The Stories Antiques Tell

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Why do song lyrics touch so many hearts? Why do poems speak to our core about an array of emotions? Why are some movies or books so profound to so many?

It is because as human beings we have far more in common than we care to admit. No matter our culture, race, affluence or lack of – we all know what pain feels like, what joy feels like. We have all been loved, we have all been rejected. We have all felt the sting of unfair circumstance or the surreal giddiness of magical serendipity.

We are more one than many on this human path, one we trod together – shoulder to shoulder or connected by some mysterious commonality through the centuries.

This universality of the human experience is one of the reasons I feel so drawn to antiques and why I prefer to be surrounded by the remnants of these untold human stories. The secrets behind these objects that graced the existences of days, and people, gone by brings me wonder and somehow comfort. The people who owned them were once as alive as I am. And they are gone now, as I, too, will someday be.  There is no morbidity in this understanding, for I believe all these relics ground me in a simple truth, and that is a connection to the past that gives the present both purpose and context.

My antique collection is not only a quiet nod that honors those who were here before me but also a reverent understanding of my own mortality and how our material surroundings provide nothing more than a backdrop to our own stories.

I took a few pictures of the antiques that grace my home along with my wondering and musings. Who were their former owners? What stories played out in their midst?

Iron and Crocks and Scale
Who was the woman who labored with this iron? Heavier than bricks and so hot that the handle had to be grasped with a thick cloth? Did she loathe the drudgery? Were her children always wrinkle free on Sundays? — What was weighed on this scale? Packages? Groceries? A new born baby? — What was stored in these crocks? Flour? Salted meat? Maybe a bit of moonshine?
Were any of these pieces once a wedding gift? Did a beaming bride once part pretty paper and then oooh and ahh over any of these items?  Did she entertain many guests over the years for coffee and proudly offer them cream? Were laughter, or tears, present at that table?
This metal bucket was a work horse – what did it carry? Milk? Grain? An afternoon lunch to a farmer in a field? Did it arrive on a covered wagon after a long journey? Did some little boy drag it along begrudgingly to the barn when it was time for chores? Did a sweet chubby hand grab this handle? I like to think it was a witness to sunny summer days and did its part to contribute to a hardworking family long ago.
What was once beyond this door? Chickens? Rabbits? Was it flung open every morning as a little girl looked for eggs? Or was this a shutter on a house that kept out the winter wind and summer heat? Did it fly open to let in summer breezes? Was a family safe behind its shelter? No matter what life it led, it was opened and closed often and did its part in the story of a family somewhere at sometime. It now rests near our fireplace. It’s work is finished.
FullSizeRender (56)
Who was J.N.? (The initials carved prominently in the seat.) He wasn’t very crafty as his vandalism is clear. Was he punished for his carving? Did he survive the boredom of the schoolhouse and grow up to do great things? Or did he remain a rule breaking rebel? I like to imagine this infraction was as bad as it got and that J.N.’s life turned out pretty darn well.
Sewing Table
What was sewn at this sewing table? Dresses for little girls? Pants for little boys? And whose tools were once stored in this wooden toolbox? What did those tools build? And who packed this picnic basket for sandwiches on a quilt on a long ago summer day?


Wooden Scoop
What did this oil can pour oil into? A car? A piece of farm equipment? It was hard working for many years and full of grime. It sits not in its neat retirement on a shelf next to a centuries old wooden scoop from China. What did this piece help to gather? Grain? Rice? How many hands held the handle? And what of these vintage schoolbooks near by? How many eyes read these stories?

As you can see, I do a lot of musings about the lives these objects touched and the statements they make about human history.

My final picture above has one last item in it that I actually know the story about – the Funk and Wagnalls wildlife encyclopedias. For you see, the person who purchased them from a door to door salesman back in 1977 was my mother. He convinced her that her children absolutely needed a set of these encyclopedias. Every child needed to be well versed in the animals of the world. From ant eaters to zebras, her kids would surely do far better in school with access to these phenomenal resources.

And so I know well the little girl who poured over the pages about baby otters and the red stags of the English isles – she was me. Before information was just a Google away, it resided on a bookshelf at the base of a roll top desk in books that I would spend hours paging through.

But someday I’ll be gone. And these books will just be books that someone uses as a great vintage accent piece to add texture and interest to their room. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll wonder about the story behind them now and again? And feel just as connected to the mystery of the human journey as I do.

Happy antiquing!

Peace, Joy & Blessings, 


“You shall rejoice in all the good which the Lord your God has given you and your household.” — Deuteronomy 26:11 




  1. To me – music always was a release. Whatever my mood, there is always a song that reflects it. I am loving your ironstone pottery! Oh and that antique door…total drool factor. I would love it if you would consider joining our link party and share your post with our followers. I think they would love it. If not, it’s not a problem. I would have still left you a nice comment. Especially for a fellow ironstone lover!


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