A Trinket For Freddie

Freddie and his statue from Rare & Retro Vintage.
Freddie and his statue from Rare & Retro Vintage.

Last month I decided to meander local antique stores as I have not done in years. Along with many other joys in life I’d left behind for nearly a decade, antiquing seemed a pleasure of the past. After a rather quick reintroduction, I caught up with the current antique shop scene in the city of Spokane, Washington where I live. While I’m not in the market for anything extravagant, I can’t say I won’t begin collecting in the future. Not only do I adore the sturdiness of real wood, but the intricate carvings and stately styles of furniture of bygone eras blanket a room in such a way that feelings are evoked from all who enter. People may not discover these feelings right away, but they will know something is happening, because words will escape their mouths. Statements like, “You never know what to expect in these neighborhoods. When I walked inside I thought, Wow, this is a nice house!”

Indeed, last month is when I decided to put almost all my contemporary furnishings up for sale on Craigslist and replace them with either older pieces or styles that fit my personality. Previous furniture had been chosen to accommodate other folks who resided in my home for a good number of years, but the furniture was not only wrong for the period of the house (1938), but bulky and dark and just blah. I called the brown micro-fiber sectional “The Giant Turd”, if that gives you any idea. And I said that once “The Giant Turd” was gone, it was as if the house was no longer constipated.

This is true. I chose furniture with legs. This way I can sweep beneath the furniture easily. Height, not width, is fashionable in a house like this in which the living room is small and square, with a fireplace, and of a pre-television design. The only other item I long for is an antique upright piano, but there just isn’t room in here.

While window shopping antique shops, there were a couple of things I looked for. 1. salt and pepper shakers, 2. lamps, 3. coasters, 4. anything that caught my eye. After many hours I found salt and pepper shakers: petite, orangish-opalescent shakers made in Japan. Simple. Elegant. Perfect.

Lamps, I have not found.

Freddie likes his "things". This painting I found at the feed store on sale for $5. It's perfect for Freddie. He's very proud that even the feed store knows who he is.
Freddie likes his “things”. This painting I found at the feed store on sale for $5. It’s perfect for Freddie. He’s very proud that even the feed store knows who he is.

The other item I came across was at a friendly little 1,600 sq ft store called Rare and Retro Vintage at 27 West Indiana Avenue. The store only opened on May 2, 2014, but I was impressed with the layout, prices and inventory. Not only did I find a set of glass coasters, hand-painted and made in Japan, but a light turquoise, glaze statue, about five inches tall, of a woman in a long dress, her arms spread out with the arms of the dress like wings. When I laid eyes on this piece, I knew it probably wasn’t something expensive, but struck a chord, nonetheless, reminding me of Freddie Mercury’s love of astrological symbols, The Virgin for Virgo is his birth sign, and the white blouse he would wear on stage during the seventies with the arms just like that on the statue.

This is so Freddie, was my thought.

So I purchased this little statue and the coasters and went home.

That evening I brought Freddie Goose in the house so he could prance around the living room and do his entertainment bit that he enjoys. By that time I’d refurnished the living room, so Freddie had some studying to keep him occupied while I unwrapped and polished the statue.

I settled on the sofa.

“Freddie,” I said. “I have a present for you.”

I held the statue in Freddie’s direction. He tipped his head curiously and approached, uttering a soft, “Heh.” as he does when he’s feeling gentle and intimate. What struck me first was that he wasn’t afraid of the statue in the least. He kept looking and looking. Tipping his head this way and that way. Then he craned his neck and reached toward the statue with his bill, touching it lightly on the arm, and then said, “Heh.” and touched the head and then the feet. After that, Freddie straightened up proudly as he always does and began prancing. (Did I mention we were listening to Queen the entire time? Freddie Goose loves Queen, of course. That goes without saying.)

This made me very happy. I wasn’t sure how he would react to the statue. Would he grab it and fling it like he does chunks of mud he excavates outside? Would he bite it to see if it was edible? <–I highly doubted this, because Freddie Goose is particular about his diet and smarter than that. He was not afraid. He even let me touch the feathers on his shoulder with the statue.

Now the ethereal Virgo in blue stands in front of a vase near the front window where Freddie passes by now and then during one of his performances.

Quoth the Freddies: Christmas and Gift-Giving

freddiegoosejustmeToday I asked Freddie what he thinks of November and he said he loves it because it’s close to Christmas, but he doesn’t like to be cold.

“O, I hate the cold. It is probably why I returned as a goose, darling. Now, I can never be cold. Just think of it–permanent goose down. And I’m lucky I’m not that kind of goose–a Christmas goose. Makes me shudder to think of it.” — Freddie Goose, November 1st, 2014.

Why do you love Christmas so much, Freddie?

“Why, I love giving little gifts, of course. Why else? You can’t have Christmas without gifts. Even when I was a human, that’s why I loved Christmas. They don’t have to be expensive gifts, darling. Doesn’t everyone like a thoughtful little gift?” — Freddie Goose, November 1st, 2014.

And Freddie Mercury the man, from FREDDIE MERCURY: HIS LIFE, IN HIS OWN WORDS:

“I’ll tell you a good example. The other day Mary gave me a wonderful present that I haven’t seen before. It’s something that nobody else would think of, and it might be totally useless for you, but it’s something from somebody who cares and that’s what matters. She gave me this little gift that she went out of her way to arrange. It was the newspaper of the day that I was born — so you can actually read about what was going on when you were born. It was The Times, September 5th, 1946. And she also got me 1846, which was wonderful. I thought that was a lovely little treat — just a little something. There’s reams and reams of paper and it was wonderful. She said, “This’ll keep you busy, dear. You can read it while you’re on the throne.” I like to read when I’m having a crap.”

During his life as a rock star, Freddie Mercury had a love for antiques, particularly Louis XIV furniture and Japanese art: vases, kimonos, lamps, paintings. In life Freddie was quoted saying:

“People are the main thing, but I have to be surrounded by something, even if it’s just object d’art. So, I collect a lot, and my whole house is filled with beautiful Japanese art and antiques. That’s also why I want lots of fish, lots of cats. I suppose it’s a sort of shy outlook.” From FREDDIE MERCURY: HIS LIFE, IN HIS OWN WORDS.

For this is something I can relate to since the day I can remember–some time in early childhood. Collecting and preserving was a hobby of mine since the start, yet I don’t care for senseless clutter, i.e. a mess. I want to look around the room and find the ambiance relaxes me. I want to feel satisfied by what my eyes take in. Only then can I truly feel content. If the room is a jumbled mess, if everything is dirty or there are piles of papers, clothing or things are not in place, it bothers me.

There are many collectors in my family. Rock collectors. Antique collectors. When I was little I collected Breyer horses and displayed them, spotless and proud, on a shelf that took up an entire wall in my room. When they couldn’t be displayed, my grandma helped me wrap them up and store them in boxes so they wouldn’t get broken. I still have them today, but I do not feel my home is big enough to display them properly as they would need a certain room buried somewhere in the house, a room with certain decor. As it is in my home, I feel it would be tacky to display them. With limited space, only certain items can be visible.

Imagine having 20 foot ceilings. The grandeur and elegance of the decor would have to be large to match such surroundings. I suppose for Freddie Goose the new Garden Lodge (temporary) has high ceilings given he’s only about two and half feet tall.

At one time Freddie Mercury said:

“There are times when I wake up in the morning and I think, “My God, I wish I wasn’t Freddie Mercury today!” I’m in the public eye whether I like it or not, but I don’t want everything I do to be made public. I’m a virgo, I’m like Greta Garbo, I want to be left alone. I am a bit reclusive but it’s not a calculated thing. I like to be alone and shut myself off with my friends, but I’d hate to be on a desert island. I would loathe that. I do like people around me but I like them in my environment. I’ve got all my friends that come to me and maybe it’s a very selfish thing to do, but it’s a wonderful treat for me.” — Freddie Mercury, from FREDDIE MERCURY: HIS LIFE, IN HIS OWN WORDS.

I admit to being the same way: I do like people around me, but I like them in my environment. Yes. I love to entertain people in my home. One of my favorite things to do. And I love to have fun–in my home. C’est vrai!

I also love “little something” gifts. The real treats. The special somethings someone who loves you might see and they know it’s “just right” and it’s really for you and you only. Those gifts are never forgotten. As the years go by, meaning is only added and you are reminded of so many wonderful times.

Are you preparing for Christmas? (Freddie says, I hope, darlings, you will skip on having goose.) Do you like to make gifts or do you lavish your loved ones in purchased finery? What has been the most perfect Christmas of your life so far?

Freddie wants to know.