Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Childrens Antiques & The Circle of Life

I wrote this story below a little over three years ago, but it still rings true today!

I have an early, old, square-nailed 1800’s pine stepback cupboard filled with antique and vintage children’s toys and collectibles. I’m not quite sure how my collection began, but as the years have passed, it is one of my very favorite collections! One of the reasons I first began collecting kids toys, books, and other “little stuff” was the mere fascination that these items had held up for years and years, especially in those small, little innocent hands of children! When I think of antiques, vintage items and where they come from, who may have at one time owned these antiques, it is like this huge, heartwarming connection with the past for me. The appeal of children’s collectibles has always warmed my heart, especially since I love kids so much. When I look at an old, tattered, stuffed teddy bear, I can “see” the love that bear has been given over all these years.

When my own kids were young, I had a few of these antique treasures around, but I was young also and there were more important things to buy than antique children’s stuff, after all, “the baby needs a new pair of shoes”. I always did have a few of these antique items, though, in all three of my kid’s rooms. Family heirlooms that were passed down were my favorite things to share with my kids. As my “babies” got older, vintage books filled their shelves, along with framed prints, dolls, stuffed animals and more! And as my kids began to get older, they were taught about antiques and their importance in history and learned that these treasures could fill their rooms as long as they were handled with loving care! I think it sparked an interest in them as well, since they have all grown-up to have been bitten by the bug of collecting.

Us “antiquers” are a special group of people, really, we are! It isn’t so much about making money selling antiques and other vintages items, but more about what attracts us to these things. Most people I know that are collectors, have a soft spot in their heart for animals, kids, history, gardening, books and music. You know, kind of “soulful” things. I’m not sure how to explain it, but Country Roads is filled with these same individuals that have become dealers. They too love to talk about their treasures and finds (antiques), their kids, their pets and our customers are much the same way as well. Over the years, many of these customers have become friends and dealers as well. This past year, Country Roads has been having babies, so to speak. Yesi, one of our staff members, had a little girl, Josalyn, about eight months ago. She is beautiful! And by the time you read this article, Carol will have had her baby girl as well. And in August, yet one more person on our staff, someone very close to me, my daughter Katie is having a baby as well! All of this has reminded me about the circle of life, and how important it is. I recently had a baby shower for Carol, and so many people from Country Roads attended. A few days prior to the baby shower, one of our older dealers, Carol Shields, had lost her husband. Bud had been sick for a very long time, never quite recovering from a stroke he had several years ago. But as I sat and talked about Bud, and at the same time listened to Josalyn play and laugh, and looked at Carol’s growing stomach, I finally “got” what that circle of life meant! It includes new beginnings, new memories without ever forgetting the old memories because those will always be remembered and treasured and a part of our lives.

Antiques are a lot like that. What starts out as a baby’s toy, or a favorite book, is passed on from generation to generation and eventually becomes an antique. That toy is no longer just a “toy”; it represents life and its circle and reminds us how far it has traveled. I often think, “wow, we are living in crazy world right now” and worry about the little kids. Then I remind myself that our parents, grandparents, and great ancestors probably felt the same way. But along the way, we all had something in common. We still treasured our kid’s toys and books and passed them down to the next generation. Without that caring, without that circle of life, we all would be missing out on the real meaning of the antiques we so deeply cherish. I hope you all have a chance to visit us at Country Roads. We are so blessed to have a store full of not just antiques, but loving memories as well!

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