When I was five years old, my grandmother would care for me before school each day. She would turn the stereo console on and play big band music from the 40's. I remember dressing up in her mink stole as we danced around the living room spinning and twirling to the classics. She told me that one day the mink would be mine and I hoped that I would be as beautiful as she was wrapped in luxurious mink.
Time, of course, came and went and my grandmother passed away many years ago. I have often wondered what happened to her mink stole and wished that I could wear it just one more time. Little did I know, my grandmother had given the stole to her daughter and sometime during the early 80's when fur was not fashionable and we were wearing hideous things like leather pants and spandex, my aunt tossed the mink into the Goodwill bin near her home. She did not know that anyone actually wanted the mink and donated it to charity. She told me she remembers looking in the rear view mirror of her station wagon as she pulled away from the collection bin and saw a man climbing in to retrieve what treasures he could. And that was the last we saw of the mink.... or so we thought.
Move the clock forward thirty years. I am now 48 and find myself thinking more and more about the wonderful memories of my youth. The same week I told my family about dancing in my grandmother's mink as a child, my aunt went shopping in downtown Indianapolis. She entered an antique store and there, on a mannequin, was an age old mink needing to go home. My aunt stopped in her tracks and told her friend, "That's my mother's mink!" One would never believe this as there are certainly plenty of mink stoles in this world, and how would one ever really know if that was theirs from so many years ago. But... she turned to her friend, knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was her mother's stole and placed on the table the one card that would clearly determine if this was indeed her mother's lost stole. Her initials would be stitched inside the wrap. As they lifted the mink from the mannequin, there in script embroidery were the letters T M P for Thelma Mae Pietrobon, my grandmother.