Everything Old

Discover Vintage America - AUGUST 2020

Tracing the roots of your passion for antiques

by Corbin Crable

In this issue, we will get to meet several archaeologists throughout several states who have made it their mission to literally dig up the past and preserve it for future generations.

That actually got me to thinking about how my own interest in the past began. I think all of us have a similar story about that moment when we knew we would always be entranced by treasures big and small that represent a different time.

I can trace my longtime interest in antiques to my great Aunt Cora. She lived in Kansas City, Kansas, in a small, one-story house, cramped with antiques amassed over an entire lifetime. That house was even more full of love.

In the ’50s, Aunt Cora helped to raise my mother, who lived next door. Even back then, she was known for her larger-than-life personality, with a sense of humor and loving nature to match. Aunt Cora was the type of person who had a commanding presence; when she entered a room, she lit it up with her laugh. Everything would just kind of stop for a moment. I recall feeling very aware of that even as a small child.

I enjoyed visiting Aunt Cora’s house because there were always treasures around every corner – a smattering of knickknacks on every shelf in every room. It felt like stepping into a time machine and being transported to another century. She took note of my interest and once gave me a heavy doorstop in the shape of an iron. Later, I was gifted an antique cast iron toy stove.

My mother remembers many of these items so vividly. She shared her own memories with me: “Growing up next door to my precious aunt was a treat since she was like a Mother to me.  Her home always reminded me of the past; she was surrounded by ‘older’ things,” Mom writes. “It was always mesmerizing to just look around each time I was in her home, which was often. … The home was abundantly full of history, since my Grandma was born in 1892.  (I remember her well).  Most intriguing were the items they used in their home each day, from kitchen tools to pots and pans to furniture; they were steeped in ancient times (to me!)   I was amused by the old displays of milk glass, cruets, and products that were unknown to me in any other environment but hers.” 

Many of those antiques made their way to the living room of the house in which I grew up. Those items included a claw-foot wooden table, a Tiffany lamp, and an old iron trunk, all of them stunning conversation pieces whenever guests would come over. My parents took remarkable care of them, and they’ve told me these items will be mine someday. They all hold such wonderful memories.

I’m blessed not only to have an appreciation of history, but also to have someone in my family who shared that same passion, who preserved the physical effects from previous generations, who cared for them, and passed them on to others.

Similarly, I’m certain you’ve had that person in your past (or perhaps your present) who has helped you to discover and nurture your interest in old odds and ends. Maybe you have a favorite piece that reminds you of him or her. I hope you take time to pause today and say your own personal ‘thanks’ to them, whether they are with us or not.

Happy treasure hunting to you. May you find that special piece that speaks to you and makes you exclaim, as my Aunt Cora used to say, ...“That’s good stuff, Maynard!”


Corbion Crable can be contacted at editor@discoverypub.com.

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