On a wall in my house hangs a small crooked tin shovel, its handle curled, same way as they used to open Sardin tins. A slit in this handle enables it to be hung like a cape over a second tin handle shaped like a long tongue that holds an almost bald brush, at the upper narrow edge a key shaped hole, for hanging it on a nail. Nobody really gives it much attention, but it is part of a real story. I was given this by a Great Aunt [a sister of my Opa] Tante Corry who also told me its origin. I was especially fascinated since 20 years earlier I already have been told about this artifact by another Great Aunt Tante Bep, but never dreamed I will see it, nore be presnted with it.
Many many years ago, a century and half away from us, in Holland. Their father my Future Great Grandpa who was of a good family, but times being hard was in service with a richer family fell in love with the daughter of the house. Her parents were not pleased at all, finnally consented to the marriage, on the condition that the young groom will give their daughter at least some of her wishes. My future Great Grandma, asked from her future bridegroom two presents to make her `Feel Happy` A little Silver Hand-Shovel + Brush, the kind that ladies in those times used for collecting crumbs from the table cloth, and a liittle Silver Hand Bell for calling the servents to clear the table, serve food etc.
The young couple was not rich, and being temparamental as well broke a lot of their original dishes that had to be replaced, so even after a time they had no money for this symbols of wealth . Aunt Bep told me that their father used to break cups and their mother had enough of it, thus every time he broke a cup she broke the matching saucer, and this stopped the breaking. One day My Great Grandpa surprised his wife by making her a Tin hand-shovel with a matching brush , and he made them thus they could be hung next to the table. "And" I asked breathlessly each my great aunts, when she told the story : "did he make her a Hand Bell as well?". Both Great aunts remember `The wish to have a bell` one claimed to remember a bell, a bought silver one. The second aunt was not sure there was a bell at all, "but if there was " she said it would have been hand made by their father from tin as well.
I have the Hand – shovel on my wall, nobody gives it much attention, i dust it from time to time, and every time passing by it I wonder at my great grandpa`s excellent handicraft that came from love, and i always wonder "Was there also a Bel ?" .
This real story was written in 1999, for a project about Bells conceived but not realized by the Late Architect Dov Chernobroda.