We’re All Keepers of the Flame

by Kathy Eber

My first antique store experience was in the 80’s in Michigan. The owners’ love of things old and precious was absolutely contagious. Over the years I would buy a vintage silver heart-shaped pendant, a large framed beveled mirror from a gorgeous Mae West era sideboard, and an 1860’s nightstand from them. I still have and love them all.

heart pendant (1)

The many wonderful things I’ve collected since then have come with the memory of who was with me when I bought them, and where they came from. My house is full of flashbacks.

Then every so often someone will become attached to something on my wall or shelf; a face that looks like someone they know; the image of the Spirit of St Louis against a menacing sky; an antique English plate with a real historical connection to them. So I gladly relinquish them to the people they belong with. It makes me so happy to know they’re loved even more by someone else.

My friend’s husband once asked her, “why do you buy old things when you can afford to have whatever you want new?” Why? Because every piece tells a story. It reminds us that those who came before us lived, loved, feared, cried, laughed, and grew in the presence of these wonderfully comforting treasures.

Now my daughter is embracing vintage pieces in her home. Last year she used an old mid-century snow sled as part of her Christmas decoration. Imagine my surprise when without knowing it, she had bought one that was identical to the one I had has a kid.

ff sled 2

The point is, sometimes we’re the permanent recipient. Other times we’re the interim caretaker. Either way, it’s a good thing.