My mother found pretty things in a junk heap. Really, she did. She always thought my sister, who inherited her gift for finding good stuff cheap, was the one with the uppity tastes. She wasn’t. My sister bought a $500 suit for work, 25 years ago when she lived in California. My mother was so traumatized by the outrageous expenditure that it left a lasting, false impression. My sister said to me the other day, “You need to learn how to shop; learn to say, Oh, I have one of those but not in that color.” She and Mum were so much alike.
The planets were in alignment when my brother married a tenacious, bargain hunter from Thailand. It came to pass that they took Mum to Thailand for a summer. My sister-in-law and my mother shopped and inspected all pre-purchase merchandise for flaws. They left not a stall merchant unshaken. It took them hours to get all the loot through customs on their return. One of my favorite things hangs in a window. I can imagine her saying to my sister-in-law, “I think she’ll like this, don’t you, she loves the beach.” I know she chose the perfect one.