By Lola Johnson
Nineteen years ago I was preparing to auction off the house I grew up in; along with its contents. The memories of my childhood there were many. My brothers decided that they didn’t want any items from the house.
Before loading the items for auction I went through the house one more time with each room having its own special memories. I recalled that the kitchen sink was where mom always shampooed her hair. It was a free-standing double porcelain fixture with metal drawers and cabinets. The one thing I spotted on top of the sink was mom’s curler jar. I remember her always wrapping her hair in the metal and rubber curlers before going off to bed. Of course, this was one of the items that I wrapped up and put into my box of memories, which also included pictures and old cigarette lighters that no longer worked. Once I arrived home I took the box to the basement and placed it under the stairs in a closet and never thought of it again, that is until last June.
In June of 2012 my husband Jack and I decided to clean out the closet under the stairs. Way at the back of the closet was the box of mom’s things that I had placed there nineteen years earlier. I began going through the box checking out the pictures as well as the other items when I came across the curler jar wrapped in newspaper; I forgot that I had even saved it. As I unwrapped the larger piece I noticed that it was a piece of marigold carnival glass. I thought to myself, I should be so lucky if it was a piece of Millersburg. Ha Ha! I noticed that it had a design around the piece that appeared to be acorns. I removed the newspaper from the lid and found it in perfect condition. I believed it to be a piece of Fenton and not really to excited about the find. I wrapped it back up and placed it back in the box keeping only the pictures from the box.
I took the pictures upstairs to go through and as I was sitting on the couch I told Jack that I had unwrapped mom’s curler jar. I began telling him about the piece and I mentioned to him that the lid had a handle on it. A light bulb finally went off in my head! I retrieved my carnival glass book and looked up the Pipe Humidor and low and behold YES; there it was a Millersburg Pipe Humidor in perfect condition!! No, it couldn’t be, could it?
I ran down the steps and grabbed the box hurrying back up the stairs to examine it further. I removed it from the newspaper and compared it to the book. There it was, a Millersburg Pipe Humidor that had survived years of my mother using it as a curler jar. Jack kept saying, “It can’t be” and I kept saying OH Yes It Is!!! This was the very first time I had seen a Pipe Humidor. I was shaking so badly and had Goosebumps all up and down my arms, needless to say I could barely speak. The excitement was like no other I had encountered in finding a Millersburg piece.
My mother and I use to attend local auctions now and then; perhaps we bought it at one of those. I do know that we would not have paid more than fifty cents for it. When I packed it away nineteen years ago I had no idea it was a piece of Millersburg Glass. What a basement find! What do you have stored away in your basement?