Sometimes when I go to an estate sale I will notice that the resident of the abode has kept certain things in the same place for a very long time. This may be evident when I pick something up to look at it and notice a clean spot in the dust where the object sat. That’s kind of like my antique booth when nothing is selling! LOL!
One very vivid example of this hit me one day when I went to the second day of an estate sale in a home built in the 1950s and occupied by the same family since then. When I went into the living room the first thing I noticed was the sculpted wall-to-wall orange carpet. Upon closer examination, the striking thing about the color was that there were rectangular and square patterns on the carpet that were of a sharply brighter orange color. These shapes were left by the furniture that once occupied the space. And had protected the carpets original color from being washed out by the sun. The shapes were sharp and crisp and I knew that the very same piece of furniture had rested in that spot, without moving, without replacement, since the 1950s when the home was new. The furniture had all been sold, but I could picture it in my mind.
To me, more so since I’ve started this antique business, things, that is objects, have become much more transient. I used to buy or otherwise acquire things for myself. To own. To point to as mine. Even if they were locked away out of sight.
Now I see things, and people, as transiting through the world on their own journeys, stopping by wherever I am to linger for a while. Sometimes a brief moment. Other times, for a longer time.
Very rarely do I buy something just for me. That doesn’t include things like food or essentials like underwear and toothpaste. I’m talking about objects for display, or utility, that I enjoy for their own sake. Things like glass objects, paintings and sculpture, jewelry, furniture of a certain style. Stuff I like because of how it looks, or works, or what images it calls up in my mind. Mid century modern evokes images of childhood. Ship models send me to visions of life on the high seas as Horatio Hornblower. Other things have other impact, but you get the idea.
I gather these things and hold them for a while to enjoy. And then I pass them along to someone else. Some things I buy just to resell, and enjoy while it’s in my store. Some things I will keep around for a while as an example of something. Until a better example comes along. And some things I will always keep, because of their beauty, but mainly because of their sentimentality. My kids will probably have one hell of an estate sale when I go!
And I find the same thing happening with people. They come and go. Sometimes staying for a long time as a good friend. Or bursting on to the scene, making a big splash, and vanishing. Nonetheless leaving quite an impression. The leaving used to bother me. But now I see it as each encounter has its reason and value. And when its mission is accomplished, it ends. Perhaps to be reborn later.
People aren’t like things, but they all come and go. And leave their mark.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com