Columnn: Lifting a self-imposed moratoriumI can tell there’s going to be a sale at Occasionally Yours and Vintage Marketplace this week. I see the gals from both stores pull up outside our office, I watch as they haul all kinds of recommissioned goodies out of their cars and vans. I think to myself, “Man, that looks like fun.” And that scares me a little bit.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
I can tell there’s going to be a sale at Occasionally Yours and Vintage Marketplace this week. I see the gals from both stores pull up outside our office, I watch as they haul all kinds of recommissioned goodies out of their cars and vans. I think to myself, “Man, that looks like fun.”
And that scares me a little bit.
I’ve been pretty good at not wandering through the stores every time they open, but that’s not for lack of wanting to. It’s a restraint I’ve put in place just because I know how I am. But these days, my self-imposed moratorium on antiquing seems to be coming to an end.
I’ve had a long appreciation for antiques. I don’t know when or how it started, but I’m pretty sure I was born with it. My earliest recollections of my life involve a curved, claw-foot wooden/glass cabinet and a tall, enclosed Edison Victrola in our living room in New Ulm.
It seems a life of grandparents and great grandparents who enjoyed auctions rubbed off on me. My dad’s parents, Grandpa Ken and Grandma Ag, had an antique store in Nicollet for a number of years. My grandmother bid on glassware and china, simply because she liked pretty glass. She had shelves and shelves of Depression glass and Carnival glass. She started collecting patterned china for all of her granddaughters. She had figurines galore – glass boots, birds of all shapes and sizes. Teacups and saucers, cookie jars, glass milk bottles. You name it, she had it.
When I was a toddler, Grandpa Kens’ mother, Grandma Leonard, came to stay with us for a few months after I’d had some surgery done. It was for her that we acquired the Victrola. And when she moved out of her big house, my dad bought her living room loveseat, chair and rocker for me. It’s a beautiful, curved mahogany set that’s in need of reupholstering. But it’s mine. As is the plaster turtle I’d somehow come to call a pet when I was a child.
My folks sold that Victrola for $50 when I was in college. I was sad, because it was a pretty piece and it was unusual. But one day, about 12 years ago, I was in an antique shop half a block from the Independent when I turned a corner, and there stood this same style of Victrola. I opened the lid. I opened the door and pulled out the drawers. It was so similar! And then I took off the grate on the front of it.
At one point, my mother had put red velvet behind the grate when we owned our Victrola. My jaw dropped when I found scraps of red material on that grate in my hands. A few inquiries later, I was convinced it was the same Victrola sold by my parents.
To my delight, when I moved in to my townhouse here in town, a friend showed up with the Victrola in the bed of her truck. It’s been a birthday/Christmas present from her ever since, and I couldn’t be happier to have it in my home again.
Grandma Ag gave me several of her pieces of glassware before she died. She shared what knowledge she could with me, and I found myself fascinated. I applied my limited knowledge to garage sales and a few flea markets, bringing home goodies that I wasn’t really sure if there were value to, but that were just “cool” in my eyes.
Running out of room, and being told by more than one person I had too much stuff, I eventually decided to impose that moratorium, and simply care for the pieces I have now.
That is, until I got hooked on Storage Wars on A & E. Something about the televised auctions draws me in, makes me start thinking about the bargains and treasures to be found out there. From Storage Wars, I went on to American Pickers on the History Channel. Last week, I settled in for my first full episode of Antiques Roadshow on PBS.
But it’s more than that. I’ve been spending my evenings online, looking up “ruby glass birds” and “Jonathan Haviland china”. Not because I want to sell anything, but because I want to know how to research the pieces I have (that I have, incidentally, in an antique hutch my parents bought from my grandparents for me).
Last Thursday I almost got locked in the basement of The Antique Mall of St. Paul on Selby Avenue because I was in my own little world and not paying attention to their closing time. I spent Saturday afternoon with a friend, gazing wide-eyed at all of the finds at the antique shops in the Pottery Place mall in Red Wing. I’ve even done drive-bys of several thrift shops and antique shops in St. Paul, just so I know where they are when I decide I want to go.
And here, I have two places right next door. To be fair, I should also check out Shidor and Once Again Consignment and Boutique if — when — I lift this moratorium. I mean, I tracked down my family’s Victrola here, so who knows what goodies I might find in Farmington? And that’s not even considering that garage sale season is right around the corner. (I’ve banned those, too, you know.)
I’m resigning myself to the fact that I have picker tendencies. I can’t help it. It’s apparently in my blood.