I think that most dyed in the wool antique lovers can reflect back on an experience or two when they knew they were hooked--and collecting or just appreciating "neat old stuff" became part of their fabric.
It is this time of year--when I think back to probably my earliest antiquing experience--and acquisition. I actually just dusted the item that is still in our home.
My grandparents used to own a 30 acre Christmas tree farm between the little central Wisconsin communities of Plainfield and Hancock. In the 1960s--that was a hotbed of great local estate auctions. A great summer and autumn past time was to attend one of these auctions--and find something to use at the cottage. The whole family loved and still loves great old stuff. Auctions never used to be held as often as they are now--and were used to disburse whole households. Central Wisconsin was ripe for the pickings.
One very late summer day I attended an auction with just my Dad. I am not sure what caught his eye or what was the appeal of that particular auction--but we spent a whole day at this auction. Ramshackle home stuffed with treasure and several out buildings.
That year I was firmly in the throws of my Laura Ingalls Wilder hero worship phase. This was pre-television show--just the books had me mesmerized. I WAS Laura. My mother sewed a pioneer dress for me and I would haul my wagon around the yard stuffed with goodies and I used to make camp a million times a day under a million different trees. I spyed at this auction a treasure--and I JUST HAD TO HAVE IT for my pioneer get up.
I was never a kid to ask my parents for stuff. Acquisition was limited to birthdays and Christmas. Period. But there on a shelf in the ramshackle shed was a 10 inch little blue willow pattern china kerosene lamp. These were made in Japan in the 1950s. The base would be filled with kerosene--and the little wick would be lit and a matching chimney and shade made it complete. Who knows why it caught my eye. I have no clue how I let my dad know that that was a lamp I would really like.
The auction dragged on and on. It came to 5pm and supper time--and my mom was expecting us back at the farm. No phone call to make--we left before they got to the shed and Dad promised we would eat fast and return to the auction. We did just that. We arrived back to the auction in time for the auctioneer to just be starting to sell the items in that little shed. This story does have a happy ending--my dad won the lamp for $2.00 I think. I remember my dad saying to the auctioneer "You made a little girl very happy." This just stuck with me.
I still have that cute little lamp. Through college-living in London-Naperville-Oak Park-Downtown and now The Green Envelope. It sits in our guest room and gives me warm feelings everytime I look at it. And dust it.
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