Sunday, November 9, 2008

Giving Thanks for Vintage Turkeys

My grandma Millie always had turkey and pilgrim candles on our Thanksgiving table. There was something comforting about them, alongside the mashed potatoes, white trash green bean casserole and family dysfunction.  I remember finding my first turkey candles at the Salvation Army in Garden Grove when I was a teenager.  And so, my own collection began at that moment. Now I have, well, a few.

I have branched out to include other Thanksgiving-y objects as well, like the corn-on-the-cob salt and pepper shakers and the stack of 10 handmade cardboard turkey napkin holders. I found them at an estate sale for 50 cents. They are lovingly crafted, drawn with colored pencils and on each one a name is written: "Gertrude","Pop","Mother Kennedy" etc. 

The white pair ($5) came from a trip to Brimfield market in Massachusetts, the safety pin and plastic bead turkey was a 99 cent Goodwill find. I love this one because, as you certainly know by now, I have a weakness for any item-made-by-someone-with-way-too-much-time-on-her-hands. The pink faced turkey was purchased at the Sandy Barr Flea for a quarter. It's alarming that I can remember what I paid for these objects 15 years ago, but often can't remember what I had for breakfast.

My hands-down-all-time-favorite turkey is the cooked one in the middle. There is a story involved. My sister Kathy came to see me in Portland years ago and we went to (where else?) a flea market. She knew about my affection for vintage turkeys. We wandered away from each other and a short time later, she came running up to me, heart pounding, face flushed. Her hands were cupped together over something. My only option was to pry her fingers open.  In her hands I found the Butterball in the Yellow Baking Pan salt and pepper shakers. I have never loved her as much as I did at that moment. Needless to say, this pair gets front and center position on the Thanksgiving mantel year after year after year.....


Kim G. said...

What a cool turkey collection! My mom collects vintage turkeys too. They used to be pretty easy to find and then Martha featured them in her magazine and now they are much harder to find and they cost a bit more. You have a lot of them. Maybe Martha should have featured your collection!! The cooked turkey is really funny. Haven't seen him before! said...

I LOVE your mantle displays! It's so neat how you have a story for all the pieces.

The cooked turkey amongst all the "live" one gives me the giggles. It reminds me of how BBQ restuarants always have smiling cows and pigs on thier signs.

Maybe some day you will find a worried looking one to put beside it, hehe. (Maybe I'm just a weirdo, sorry!)