The Tale Of Tiffany - The Pane Of Life
By Gary Sorkin
This is a story of LOVE: perfect, then broken, and then finally lost.
Sometime in the late-1970’s I went to an auction in upstate New York. I was newly married, and my wife and I were looking for antiques with which to furnish our first apartment in Manhattan. A Tiffany lamp came up for bid. I fell in love with it and out-bid the others in the audience.
It was beautiful. A heavy gold brass base with yellow-orange-gold opaque glass panels. We took it home, plugged it in, and it GLOWED like the morning rays of sunshine peeking over the horizon. It was the nicest “thing” we owned. It was love at first light.
We moved a few times - and of course “Tiffany” moved right along with us. The lamp, whom I will now call Tiffany, was always the center of the room. It’s GLOW set a mood and a warmth that were unmatchable.
Tiffany never disappointed.
Breaks And Cracks
Tiffany’s next to last move was to our house in the suburbs. Once again it was doing what it did best, as it stood proudly on a table in the corner of the living room. Somewhere along the way, one of my children banged into Tiffany, and she took a tumble. One of its precious glass panes splintered and broke into dozens of un-fixable pieces. I scoured the phone book in a panic. “You must fix my lamp, you simply must,” I pleaded. Finally, I found a store many miles from my home. The man on the telephone said they would, “Give it a try.” It took weeks, but Tiffany finally came home. The new pane was a bit off color, but like a family member with a slight handicap, she was home and we loved her just the same. She still GLOWED with beauty.
Things change in life as surely as one season melts into another. A few years later, another accident. This time a different pane shattered, and this imperfection could not be hidden. Once again I called the “lamp man.”
Out of business.
It seemed as if much more than Tiffany was broken beyond repair. I had no choice.
Not knowing where to turn, and having much more to deal with than a broken lamp - I hid Tiffany away. I brought her down to the basement storage room where she stayed and collected dust for too many years. We should have gone our separate ways long before this had to happen. She deserved better.
A Last Goodbye
The marriage was over and all of our possessions had to be thrown away or sold. It’s best to start anew. I went down to clean out the storage room when I saw Tiffany in the darkness where she had been hiding her beauty and her imperfections. I cleaned her up and brought her out into the sunlight.
We had a garage sale. Old carriages, old furniture, momentos of a life stood on the driveway. Tiffany was on a blanket on the cracked cement that led to the front door of a broken home.
A buyer came along in an old Chevrolet. He walked slowly up my driveway and rummaged through the remnants of a family shattered apart. He saw Tiffany. He picked her up. “How much?” he asked. “Make an offer,” said I. He said five dollars, I said ten, we settled on seven dollars and fifty cents. He grabbed Tiffany by her long neck and put her into the backseat of his old car. He started his motor and rode away down my block.
Tiffany never looked back.