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I often find myself lost in time and losing track of time when I’m wandering through vintage, antique and thrift stores. If I’m not careful, I’ll easily pass hours in the quiet corners of my favorite vintage shops, and having quiet conversations with the merchandise for sale. Before I know it, half my day has passed and I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing but question the history, story and past ownership of old items that are sitting on the shelves and racks.

antique-store

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I’ll spend minutes, sometimes hours, pondering the existence of an old bowl, who had owned it, what their life was like, and the amazing foods that was served from that humble vessel. I’ll pass by an antique chair and imagine the lives of who sat in it, what they were reading while resting in it, where and  how it ended up in the store and why it’s forgotten in the corner of the shop.

My quiet obsession is with anything old, faded, used, forgotten and left for sale. All of these relics have a history, a grand story to tell. My ears are ringing and I love to listen.

I love old rotted, paint-chipped wood, rusted metal, old architectural salvage hardware, dishes, bowls, plates, furniture, clothes and everything that has lived through history in someone else’s possession. Anything that was treasured by someone from a past era and that is now sitting in a vintage, antique store has a story to tell. When I pass by old paint cans, I ask what walls their colors had graced. A stack of plates from the 1940’s, flawless of chips or cracks, tells me that their original owner cared for them with caution, keeping them in perfect condition after all these years. I wonder how many dinner parties these heirloom plates have seen and how many generations of families it’s been passed down to.

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The price tag isn’t always a reflection of the items value. One time, I found some old cast iron pans, slightly rusted, but in still in perfect form. It was given a value of $5, which I found to be a steal. This was a heavy iron pan that must have seen the days of the Oregon trail, provided many warm meals during the California gold rush, or even accompanied a cowboy along his travels in the great plains. Maybe the sagas I’m envisioning are over exaggerated and only drawing from the romance of American history that I learned in the 5th grade or saw on “Little House on The Prairie”.  Regardless, I found that cast iron pan to be priceless. The $5 price tag seems so unappreciative of it’s history.

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Silly as it may sound, being surrounded by old, vintage and antique items makes my imagination go on a wild historical ride.

Are there any old items that you cherish? Is there a story behind it? I’d like to hear.

Maybe I’m not the only one hearing ghost stories.

-Diane

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