Saturday, January 8, 2011

Antiquing isn’t for Everyone

Whenever my husband hears the words: “Let’s go antiquing,” he conjures up musty smells, people’s old junk, and lots of walking. As a result, most of my antique browsing is done with friends. For me the word "antique" tingles with “discovery,” “hidden treasures,” “history and nostalgia;” and if I'm lucky, a bargain in the hunt.

I don’t know about you, but the thrill of finding a piece of history turns me on. I admire each item long after my purchase and wonder who may have owned it and what they were like? If the “find” was once a part of my own family that makes it even better.

Some people like contemporary or brand new things; but I’ve always loved the sense of history and aura surrounding antiques. The sturdiness of solid rare woods, the change in kitchen tools and the progress of society throughout the ages call out to me. I swear, you can feel the presence of the people who have owned these fine things, or is it only my imagined thoughts about them? At any rate, for me antiques seem to have a life and a spirit that new things don’t.

I once purchased a large oval frame for a relative’s photo. I was told that the photo inside was worth far more than the frame itself, but it was the frame I was after. Apparently, some people use old photos in interior decorating whether the people are related to them or not.

The photo in its beautiful frame was placed in a basement store room until I could get it to a frame shop. The original family photo was fairly fragile so I wanted a professional to mount it inside the antique frame for me. It was to be a surprise for my husband’s birthday.

From the first moment I saw her, the woman in the photo haunted me. Each time I walked into the room, her dark piercing eyes seemed to watch me; follow me. I felt a strange darkness every time I was around her photo.

At first, I pooh poohed it; but my dark feelings increased until I couldn’t ignore them. Eventually, I ripped her photo from the frame and threw it away. Dang that its value exceeded that of the frame I’d purchased. I wanted that beguiling devilish face out of my sight!

I’ve never had an experience like that before, but I vowed I would be more in tune with the “old things” I purchased thereafter. Call me superstitious or overreactive if you want, but I can’t shake the memory of that steely-eyed woman from the past.

In case you’re wondering, the woman in the photo above is not, I repeat not the grisly woman from the past. She is my Swedish grandmother and the frame is an original antique from “the old country.”  The old doll buggy was purchsed at a flea market, and the beautiful carving above was done by my husband's Norwegian Great Grandfather.