Like a Virgin

If you were asked to guess who lived in my apartment, based solely on the knick-knacks and baubles arranged on my shelves, you’d be forgiven if your answer was an elderly Polish woman of peasant origins.

Exhibit A:

Among the accidental collection, this wooden piece from my dad's village. Click the "read more" to see other images.

I’m not sure how or why it started, but I seem to collect Virgin Mary icons the way some people collect ceramic roosters or wine corks or creepy dolls. This was not intentional. I didn’t sit up one morning, say, “Virgin Mary – that’s totally my thing,” and make haste to the flea market. I would not even call myself religious. (Neither would my parents. Kind of a sore subject.)

I guess there’s a comfort in it, a familiarity. Because when you grow up in a Polish family, there are three things certain to be hanging on the walls of your home: 1) a photo of Pope John Paul II 2) a wall calendar from a local Polish meat market and 3) an image of the Virgin Mary. I don’t make up the rules, I just follow ‘em.

Over the years, one Virgin Mary from Mexico led to another from my dad’s village in Poland. Others followed, I can’t even recall from where. I pluck them up now like it’s my job. Emotional resonance is no longer a factor, exotic location not a prerequisite. Case in point: My latest acquisitions, a pair of decoupaged Mary’s, came from a sidewalk vendor in SoHo. Next to us, a guy peddled knock-off Prada bags, a dirty sheet at the ready to conceal his wares from passing cops. So, it’sĀ fair to say I was moved to procure them more by retail impulse than God.

I’m fully aware I’m on the road to becoming the Candy Spelling of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Readers, I give you a peek at my budding collection:

4 thoughts on “Like a Virgin

  1. Asi, you always hit the nail on the head and explain things so well. I can definately say you could tell I lived in a Polish household because we had all three items; 1) John Paul the Pope picture hanging, 2) Deli Meat Market calendar and 3) The Virgin Mary picture hanging as well. Love your blog!

  2. Joann, I had to laugh about the Deli Meat Market Calendar (so true) and if not that calendar then definitely a calendar from a Polish Church with with the Saints name for each day (that’s what I remember in my mother’s kitchen). I love your collection!!!! I don’t know why, but a couple weeks ago I saw a picture of Mary with a tear on her cheek (representing “Our Lady of Sorrows” when she stood beneath her Son on the cross). It moved me because as a mother, you never want to see your child suffer and it showed me that even she felt the most awful pain seeing her Son that way). I wanted to buy it, but didn’t. Today I woke up thinking about that picture and then I see your article and your collection. I was moved again. I think I will probably get that picture one day. If “Our Lady of Sorrows” picture crosses your path, get it for yourself, it speaks volumes. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing…Hugs :)

    • What a coincidence, isn’t that interesting timing? I’ll keep a look out for sure. There is something very comforting about having them around me. Better than having an unexpected collection of deli meat market calendars, right? Thanks for sharing!!

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