The old saying that "one man's junk, is another man's treasure" couldn't be more true! For years, I watched my late sister-in-law and late mother-in-law ooh and aww over silver spoons, statues, mud men, and jewelry snapped up at local antique shops. Back in those days, I was all about my career, making money fast, and buying up as many new luxury items as I could carry. Those old, rusty, and worn items that once graced another's home were not of interest to me. Why would I want another person's junk? Yes, I was an antique snob and proud of it.
One day, I needed to find a vintage apron to add to my growing collection. I swallowed my pride and reluctantly turned my attention to a local antique shop thinking they might have one or two available. Mr. Z went with me. As I wandered up and down the isles, I found myself being transported back to my youth. Everywhere I looked were treasures from the past. Dishes that my Grandma Sadie served a Sunday dinner on, a coffee pot that my mother used every morning when I was growing up, shiny glass ornaments that adorned my Grandma Winnie's Christmas tree, and toys that entertained me for hours as a child. Slowly, I found myself reaching for items on the shelves, searching in baskets for hidden treasures, and rushing over to snatch up an item before another shopper stole my find. Before I knew it, I had an armful of riches destined for my home. A lace tablecloth in its original 1960's package, a glass pearl necklace, a Tiffany lamp, and a Corningware Percolator. My head was dizzy at all of the treasures surrounding me! And the prices were like I had fell into a worm hole and came out in 1960. Mr. Z and I even found a lovely server that matched our Queen Ann dining room suite. Who knew that an antique store could be so utterly satisfying for a snob like me?
As I stepped up to purchase my finds, I watched the happy faces of the other customers who had found treasures too. I suddenly felt ashamed. Why was I an antique snob for so long? How many treasures from the past had escaped my grasp because I was too good to shop for another man's treasures? How many hours of happiness did I miss by avoiding these second-hand stores? If my wonderful mother-in-law, Stella, was alive she would say, " See, much fun you had? I told you so!"
As I stood waiting to pay for my a treasure-trove of delightful aprons, brooches, and 40's dresses, I suddenly realized that I found something that couldn't be purchased with a credit card or cash. Something that you couldn't find on the shelves or in the nooks and crannies of these fabulous shops. What I discovered was a sense of nostalgic happiness that I only remember feeling as a young girl. As I traveled up and down the isles gazing at people's formerly owned treasures, I felt a sense of connection to the past. I wondered what family had enjoyed dinner on my new vintage English stoneware dishes and cups. What kind of meal did the 1940's housewife prepare as she wore my new apron?. What kind of chores was the lady of the house doing when she made that slight tear in my 1940's housedress?. These items were more than "things." They were ghosts from the past; representatives of precious lives gone by. A glorious era gone by. It gave me a complete sense of happiness and fulfillment to welcome these old treasures into my new home so they could continue to be useful and valued. Who knows, someday the china, ornaments, and statues that I hold dear may end up in an antique shop looking for a new home. Waiting to make another family happy. Hoping to create a whole new set of memories for perhaps another antique snob.