Monthly Archives: November 2013

Nothin’ But a Thing!

I am an amnesia victim.  At least that’s what my tag says.  No one seems to know who or what I am so I am just referred to as a whatchamacallit.  I know I’m something.  At least no calls me “whatzit,” like the much maligned mascot of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.  I’m just an unknown commodity.


I was last seen in an antique shop.  Before that I was in a yard sale where my current owner saw me and just thought I was the coolest piece of metal.  Unknown origin, unknown purpose, but super cool!

The only thing I can tell you is that I’m made of some kind of cast metal.  And, I’m very dirty.  Grease all over me I think.  Suggests that perhaps I did something in a kitchen.  I have what seems like a handle.  And there is a receptacle of some sort on me.  And other than the big opening in my middle, there is a hole in the receptacle for something to flow through.  Did I make waffles?

Who knows?  Anybody out there have any idea as to who I might be?  Wait, someone must know.  I think I’m going to a new home.  SOLD!

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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Peaceful Artillery

Born to live and die in the Devil’s own Hell, I was spawned in the fire and smoke of a Birmingham metal foundry.  My mission in life was to deliver death and destruction to places hostile toward the United States of America.  I am naval firepower!


Specifically, I am a spent shell casing fired from a five-inch gun on board a US Navy ship.  Can’t tell you which ship.  That’s classified!  What I can tell you is that I was loaded into my gun and fired, launching my explosive ordinance across the ocean.  The gun exploded with a thunderous boom, and rattled the entirety of the 400-foot long ship.  My accuracy is deadly, and my projectile hit its mark.  Having done my duty, I was ejected from the gun and cast aside.  Used up.

I was certainly destined to repeat this cycle over and over into eternity.  Or at least until bombs like me are no longer needed, but I was scooped up by an industrious young sailor and shunted onto another track.  With a little bit of polish and elbow grease, and a reproduction business end, I would become a ceremonial piece of naval tradition.

Upon officially coming aboard a naval ship or station, high-ranking officers or dignitaries will cross the quarterdeck.  This area is often flanked by rows of shiny brass bombs like me.  Four on each side, with pristine ropes with fancy knots connecting them.  It’s an honor and a privilege to walk through this ceremonial area.  And to serve here.

Somehow, I was sidetracked and never got the spit and polish routine.  Maybe I was next in line when they decided not to make any more of us.  I don’t know.  I do know I spent many years in a dark place, all alone, far from the ocean.

One day I was taken to a warm place, full of other items from far off places.  A museum?  No.  It’s an antique shop!  I don’t know how old I am, but as a curiosity I certainly fit in well here.  I enjoy the warmth again.  But I like being peacefully used even better.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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Veteran’s Day

Veterans Day. A celebration of those who serve. Well deserved. As a veteran, with combat service, I appreciate the applause. There was none when I came home. But, you know, in spite of the parades and the flag waving and the big thank you, I can’t help feeling sad for Veterans Day.

Sure, we are all heroes, doing more than we bargained for.  But it’s much more than the flag waving. After the parade, it’s off to the trenches.  The jungles.  The desert. In spite of it all, there are no rules.  The fire raining down, and the hell all around.

This is what we do. For you. Don’t fool yourself. We don’t do it do it for the parades. We all have our own motivations. Some are really patriotic. Some want to fight. And kill.  In the end, we do it for each other.  None want to die.

But they do. In the mud, the sand and the cold. Alone. Far from families.

But Veterans Day is all about the survivors. Give them a parade. They deserve that.  And much more.  Give them a chance to forget about the blood, fear and trauma for a while.  That’s all in the shadows, and lurking in the recesses of their minds.  It will all still be there when the parade is over.

So strike up the band and give us a parade.  Watch the jets fly overhead. Let the politicians speak.  Lets wave our flag proudly, just as we serve. And then send us off to fight. And die. For you.

Or strive to work it out.  With killing, death and destruction as the last resort. Veteran’s Day makes me sad, because with it comes a need for Memorial Day.  The remembrance of the dead.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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A Chair’s Life

Just sitting around.  That’s what I do.  Waiting.  Lots of people come by, and they all stare at me for a few moments, then move on.  I like all the attention, but I’d kind of like it better if someone would put me to use.  And take me home with them.

I’m a chair.  Bor-ring you say.  Far from it!  From the way people look at me, I know I am something really special.  Maybe it’s the orange colored upholstery.  Or the fantastic mid-century modern shape.  I hear them say, “That is so cool!”  and “Wow, that is really unusual.”  Yeah, I’m special.

Right now I live in an antique shop.  As a matter of fact, it was me who inspired my current owner to open this little store.  I pushed him over the edge in making up his mind, and taking action.  But I didn’t always live here.

My name is Kroehler.  At least that’s what the label under my seat cushion says.  I’m a baby boomer.  Born sometime in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s.  In Illinois.  Or maybe North Carolina.  I was very young at the time and can’t really remember. I’m sturdily constructed with solid wood, nice upholstery with fine detailing and quality American craftsmanship.


My first family was a young couple.  Very hip people.  They always kept up with the style trends and knew that I was the latest, coolest thing.  I was in their living room for many years.  When Richard or Elizabeth wanted to watch that television thing they sat in me.  They had a lot of parties and I got to be acquainted with quite a number of interesting people.  They would sit and talk and laugh and keep me warm.  I’m big enough that sometimes several people would sit on me.

As time passed, and the family grew, Liz and Dick changed up the décor of the living room several times, but they always kept me.  Liz would say, “such good bones.  And a bold shape and color.”  I was sort of a centerpiece around which she created her home décor.  And she would never let the children sit in me.

Then one day she came home with a new chair.  Garish thing.  And I was moved into the basement room.  There I stayed, rarely having any visitors.  That phase of my life lasted a long while and so my upholstery got a respite, and today is in darn good shape for someone my age.

Liz and Dick didn’t hold up quite as well as my solid wood frame, and they went off to live in another home.  Neither Richard, Jr. nor Katie wanted me, or most of the other things their parents had accumulated over their lifetimes, so I was sold at an estate sale.  I sat in a little shop for a while, until the day my current owner saw me.  I could see the love in his eyes.  I knew I was moving again.  Now I’m sitting in his shop, very comfortably I might add, getting to know a number of really cool other antiques there.  Some mid century like me, others from other periods.  But all really very nice. 

And people stare at me.  I’m in the limelight again.  But I’d like to go to a home where people will sit in me sometimes.  That’s what I’m for.  I’m a chair! Come visit me at Living History Antiques in the HodgePodge antique mall in Monroe, Georgia.  

That’s part of the chair’s story.  What’s yours?

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Silk Ear?

Like an action thriller in slow motion, the show unfolded in front of me.  Much to my horror, the fate of the hero was not going to be pleasant.  When I opened the door to the truck, I saw the lamp roll off the seat and out the door.  S l o w l  y it fell the foot or so to the ground.  It hit the ground with the tinkling sound of breaking glass, rolled over, and was no more.

There was no pause button.  No rewind.  Time was not going to go backwards.  It was broken.  And ruined.  Today is my daughter’s birthday and I had bought it for her at an estate sale.  Mid century.  Covered on both its body and shade with gold stars.  Just the right size for her apartment.  I was devastated.

Why hadn’t I secured it better in the seat?  Could I have been any more cavalier in throwing open the door to the truck?  I should have paid more attention at baseball camp to learn to catch better.  Oh, I was mad at myself.  Mad at  the world.  Brooding.

Then it hit me.  The only part that broke was the glass body.  The shade was still intact.  And by itself worth more than what I’d paid for the whole thing.  The hardware was all there and functional.  But it was sooo cool!  Can’t be repaired.  No going back.  But I can make it better!

All I need is some kind of new body for it.  Has to be correct for the time period.  And needs to be super cool to go with the stars.  But I can make it better than it was.  Might take a while.  And it’s a lot more involved than just sticking the original on the shelf, ready to light the room.  But I can make it better.  I’m creative like that. 

And so the silk purse, rendered a sows ear by an unfortunate accident, will once again become a silk purse.  Or at least a silken ear.  That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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Holiday Fun!

It’s coming!  Soon.  Just around the corner in fact.  The great HodgePodge Antiques mall Christmas open house on November 16th.  Visit my store, Living History Antiques, and all the other s in the mall to find fantastic treasures, bargains and Christmas gifts.  Several other malls in Monroe, Georgia are also participating so come on out.  You’ll also be treated to an ugly sweater contest, and heaven help us, karaoke sung by antique dealers!  Check out their Facebook page for more info.  And check out my store!

That’s a new part of my story.  What’s yours?

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Polar Opposites

The show began with a palpable tension.  And ended with a note of hope.  Once again I’ve travelled back in time through the magic of the Peabody Awards Decades program, and seen the past in a new light.  I was alive for this decade, the 1960s, but very young.  The early part of the decade I remember vaguely.  The latter parts form the perspective of a young person.

The tension I referred to surrounded both the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.  Both vey violent.  Both very divisive.  And each in its way contributing to the restructuring of American society.  Hard fought battles.  Lingering to this day.

Snarling dogs, water cannons, teargas and riot police accompanied both movements.  Yet both held on.

There was the Summer Of Love, and it all seemed to change.  But surely it was a more gradual evolution than just that one summer.  But the Flower Children played their part too.  Some as marchers, demonstrators and rioters. 

What I remember of the sixties are the fashions, the music, and the war.  It was later that the details of the counterculture and the civil rights movement were filled in for me.  But to this day I remember seeing bodies floating down a river in Vietnam on the news.  And driving by a house in my town, near my school in fact, flying an American flag on the front porch with a sign resplendent with the words, “Welcome Home!”  A survivor.  The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  And the death of Robert Kennedy.  One summer we were at my uncle’s house and at night we could look out toward the city and see the orange glow of the fires burning in the riots.  Most of all I remember hearing older boys talking about their lottery numbers.  Not the Mega Millions lottery.  The draft. 

There were draft card burners, bra burners, rock concerts and VW vans.  Iconic photos.  Kent State, with four dead in Ohio.  Vietnam.  The napalmed young girl running down the road.  The spy executed in the street.  And a girl, a flower child, placing a daisy into the barrel of a National Guardsman’s lowered rifle.

The program ended, as I said, on a note of hope.  There they were at Abbey Road studios.  The Beatles, with some help form the Rolling Stones, singing about “All you need is love…”  Maybe it was the Summer of Love that did it.  But more likely, in every direction it turned, the decade was driven by passion.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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