Thursday, March 24, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Brussels Bag

In 1958, my Uncle Sidney Burk flew to Belgium to visit the World's Fair. (Being a travel agent like his older brother--my Dad--he probably got a special deal.)

My parents asked him to bring back something special for me, my twin, and our younger sister. This evening bag is one of the two gifts he brought back for me.

It must have cost the earth, even at that time. It's velvet, with intricate metallic-thread embroidery. Size is 7 1/2 by 4 12 inches. I rarely take it out of its box these days, but I did use it for special occasions years ago.

The other gift Uncle Sidney brought back was a doll in Belgium costume, sitting in a chair and making lace--real lace, not the machine kind we buy in stores today. It was the kind of doll that is put on a high shelf where it can be admired but not played with.

Alas, I always liked to inspect that lace up close, being a needlework fan even then (my mother and grandmother loved to stitch and I learned to crochet before going to kindergarten). After 8 years or so of being closely examined, the doll and the lace somehow separated and eventually the doll became so spindly that I had to say goodbye. Decades later, the memory of that doll and my beautiful Brussels bag bring back the exotic glamor and excitement of my uncle's trip to Belgium.


  1. That must have been such an exotic feeling to have received those gifts from your uncle from a country so far away.

    The bag is lovely - even more so I'm sure up close in person.

    And what a lovely memory you have to treasure forever.

  2. This brought such a smile to my face. We were living in Brussels in '58 while my father was stationed there. The fair with it's Atomium, the lace making, even mussels and beer have fascinated me my whole life.

  3. Thanks to you both for stopping by. Wow, Nolichucky Roots--you lived in Brussels and went to the fair? What a great experience it must have been! Belgium seemed like such a faraway place to me (remember, I was living in the Bronx, so it actually WAS far away!).