Keep The Lights Burning

After my mother passed away, I was the responsible family member who had to clean up her apartment, divide all the knick-knacks and furniture among the rest of the descendants, and those who didn't want anything went into a "garage sale" to get rid of the balance.

Among some surprising "thanks, but I don't want anythings" were my grandmother's candlesticks that my mother had inherited years ago from her mother. They were now a tarnished pair of silver sticks which appealed to no one.

Before taking and putting them into the sale, I tried to clean them up as much as possible. At least, I thought, they were now more saleable.

I advertised in the local newspaper under "Garage Sales" for one week-end toward the end of the year since I thought that would be the perfect time to sell the over 100 pieces left.

The Saturday morning before the sale culminated weeks of gathering and marking prices for each item, without any help from anyone in the family, I was prepared for the sale.

I had priced the candlesticks pretty high because I thought they were valuable enough to get a good price for them. I even displayed them up front of the garage hopefully to draw attention to these wonderful pair. I can remember my mother praying over them. I didn't want them since I had already bought a pair when I visited the land of Israel years before.

It was towards the end of Sunday, the last day of the sale, that anyone really showed any interest in them. It was a little old lady who looked like she was suffering from a lot of old-age diseases.

She picked up the candlesticks, looked them over, and brought them to me and asked, "Is this the best price you can do?"

"Yes," I replied. "But if you are really interested in buying them, make me a decent offer."

"I should," she replied, "Since they remind me of the ones I had in my family before they were lost in World War II. I know some of my family escaped to America before the war started and brought with them all their valuables...a pair of candlesticks was not among them."

She asked me my name. I told her, "Shirley Rosencrantz," which was my maiden name and one I used again after divorcing my husband of 25 years."

"That's interesting," she promptly said. "My last name is the same as yours."

"Well, that is a coincidence. Where did your family come from, Europe?"

"They came over when I was a little girl. They, too, escaped with whatever valuables they could; however, the candlesticks were not among them. When I saw yours which looked exactly the same they had left, I was intrigued, but they are a little more than I can afford to spend."

"What town did your family live in?" I inquired.

"A small village in Poland called Postankisk."

"Oh, my," I countered, "That's where my family lived, too. What street did you live on?"


"Oh, my gosh. I did too... What number?"


"For heaven’s sake. I lived at 204 and must have been next door neighbors."

"You are right. Now that I look at you closely, you look just like your mother a little bit. What a coincidence!"

"No," I said. "It's fate. Those candlesticks were waiting for you to claim them all the time. By coincidence you came across them with the family that lived next door to you. I would love you to have them."

"I would love them, and would like to meet with you some more under better circumstances so we can discuss our backgrounds, people your family must have known, and much more. Would you like that?"

"Of course," I said as I handed over the candlesticks to her. "You can have them at no cost."

"I couldn't. Can I pay you a little now?"

"Absolutely not. I would be most honored to have a former next door neighbor to my family have them so you can keep the candles burning during the rest of your life. I'm sure my mother would be pleased, Ms. Rosencrantz."

"Well thank you, too, Ms. Rosencrantz. I would love to keep the candles burning every Friday night, and will say the usual prayers over them, plus at least a million more for your courtesy."

"One or two I wouldn't mind," I replied, "Hope we can meet soon to talk more."



Annual Notice of Changes...Known as ANOC, it is due from your Medicare provider in September, or early October. Make sure you review the charges and possibility of switching--Medicare and more, published by Issue #297, or call 954-297-4501.



Bernie is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale communities. Many of the stories he has written are based on factual evidence from newspaper stories and other sources available to the public.  He uses his imagination in parts to help supply the “twist” at the end.  The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.


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