Carmen Miranda. That's the name that Deborah's family gave to the lamp, an impressive 40" tall, with a champagne glass base, filled with fruit.
It was at the end of a long, long three years. Deborah had been through many changes during those years with her children, her husband, and her home. She taught severely emotionally disturbed high school students with more skill and natural talent for reaching those students than she knew. But in the credential-graduate program, the pressure and intensity of the coursework while teaching full time threatened to undo her. At the end, she was overwhelmed by trying to organize her knowledge to present to a panel as part of her exit exam. But the wealth of work she had done with the students was nothing short of marvelous: boxes of creative and thoughtful student work and inspirational planning. It was merely a question of weeding, pulling the best of the best. Meanwhile, the students working with her bloomed like a fertilized garden. And because of her pure, honest spirit, I told her I'd struggle along side her to prepare for the panel presentation.
The last day working on the presentation, late at night, at Deborah's house, we were saying goodbye as I saw something wild, wacky, and I fell in love. It was a lamp. A champagne fruit lamp. A cockamamy thing of art and beauty. "You want it? PLEASE take it! We don't know what to do with it!"
Deborah's wealthy Los Angeles aunt had bequeathed a number of items to Deborah. Furniture and lamps (including this one), from her tastefully appointed home. This was the only item that just didn't speak to Deborah - but to me - oh, rapture!
I brought it home (with some difficulty). And then I found a label on it: Marbro Company.
Fast forward to Google.
Marbro was a lamp company in Los Angeles, stated and owned by the Markoff Brothers. They produced one-of-a-kind table and floor lamps. Some were designed to order using a statue or piece of sculpture from the client; others were designed and made using collected, unique parts from around the world. Experienced artisans carved, cast, painted, tinted, assembled and designed for Marbro. Meanwhile, the brothers scoured the globe for jade carvings from China, Murano glass from Italy, crystal from France, Italian alabaster, and brass from India to be used in the making of their lamps. Even the lampshades were one-of-a-kind, handmade by a group of women, each one unique to the lamp for which it was designed.
That was 6 years ago. I had been gifted a 40" tall, 30 pound collectible - in perfect condition, including the original shade. I'd even found some lesser detailed Marbro lamps on ebay and on 1stdibs for between $3,000 and $8,000! When I told Deborah this, she laughed: "It was made for you!" But the value will only increase, and I thought she really should keep the lamp. She laughed again: "Nobody will ever love that damn lamp like you!" She's right, I think.
I'm hopelessly and passionately in love with the champagne fruit, Carmen Miranda lamp. And no, it is not for sale (although a realtor said that had to go before an open house....ahem). Ooooh, whoooo, what a little light in your soul can do!