I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. -Anne Frank
When I opened my vintage shop this morning, it was with a weary and aching heart. It felt like such an effort to do the normal things, like putting vintage furniture outside to display on the sidewalk and turning on the glittery holiday lights. I moved slow, each step plodding and uncertain.
An elderly woman came through the door of the shop and asked if it was a good time to show me some items I might be interested in purchasing. She had brought in her family’s collection of vintage postcards, some dating back to the early 1900s. Lovely Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine cards, most with inscriptions on the back. I love the old handwriting, with the large showy swirls and the fading burnished ink.
I decided to buy them all, and was studying them as she browsed through my shop. One caught my eye. It featured a boy carrying boxes of flowers and wearing wooden clog shoes. It read at the bottom BONNE ANNEE, “Good Year”, in French. And handwritten down one side were the words…..
The Beautiful things of Life.
I turned it over and written on the back….Germany November 9, 1944
72 years ago. TODAY.
Dear Pearl, Here’s wishing you a merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Always, Marvin.
I asked if she knew the history of this card. Yes, she did. Pearl was her mother. At the time of this postcard her mother and father were engaged to be married but had decided to wait until after the war was over because her father didn’t want her mother to be a widow. Her father had been at Pearl Harbor during the attack, and stationed in the Figi Islands for a great part of the war. Marvin was her father’s brother. He was fighting in Germany, when he wrote this card.
Marvin was thinking about and fighting for the beautiful things of life.
Imagine what Marvin saw every day. The horrors. The devastation. The worst impulses of men. And yet, he was able to think about higher things.
I am keeping this card and placing it where I can see it every day.
If Marvin could keep his heart unsullied by the horrors of war, if Marvin could still think about beauty and the things that truly matter, then I can too. Despite the hate and the ugliness displayed so horribly yesterday, I can look above and beyond.
I will seek The Beautiful Things Of Life.
Thank you Marvin, from a lightened heart… exactly 72 years in the future.