What’s with the old stuff?

All is bright.

I have driven a lot of miles in this state. If you take some time to drive our great state, you will experience a diversity of landscapes and lifestyles as varied as it is big.

For me, any drive east or west is not complete without a stop at Thorpe, Washington. I adore the Thorpe fruit stand. It has become a mid-way point of habit for a quick break. What used to be sincerely just fruit and veggies from Washington farmers is now espresso, cheese, wine, candy, snacks and two full floors of antiques! Ah the allure of old stuff to stir my child-like-treasure-hunting side.

Our home is sprinkled with finds from this favorite roadside diversion…jars of homemade apple sauce, peaches frozen at the height of the season, our santa mugs, a decorative pillar, old sap buckets and more. And following today’s trek, some vintage Christmas ornaments.

My daughter, trained well, loves to hunt with me. My son, well, he doesn’t get the allure of old stuff.

So how do you explain why I must have this bag of hand painted, vintage ornaments, despite the fact that some are chipping and fragile? Why do we need little Santa mugs that are older than any of us? What is so cool about that vintage snowman that lights up?

In purely practical terms, frankly, I don’t know. But there is something about that ornament. The colors are different, the memories it represents, the uniqueness, the glitter in perfect patterns. It’s just different from the “seen-one-seen-them-all” version of decorations we have now. And the Santa mugs represent opportunities to share a warm moment with those we love, with my kids, someday my grand kids, with my nieces and nephews. Each one has a place, a use, a purpose. I don’t just collect stuff to set on a shelf and keep it protected, but these treasures are mixed right into the fabric of our life today.

Maybe that’s the real story here. The antiques have stood the test of time, through untold moments of family life and they are woven again into a new family’s story. Maybe the real allure is that somehow, we are all connected and old stuff reminds us.

Life, Parenting

Wait…is Old Cool or Not?

My daughter and I found this darling little ornament at a vintage Christmas sale.  We love shopping in antique stores, estate sales and thrift shops.  Each trip is like a treasure hunt and we can linger for hours among “old stuff”.  But the irony of this faddish vintage craving of my 18 year old daughter amuses me. 

She has boldly laid claim to pieces of the family heirlooms we have in our home “when I’m gone” and regularly announces plans to take the antique iron bed frame, the vintage slipper chair and other treasures from our home “when she moves out”. It’s not that I mind these references to life without mom, nor do I feel at risk of a sudden unfortunate demise. No, this allure of “old things” by my youngest is more like a play I sit and watch, wondering if the final scenes will surprise with a sudden twist of story.

Not yet even 50, my husband and I are reminded often that we are “old”.  Nevermind that the things we played with in our homes as children are showing up in those vintage stores…we are not old!  At least not in our own mind.  In fact, on the verge of an empty nest before we turn 50 holds so much possibility, we are nearly giddy with the thought. Listen, don’t judge, we adore our children, but come on…who wants them to live at home forever?

Anyway, because I love antiques as well, this is a fun phase for me.  But I wonder, in the final scenes of this drama, if my husband and I become cool as well?  I won’t worry about it.  In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy these moments with my kids.  You know, for young ones, they are pretty cool.