Sadie’s Lamp

2011, January 081This lamp belonged to Sadie Williams.  She is a woman I never met.  I may have seen a picture of her, but I could not identify her if I saw the photo again.  Despite all of that, I have known this lamp for about twenty years and owned it for at least eight.

It was delivered to me at a school where I was teaching by some missionaries who were headed to Italy.  It had traveled from Texas to Arkansas, then back to Texas.  I have discovered via The Mighty Google, that it is called a “Gone With the Wind” lamp and that it is a reproduction as it is electric (the originals were just highly decorated hurricane lamps that used kerosene).  GWtW lamps came into vogue after the release of their namesake movie, so I will assume that my lamp was produced sometime after 1939.  A part of it has been replaced–the very top metal bracket with the key is a shiny brass that does not match the rest of the metal.  I don’t know if it was Sadie’s or Sadie’s mom’s as Sadie was a teenager when the movie was released, but it is now mine and lives in my bedroom.

Sadie’s lamp is very old-fashioned and has huge tea roses painted on both globes.   If Sadie’s lamp had a scent, it would be a combination of Merle Norman face powder, and rose scented talcum.   It is a very feminine in a grandmotherly, time-gone-by way.  It is a rather large lamp, and it takes a certain person to appreciate it aesthetic qualities.  But anyone–anyone at all–would be able to recognize the loveliness of it’s light.

They key has three functions.  Click one:  the bottom globe is lit.  Click two:  the top globe is lit.  Click three:  both globes are lit.  Both globes give a nice, golden glow to a room.  It’s enough to read a book by, but not enough to disturb someone who might be sleeping.  The top globe lit alone is not a function that is normally used by us.  The bottom globe lit alone is the one we use the most–just one click is all it takes.

When a child is sick and needs to sleep on a pallet in the floor with a bowl near their head or enough light to make it to the bathroom–Sadie’s lamp (click one) is the light that shines.  If either Tony or I go to bed before the other and we want to leave enough light so the night owl can find their way across the room–Sadie’s lamp (click one) lights the way.  If there is anything unsettling that may need attention in the night, but we want to rest until it’s time to go into action, Sadie’s lamp is the sentinel that keeps the time.

I got Sadie’s lamp from this little girl.


Isn’t she cute?  I love her angel costume over her blue jeans–the north Texas wind blowing her blond curls–the shadows of the bare tree branches on the wall of her home along with the shadow of her Daddy taking her picture right below.

This little girl grew up to be My Friend, Carolyn.  She has been my friend now for twenty six and a half years.  Sadie was VERY NEARLY Carolyn’s aunt.  Of course, had Sadie BEEN Carolyn’s aunt, then Carolyn would have been a different person and might not have been my friend.  Chances are high that we would never have met at all.  The story of how Sadie was not Carolyn’s aunt after all  is a sad one.  It involves World War II and a girl back home who was waiting for her fiance to return.  I will tell it sometime, as it is very, very important.

However, for today we will just look at Sadie’s lamp.  The fact that it sits in my room in Waller, Texas after a detour FROM Texas to Arkansas, then back to Texas is an amazement to me.  The fact that the cute, little girl in the angel costume is my friend is an amazement to me.  How she even came to be my friend and the impact it has had on my life, the lives of my children, the lives of HER children (and grandchildren) is an amazement to me. The fact that God in his infinite mercy and wisdom and grace takes sad stories and brings good things from them is an amazement to me.  It reminds me of this poem that I have loved since one of my teachers in high school showed it to me.


Bits and pieces.
Bits and pieces.

People. People important to you, people unimportant to you cross your life, touch it with love and carelessness and move on. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why you ever came into contact with them. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of remorse and wonder why they had to go away and leave such a gaping hole. Children leave parents; friends leave friends. Acquaintances move on. People change homes. People grow apart. Enemies hate and move on. Friends love and move on. You think on the many who have moved into your hazy memory. You look on those present and wonder.
I believe in God’s master plan in lives. He moves people in and out of each other’s lives, and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who ever touched your life, and you are more because of it, and you would be less if they had not touched.
Pray God that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder, and never question,
and never regret.

Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces.

Lois A. Cheney, (God is no Fool, 1969)


Tomorrow, September 30th is Carolyn’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, friend.  The friendship that we have is one of my greatest treasures.  You are a gift far above rubies.  Or sapphires since you like blue best.  You know how much I love Sadie’s lamp.  I will keep it safe until it is time to let it travel to another home and continue its journey and its story.

Bison Homecomeing October,  2012 217

A Bit and a Piece of God’s loving kindness, October, 2012, Searcy, Arkansas.

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