1956 May Birthday Angel Bell
This was from my great-grandmother’s home. I liked it for several reasons. First, her dress is peach and I could just imagine seeing her on a trinket shelf in my dream kitchen. Second, it’s dated 1956 and definitely has the look of that time and it whispered to my love of household vintage things. Third, and this was a biggie, it wasn’t Mums’ taste. She like the modern look and had a lot of oriental-influenced knick-knacks. Also, her birthday was in December and this is a May figurine. I love a good mystery.
This re-find is part of the good of the White Tornado project. She was wrapped up in my boxes from Michigan. As the White Tornado is officially in the future woman cave now, there are boxes from Grandma, which include boxes from Mums that Grandma didn’t go through, and boxes of my own. I had the little bell from Mums’ house that I planned to research and get the story, or as much as I can, about how it was that this girl was in my great-grandmother’s house and then promise her a decorative home in my living room in Michigan to eventually be a sweet decor piece in the dream kitchen. She lived on a shelf in my Michigan living room for 4 years and was carefully wrapped and packed up to come with me when I moved to Toledo. Well, she lived the next 5 years carefully wrapped in that box in the storage area of our home!
You can see where the wings were connected.
She is a 1956 angel bell made by NAPCO, the National Potteries Corporation. The wings are no longer there, they must have broken off sometime between 1956 and 1992 because I never saw her with wings. NAPCO began production of glass and ceramic collectibles in 1938 and was at its peak popularity in the 50s and 60s.
My May girl has the appropriate transfer mark to be a real NAPCO piece, so she is the “real deal.” NAPCO was based in Cleveland and the products were made in Japan. Now it starts to sound like a piece Mums would have bought, except that the old fashioned girl in the frilly dress just didn’t seem like Mums. Had it been a slender Japanese woman in a kimono holding an exotic flower, I never would have questioned it being in my great grandmother’s house. I had to put together the last piece of the puzzle.
That last piece wasn’t difficult. In the maternal side of the family, the custom is that when going through an estate, items that were gifts are first offered to the person who gave them. I own things that aren’t so much my taste the same way. I have a Virgin Mary night light because I asked for it from Noni’s house. I’d given it to her as a Christmas present years before. On Mom’s side of the family, you don’t have to ask, it’s automatically offered. It represents a connection between you and the person who passed. As I said, the NAPCO brand was Mums’ taste, but not the figurine and there was still the December birthday and a May bell. Her mother was born May 9, 1885. It was a gift that Mums gave Grammy and when Grammy passed in 1975, it was offered back to her.
I’ll call my wingless angel Wonda, that’s my great-great-grandmother’s name. Grandma, also Wonda, with an o not an a, was named after her. Now that I traced the puzzle back and have a reasonable history for her, Wonda is an even more meaningful piece of my family history!
See more treasures and mysteries solved at Vintage Thingie Thursday at The Coloradolady!