Family treasures or the tale of Hans and Inga, and Frederick and Greta, and Frederick and Inga, and Hans and Greta…

A long time ago, in a place far, far away…lived my Great Aunt and Uncle, who had a lovely home with beautiful things.  As they had no children, their beautiful things were looked upon as family treasures.  I remember sitting quietly on the plastic that covered the sofa (and just about every other surface in the house) and the crunching sound it made when you moved. Everything in their house looked so elegant to me, the country mice that we were.

When they passed, everything was willed to their nephew…the only boy in the family, who inherited everything from every family member, and even though there were 3 nieces (my mother being one of them), they inherited nothing.  Therefore, my sister and I have absolutely nothing from a family member.

I left that far away land and moved to the Bay Area, leaving everyone and everything behind. Starting from scratch, like millions of others who transplant themselves to the other side of the kingdom.  While I kept in contact with my sister, the rest of the family drifted away.  And like the millions of others, I established my own home with my own choice of “stuff” to fill it with.  And like millions of others, I am not interested in other people’s stuff.

A couple of months ago, THE nephew, who is now in his nineties, called me to reestablish contact.  I was happy to reconnect and have sent him some California care packages – olive oils and wines. He, in turn, sent me a surprise package…2 porcelain figurines that belonged to my Great Aunt.

My inheritance...Hans and Inga

My inheritance…Hans and Inga

Unfortunately, they arrived damaged.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that just writing “fragile” on the box was not enough to protect porcelain.  Additionally, they had obviously been broken before as a rather bad glue job had been attempted, especially on the boy figure and his geese (I know you can’t see the damage in this photo).  I named them Hans and Inga.  That was surely a mistake and the beginning of my fall down the rabbit hole.

Now, what to do with them. Clutter and dustcatchers. I don’t recall seeing them in my Great Aunt’s house so there’s no real connection to them. I don’t collect anything remotely like them, and in fact, I just went through my own house and decluttered 17 boxes of books and staging materials (vases and decorative items) that I just don’t want to be cleaning and carting around anymore.  Not to mention that as a professional organizer, I spend my days encouraging clients to remove clutter they don’t have any connections to, and now here I am with Hans and Inga…

Inga was easy to clean up and glue back together.  Hans, however, could not be repaired and was even missing some of the pieces.  So I tossed him out.  I put Inga, now by herself after at least 65+ years of being paired with Hans, on my bedroom dresser…and the nightmares started.  Poor Inga, all by herself…maybe I could still find Hans in the garbage can…nope, he’s gone.  What should I tell Inga about Hans’ departure?  I decided to tell her Hans was gay and moved to San Francisco.  It was for the best and she understood, but still…

This lead me to the internet.  You can literally search for anything, so I searched for “porcelain boy with goose” and wouldn’t you know it, up popped two matching figurines – boy and girl with geese – same figures, though oddly, painted in different colors. Both figures for only $8. each.  Turns out they were made in the 50’s, in Japan, at several different studios.  This seems to explain some of the small variations and color differences.

I couldn’t help myself.  I bought them.  I mean really, what are the odds of finding this pair?  Now I owed 3 figurines, none of which I really wanted.

Fredrick and Greta

Fredrick and Greta

Fredrick and Greta arrived in good shape from the East Coast.  I cleaned them up and realized that while Hans and Inga were both blondes wearing pale greens and blues, Fredrick and Greta are brunettes wearing browns and burgundies. I introduced Inga to her new beau, Fredrick. So far, they are getting along well…both more interested in their geese than each other, but they’ll need time.

Fredrick and Inga...will this last?

Fredrick and Inga…will this last?

This leaves Greta…what to do with Greta…three’s a crowd and she is missing the handle on her basket…time for Greta to make her own way in world…

Greta, on her own...

Greta, on her own…



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