I’ve always liked to pilfer through old stuff. My mamaw’s Victorian house was chock full of amazing objects. There were old records, shoes, and pictures stacked under chairs and on window sills. Really any flat surface held something. A giant closet beneath the staircase filled with coats was at least 8 feet deep. Untouched bedrooms held posters, board games, and clothes from eras gone by.
My cousins and I would sneak off to play hide-and-seek but then get lost in game of searching. That may have led to my love of antique malls and flea markets. Though I know Mom and I spent many Saturday afternoons at flea markets. Perhaps it is just in my DNA.
At any rate, when we moved back to Lexington we discovered a little store called Feather Your Nest and fell in love. They have a collection of booths AND free coffee.
Hello?? Free coffee and antiques?
There is just something comforting in history. I love imagining where items were before they ended up in the store. I enjoy wondering what stories a tea cup has overheard, whose fingers wrapped around it’s delicate handle.
I have a jar of shells at home. We collected them on a trip to Dauphin Island a few years ago. I remember my toes digging in the sand finding shells, the kids coming and fishing them out. Mom held the bucket and they plunked them in. Liam and Spencer pretended they were money. Lee was out in the waves with Dad and Erik. It’s one of my favorite memories.
I wonder if my jar of shells will end up in an antique mall one day.
Wandering around stores like this is like wandering around in someone else’s memories. I can imagine the housewife tying on her yellow apron, or a salesman putting on his fedora before he walks out the door. Their lives fascinate me but so do their dreams. What did they want out of life? Did they get it? Who remembers them today?
I’m not sentimental over objects, generally speaking. I tend to enjoy memories more. There are a few objects that I do love. My mother’s original wedding rings are special to me because they are one of my earliest memories. I remember watching her spin them on her ring finger with her thumb. I also remember the feel of the prongs holding the diamond as I played with it. I loved playing with her delicate fingers when I was small. I thought they were so beautiful. I still do, in fact.
My Dad had a nail brush, and still does. A thick white, two-sided brush. I still use it on my boys. I remember it sitting on the edge of our sink throughout my childhood. Dad likes clean fingernails but also hard, dirty work. He’d come in from outside, covered in sweat, and go straight to the restroom to clean up. Even then it reminded me of my Grandpa.
I also love my sweet husband’s journals. I tease him about them sometimes but they’re one of my favorite things about him. He is a poet, a real romantic, and has filled leather journals with his thoughts and prose. I adore how sensitive he is. His love of the written word was a surprise to me when we were young.
Who knows where those things will be in 50 years. Who knows where I will be?
Today I am here, in my house, with my little boy and little dogs. I think we’ll go for a walk after we argue about Minecraft. Then we’ll all have dinner and it will be noisy and loud and I’ll wonder why I neglected manners so much.
Then I’ll realize it’s more fun to join in.
I can go to the antique mall for quiet.
Be brave, misfits.
You know where to go if you need a free cup of coffee and time to meander through a stranger’s memories.
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