I love shopping for antiques. Not at the hushed fancy places, although that’s nice sometimes. I prefer the antique malls. Every town’s gotta have one, because where else would people sell their old stuff? I know, I know, Ebay. But there is no substitute for rambling down dusty aisles and looking at people’s lifetime collections. Plus, it’s so environmentally correct!
On the one hand, it’s a thrill to see if I can find something fabulous. Something that may be worth something, but more likely just fits in nicely with my own collection. I collect vintage tablecloths, green Depression glass, and odd Niagara Falls memorabilia, since that’s where my husband proposed to me.
On the other hand, it can feel kind of sad to see someone else’s collection sitting there up for sale. Clearly children, grandchildren, or siblings didn’t want to keep the stuff. Or maybe they just needed the money. Or even worse, maybe there are no surviving relatives. I find the stands with the framed photos of ancestors especially sad. I realize their grim faces might not look good in the living room, but still…they are family.
Which brings me to the real reason I love shopping for antiques: It’s a good reminder that you can’t take stuff with you when you go. As much as we may covet things while we are alive and enjoy our stuff, when it’s all said and done it’s family that matters most, and the lasting actions we leave behind, like ripples on a pond.
Meanwhile, I am still alive and antique-hunting in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Louisville Antique Mall! I bought a vintage tablecloth from Perth, Australia (!), and a green aluminum cake tin, which I will probably actually use.
My grandmother, Anna Rodale, was an epic shopper. Her advice was that you should always buy things you want; otherwise, you might regret it later. I think of her advice often. In fact, I am thinking of it right now. There was a lovely little watercolor from the 1940s of a naked woman. I didn’t buy it…wasn’t sure where to put it. I don’t know who she was, but I know she was somebody that someone wanted to paint, and the painter did a sweet job of it.
Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow.