The farmhouse in which I grew up was built in the 19th century. In it were things not of monetary value, but precious to us nonetheless. Family things with history. The somewhat crudely wrought table, made by a man who lived at the “county home” where my great-grandfather was superintendent, as a wedding gift to my parents; my Mother’s beautiful sewing cabinet with the little stenciled drawers that swing out like arms, a gift from my Father in the early years of their marriage; the round oak pedestal table my parents bought when they set up housekeeping, and the beautiful rocking chair belonging to great-grandma Louisa Merkel von Ohlen. “It came from Leland,” we were told about many items from my Father’s boyhood home, the farm where his father and grandfather had been born. Everything “belonged.”
I loved that house and the things in it. I loved being able to open a door in my sister Sue’s room and enter the attic, with it’s pressed tin walls and slanted ceiling, wide plank floors and a tiny window overlooking the farm’s outbuildings. Years later, when my parents had to move, that window would hold a chute down which many of the memories would slide, into a truck to sadly be carried away.
Growing up in a world of cared for things, old books, hand-made clothes (Mother was a wonderful seamstress who made everything from our snowsuits to our prom formals) and the occasional treasure box of hand-me-down clothes from the Chicago relatives of our Danish neighbor Agnes, led to a lifelong love of “things old.”
I still prefer old to new, a choice that led to a small antiques business I ran for years. When I stopped vending every other weekend years ago, my inventory came to live with us here.
Most of my collected things are vintage textiles. I’ll have many in my booth at the upcoming Charlotte Quilters’ Guild Show, appropriately named Down Memory Lane, March 10 and 11. Location details under “See My Work Here” and in the previous post.