Monday, January 31, 2005

The magic of Ebay

From 1962 until some time in 1965, I lived alone in an upstairs apartment in Kansas City, on Eleventh Street.  Since I didn't drive, I took the bus to work at National Bellas Hess, a mail order company in North Kansas City.  I had to transfer downtown, and sometimes I had a few minutes to wait.  So I'd window-shop.  I couldn't do a lot of actual shopping, since I worked for minimum wage, which was barely over $1 an hour then.  Once in a while I'd see something I just had to have, and save for a month or two to splurge.

There was some little shop off Main Street selling artsy-looking things, and as I passed it one day I noticed the cutest bookends:  A Chinese boy standing and looking over at a little Chinese girl who was sitting with a book open... but you could see by her expression and the tilt of her head, she knew the little boy was there admiring her.  At the time I was reading a lot of books about Eastern religions and culture, and that may have had something to do with why those Chinese kids grabbed me.  All I know is, I just HAD to have those bookends.  I don't recall the price, but I'm pretty sure it was at least half of a week's wages.  Somehow I managed to get them before long.

But in some hectic moving and uprooting later on, they were lost.  I got married and started having babies around that time, and didn't even miss them for years, although sometimes it would cross my mind to wonder what happened to them.

About three years ago, as I sat at my desk browsing Ebay, I thought about those bookends and how much I had loved them, sacrificing to buy them.  So I typed "Chinese bookends" into the Ebay search function.  The first effort brought some similar items, but none exactly like the ones I'd had.  However, within two or three weeks, I found my treasures!  As it turned out, nobody else bid on them, so I got them for less than I paid in 1964.  On the bottom of the little boy bookend, it says, "Universal Statuary Corp.  (c) 1964".  For all I know, this is the same set I once owned.

The interesting thing is, I've looked ever since, just out of curiousity, and never again found the exact set of bookends.  It's as though I was meant to have them back... a gift from God to remind me of my youth.

8 comments:

sanforized6 said...

The small world, gets smaller. Neat story, so glad you got them back. EBAY all the way, eh? rich

jeanno43 said...

Wonderful story. So glad you got them you were meant to have them and they look great.

ryanagi said...

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Ebay? LOL

hannaha18 said...

you are so lucky  please read my story here

http://www.home.earthlink.net/~hannaha18/

krobbie67 said...

What a great find, both times around! :-)---Robbie

plieck30 said...

National Bellas Hess, I haven't heard that name in many years. My mother use to order from that company. My mother didn't drive so she bought a lot from catalogs since we lived in the country and then in a small town. The chinese bookends brought back some memories too, but mine were different ones. Paula

tendernoggle said...

Awwwwwww, the bookends are so cute. Found your journal through another one...and have enjoyed reading it. I am putting you on my alert list!
Carlene

bookncoffee said...

Somehow I've missed this entry (no alert) but I'm glad I saw it.  It is funny how these things happen.  God nudges you in certain directions and leads you on, and he knows the desires of your heart.  Things like this just remind you that he is there.
Sonya