She stood looking around the room. It was very dusty and she couldn’t help but sneeze. There it stood in the middle of the room on an easel with a piece of red velvet fabric draped over it so proudly… like it was a cherished piece of royal art. Her grandmother had taken great care to cover it. She glanced around the room. It was quite empty. An antique rocker was in one corner and a small trunk in the other corner. She wasn't quite ready to look under the fabric yet so she pulled the rocker close to the trunk.
Sitting on the rocker she opened the chest to find it was full of old clothes. One by one she pulled out the dresses taking care to not tug at the fragile fabric. These were really old. All hand stitched. She had heard her great grandmother was an excellent seamstress but this was the first time she had seen anything made by her. At the bottom of the trunk was a white box. She lifted the box out of the trunk and noticed it was wrapped with a pretty blue ribbon tied in a bow. Carefully she undid the bow and opened the box. A sheet of fine tissue paper covered a fragile light blue dress. It was small... like for a little girl. It was sleeveless with another pretty blue ribbon tied at the waist. Under the ribbon she found a note with a seashell inside. The note read... TO MY DARLING DAUGHTER... MAY YOU ALWAYS FIND TIME TO EXPLORE THE SHORES. LOVE, MOTHER. This must have been her grandmothers’ dress when she was a little girl. A tear came to her eye... she was ACTUALLY holding something her great grandmother made for her grandmother!
She couldn't put it off any longer... it was time. She put the dress and note as she had found them and did her best to retie the ribbon around the box. She got up from the rocker and walked over to the red velvet fabric. So THIS was the painting her grandmother had mentioned in her will. Carefully she uncovered the painting. The frame was like new. She stared at the painting. Her hand glided across the canvas towards the signature. A.V. something... she can barely make it out. There is a little girl standing in the water. She's bending down as if she’s found something. The little girl looks familiar. The dress is familiar too. Suddenly her eyes widen... It's the dress from the chest. The same blue bow too. There’s another bow about the little girls hair. The little girl MUST be her grandmother! She smiled as a chill ran down her spine. Such sentimental value these finds were. But she still couldn't help think how much were they REALLY worth??? She carefully covered the painting and continued getting things ready for the house sale.
As the days grew closer to the sale the little dress and painting where on her mind. Who was the artist of the painting??? Should she sell the painting and dress, or keep them??? Just how much were they worth??? As she drinks her coffee and reads the paper, she notices the ad for the Antiques Road Show. They are coming to her area this weekend. She decides to bring the dress and painting to the show. Now she would know for sure the value of the items BEFORE the house sale next week.
As she waits in line for the appraiser to look at her items she notices a little girl waiting with her mother. That little girl is about the same age that grandmother was, when the painting was done, she thought. The appraiser called her next and she carefully laid the box on the table. The velvet covered painting she puts on an easel. The cameras for the show are everywhere and she is very nervous. If she decides to keep the painting and dress then she should at least know the value for insurance purposes.
The appraiser's eyes are wide with excitement as he examines the painting. She could tell he is surprised. He explains how the painting is from Anthony Verburgt who was a multi media artist back in the 2000’s. This is a pastel drawing, a la Monet, of a little girl by the seashore. He has done many paintings of the ocean, but this was the ONLY one of a little girl and it is a rare find by this wonderful artist. He is equally excited when she tells him about the little dress and her grandmother. As he continues to ask her questions her heart starts to race. He's sure the painting is ORIGINAL and is in the ORIGINAL frame. This is a very rare find indeed and he estimates that the painting with the dress would bring at auction over a 100,000 dollars! She is very excited and tells the auctioneer that they are not for sale. She's just glad to know a little more about the artist and find out the value.
That night as she lays awake in bed she thinks of what the appraiser said. This is a painting of her grandmother! It's a part of history... HER history and it means too much for her to give it up. Tomorrow she will hang the painting over the fireplace and leave it there for everyone in the family to enjoy!