A shopper-turned-saleswoman bought a mystery item that turned out to be a family heirloom.
The longtime local, who asked to be identified by her nickname, Jasper, was browing at this year's . A loyal shopper, this year she volunteered to help in the kitchenware room.
"Something caught my eye," says Jasper, who noticed a small metal tray among the coasters and trivets on a long table. While she organized sale goods, wrapped purchases and made change, she kept an eye on the tray. By the end of July, when it was still unsold, Jasper bought it.
Though the tray was green with tarnish and caked with debris, Jasper says, "There was something about I liked." She follows her instincts, she says, and her Maplewood home is filled with kitchenware and decorative items she has found and bought. "I don't know what I'm going to do with things I buy," she explains, "but they always find a home."
Jasper went to work on the tray, cleaning off the grime to discover what she first thought were scratches on the surface. Then, as decades of dirt gave way, Jasper realized the scratches were words
"And then I realized the words were backwards," she explains. "I held the tray up to a mirror and read it perfectly."
What Jasper had discovered what the plate used for engraved wedding invitations. Mr. and Mrs. William Peter Elms used the invitation to annouce the wedding of their daughter Ellen to Mr. Edward Meyler Gilroy.
At first, explains Jasper, it was hard to make out the words; after all, the invitation dated from 1933. And, since the plate was inked and pressed as part of the printing process, some of the letters were indistinct.
How could she find out more? Jasper took to the internet, first with a lively thread on MaplewoodOnline. The information she gleaned was a great first step, she said, but the story continues from there.
Check back tomorrow for Part II!
And if you know the happy bride and groom or their descendants, tell us in the comments!