Sunday, March 18, 2012

How we lost $17,000 on St. Patrick's Day

About a month ago, I read a newspaper headline to the effect that nearly every home has an antique, art, heirloom jewelry or SOMETHING worth more than the owner would expect.

I read past the headline, certain we have nothing of value at my home or in the home I bought for my daughter, who lives across the street because she in unable to take care of herself and son alone.

Yesterday without asking, my daughter sold a resin sculpture I bought in 1994 from an art gallery in Rochester Hills for $800, to a neighbor for $300.

It is called "Yesterday's News With Magic," a limited edition sculpture by Michael Garmin.

She turned her heart to art after a string of romances ended badly and she sought something safer to love than men for a few years.

The sculpture depicted a man resembling her latest ex-boyfriend slumped against the wall of an old bar, reading a rumpled newspaper.

An optical illusion created the perception of a changing panorama behind the window of a cheap hotel.    

The size was three feet tall by two feet wide and in the mid-90's, mostly sold to bars and nightclubs.

The last time I checked the artist's website, about four years ago, it sold for $3,000 in mint condition.

Now the piece sells for $17,800.

I was angry with her but when I went to her house to tell her the mistake, I saw her without make up for the first time in months, her cheeks blistered and a sick yellow to gray complexion, so instead of scolding I just asked why.

She feels loved, she said, and didn't want to remember the past.

"It was Saint Patrick's Day," she added, "and the man who bought it is Irish, fixes my furnace for free and his wife invited me to their home for a party where everyone drank green beer, which made all of us a bit impulsive.It needed restoration I couldn't afford and if I move in with you and Dad, or died, you will throw it away."

She looked at my scowl as I stared at the tremors in her hands.

"You always said it was depressing," she concluded.

She was right.

So was the newspaper reporter who wrote that homes hold treasures unrecognized by their owners.

But the greatest treasure in a home is always its inhabitants.

Sometimes it takes a tornado or a health crisis to recognize that.



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