victorian homes, as well as being a wonderful architectural artist for homes in the San Fernando Valley.” An artist lived here!

(see him standing there next to President Reagan!)
Despite the rather somber but respectful mood in the house as this artist's life is being sold away to strangers, I proudly smile as I buy his aluminum standing easel for $25 that's obviously old and well used, but in great shape.  I wonder how many pictures he drew or painted using this easel?  I tell the older professional estate sale ladies that I’m a beginning art student, and they get all excited and say "Well, now you own an easel by a real artist!" and sincerely wish me the best of luck.  As I drive away with my "new" real artist easel in my car, I am filled with thoughts about the cool synchronicity of my neat find.  I am so glad that I listed to that little (and rarely wrong) voice in my head.

An hour or so later, I buy what I originally set out to buy at Crate & Barrel (I just love that store!), and as I open my driver's side door, I see something laying on the driver’s seat.  It's a large decorative key with a leather string that was once attached to a leather purse I bought several (maybe 4?) years ago.  I recall buying the purse and taking off the key because I didn't like it.  I don't exactly remember what I did with the key, but I definitely know I haven't seen it since. 

And now it's laying there on my seat.
(reenactment photo)
I pick up the key and sit down with a mix of surprise, wonder, puzzlement, delight, and...Robert Perrin.  How in the world did it get there?  I jokingly say out loud "are you trying to tell me something?" and I run through the possible symbolism and meaning, like key to the ...?  Or is he happy I bought his easel?  Am I totally losing my mind?  Hummm...

Now, I'm not above thinking that the key could have easily landed on my seat from a random something or another non-mystical reason.  It's most likely that there's a perfectly good explanation.  But, it's way more special to think that maybe it’s not so random and can’t easily be explained.

I am still thinking about the unusual events of my day as I pick up my kids from school, but my mind quickly switches gears to asking and listening about their day.  When we arrive at home, they grab their backpacks and jump out of the car.  I stay behind to gather my purchases and to look for The Key among the various stuff on the passenger seat.  I want to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.  When I don't see it, I reach down between the driver's seat and the middle console thinking it might've dropped down there.  I feel something metal.  I peer over and down and see a bracelet wrapped around the seat belt clip.  

My beautiful beloved bracelet that I believed to be forever lost six months ago!!!!

I actually mourned the loss of this bracelet when I realized it was missing after a visit to the local mall where I tried on some clothes in different stores (I pictured it on the floor of the dressing room being swooped up by the happy new owner).  Not that the bracelet was particularly valuable or anything, but I bought it many years ago and always loved wearing it.

And now my long lost beloved bracelet that I discovered while looking for the mysterious key was amazingly in my hands again!

I stare at my bracelet for a while, then shake my head in amazement and say "thank you" with a big smile.   

Whether the interesting series of events that happened that day was pure coincidence or a "thank you" from Robert or the Universe trying to tell me something or I'm making way more of a big deal than I should (I’ve been known to do that) simply doesn't matter.  I, the new art student, now owns my first easel and I found my long lost beloved bracelet, oh, and I also now have a great, no, magical story to tell.

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