Grandma Elbertine, who we called “Bertie”, was a fine collector of ordinary things. From clothes to matchbooks, she had boxes and closets full of eras gone by. Each collection gave a different “window to the world” and also showed off a bit of her creativity and sense of nostalgia.
Her bedroom bureaus were full of jewelry sets and her closets stuffed with matching shoes, purses and hats. Everything she wore was completely coordinated, another personal charm. Growing up I spent many hours looking at her precious fashion collections, some of which dated back to the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. She loved to unpack small treasures put away for special occasions. I would try things on under her careful watch. I even dared to ask to borrow a fur collar or pillbox hat for a special night out with the strict requirement to return it the next week. I quickly learned her accessories were a big standout at the discotheque in the late 70’s.
She was her own fashionista and she is still my vintage idol. Beyond her fashions, she had huge collections of middle-America stuff like colored glassware, silver spoons, wall plates, dolls, lace and even buttons. She kept magazines for decades, old toys and drawers of Avon lipstick and perfume samples. She was a collection pro!
I loved Grandma’s sense of rich style, all which she acquired on department store wages and a little allowance from Grandpa. From the time when I was a teenager, I have nestled inside me the love for things that remind me of her, from cat eye glasses to broaches. My soul is stuck in generations past, most of which I only lived through Grandma Bertie and her collectibles.
After she passed, I was given a few of her collectibles by my mom. I cherish them all. One of the many Grandma Bertie collections was postcards that spanned travels and vacations across many decades. They provide another view of the world she experienced. I thought I would share a small sample of them. It was hard to choose from the hundred postcards I have in a sitting in glass bowl. Here are a few I thought I would share today.