These two sisters were destined to form a close relationship ever since they were born two years apart, almost to the day -- big sister, Joan, on November 2 and little sister, Pauline, on November 1. Growing up in a family of modest means, they shared the same bedroom and even the same clothes when the littler sister was old enough to fit into them! They laughed and cried together and sometimes, as children do, they disagreed with one another. But, always, the dispute was preceded with the words -- "But, honey ...." Inevitably, a unique and wonderful bond was formed between them.
~ B IG S ISTER J OAN ~
I always loved wearing perfume but I secretly loved the bottles more than the perfume! On my birthday, I would buy the prettiest bottle I could find. After the perfume was used, I saved the bottle.
In 1994, I moved from Massachusetts to Texas where my little sister Polly lived. When she was helping me pack for this long distance move, we found the empty birthday bottles stored on a shelf in a closet. I had to stop, unwrap each bottle, and admire them all, again. I admitted to Polly that I really couldn't part with them.
We took a break from packing one day and went out brousing through a local antique shop. I was immediately attracted to the large array of old perfume bottles. I purchased one and as the shop-owner was wrapping it, I casually asked whether she knew of a perfume bottle club that I could join. Without hesitation, she handed me an application to join the International Perfume Bottle Association (IPBA), and the names of four good books on perfume bottle collecting. The following day, I purchased all four books and immediately started making a "want" list. On December 31, 1994, I mailed the membership application (for 2 members) to the IPBA and, as they say -- the rest is history. I've attended every IPBA convention with little sister Polly since we joined the organization in 1995.
My general collecting preference is full-sized, figural or colorful, commercials and large-sized crown-tops.
~ l ittle s ister p olly ~
I seldom wore perfume and I certainly never had any interest in collecting perfume bottles. However, at Christmas time I bought miniature perfumes and sent them to Joan.
When I was helping Joan pack for her move to Texas, I was cleaning out her medicine cabinet and I saw all the old empty mini bottles I had given her over the years. I asked her what she wanted to do with them and she said: "Throw them out -- I guess." I took a second look at them and said: "They're so cute, can I have them back?" The answer was: "Of course!"
We took a day off from packing and went antiquing. When we got home, Joan showed me a brochure/application on a perfume bottle club that she got at a shop. She asked if I'd like to join with her. My answer was: "No, I'm not a collector." She assured me that two people could join for the price of one, so I reluctantly agreed: "Add my name, if you want -- but I'm not a collector."
Back in Austin, Joan and I were shopping in the drug store that was the source for all those minis I bought so many years ago. Joan spotted the mini bottles and said: "If you buy one of these little bottles for yourself, I'll buy one for you as a gift!" I did -- and she did -- and from this innocent beginning, a new collector was born. I've attended every IPBA convention with BIG SISTER JOAN since we joined the organization.
I collect minis, first sizes, crown tops and half dolls. I'm currently working on a book about German porcelain figural crown-top perfume bottles.
~ T HE B IG S ISTER /l ittle s ister C OLLECTION ~
We discovered early on that although we shared a common interest in perfume bottles, our collecting interests did not conflict. Joan liked the larger sized bottles and Polly liked the smaller ones. Before long we realized that we were buying Big Sister/little sister versions of the same bottle. When the IPBA convention was held in Dallas in 2002 and 2005, we decided to share our unique collections in a special display of Big Sister/little sister bottles.