• Carmen Marie Fabio

Early Christmas gift for Hudson woman


Safely back at home after being inadvertently sold at a yard sale, Hudsonite Jean Thomson said she’s ecstatic to have her grandfather’s cobbler’s tray returned, safe and sound.

Just in time for Christmas, a formerly heartbroken Hudsonite has been reunited with an over 100-year-old family heirloom that had mistakenly been sold at an October 20 garage sale.

Jean Thomson told The Journal November 1 that she was, “absolutely devastated” that the cobbler’s tray used by her grandfather to make shoes was no longer a part of her life after being sold by her husband for $5. The rotating tray which has eight compartments to separate the shoemaking components was brought to North America from Italy in 1880.

Thomson said the accident happened because she opened the garage door open to let people warm up from the cold weather outside the day of the sale. “Nobody would have seen the tray if I hadn’t done that,” she said.

As Thomson and her husband are currently downsizing, she recently contacted an antique dealer to sell some belongings in preparation for an upcoming move.

The Valleyfield based dealer Stéphane Leroux arrived by truck for the purchase last week during an unseasonable cold snap.

“I warned him to drive quickly up the driveway to get over the rise,” said Thomson, “but he went too slowly and ended up in the ditch.”

While her husband helped to try to extricate the vehicle, both men got soaking wet.

At Thomson’s insistence, the dealer came in the house to warm up and have a coffee.

While waiting for his lift, Thomson said, “Stéphane, you’re an antique dealer; do you think you could help me find a cobbler’s tray?” at which point he stared as realization struck and said, “Jeanie – I’ve got your cobbler’s tray.”

He was indeed the very same garage sale attendee who had purchased the tray weeks earlier. Because of the unseasonable cold and windy weather, he was wearing a hoodie and a parka and due to the high turnout, was unrecognized by her husband.

“If he hadn’t gone in the ditch, he wouldn’t have come in the house and I wouldn’t have gotten my tray back,” said Thomson.

Thomson’s husband insisted on paying Leroux fair market value to buy back the tray even though he said he couldn’t take any money for it.

“I told him, ‘Take it’,” said Thomson. “It’s cheaper than us getting a divorce.”

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