Every Piece Has A Story

I’m not a person who walks into an antique store looking for something to buy. On occasion I have but our home is not filled with antiques. Instead I enjoy the nostalgia aspect of it; revisiting the past and seeing things that I grew up with on store shelves.

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I love opening or picking up pieces, imagining their history and where they began their journey. I know it sounds strange to say about inanimate objects but even they have a life. They were once new, bought by someone who was excited to have purchased that piece.

I wonder where that old suitcase has been. What trips it took and why it was originally purchased. A honeymoon perhaps? College? Did it fly when air travel was still in its infancy or did it cross the ocean on a three week voyage.

I try to imagine when that woman’s purse might have been purchased and what valuables it may have held. Did it go on dates? Was it held during a first kiss? Did it attend weddings?

That chest of drawers was new at one time and it held a wardrobe back then. How did it look new? How many addresses has it had?

The dining room table and chairs probably once had a family gathered around it. Who was that family? What holidays, birthdays and special occasions were celebrated around that table?

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Jewelry has always fascinated me the most because they are usually special pieces even if it’s only costume jewelry. Did someone purchase it for a special occasion or as a gift for someone special? I always believed the jewelry stories have to be the most interesting because they are not part of those items considered necessary or essential. So the meaning must have special significance.

I also always wonder how these pieces came to be where they are. Was it part of an estate sale or purchased at a flea market or garage sale? I once asked the owner of an antique store how he found some of these pieces and he said many people come in looking to sell them. I suppose they’re either cleaning out the homes of family members or in some cases, their own.

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That last thought always leads me to wonder what will happen to the items in our own home. Eventually, it will end up somewhere. Some things will be passed down, some sold, and some may even be thrown out. But every piece, like those I held in my hand in those antique stores, has a story attached to it. Every piece holds value, monetary or sentimental.

I wonder if one day someone will wander through one of these stores and pick up a piece that was once a part of our life. I wonder what they’ll think and if they’ll find it interesting enough to purchase. Β If so, I wonder where in their home it might end up. I’d like to think it will bring someone happiness. I hope so anyway.

Because even inanimate objects can bring happiness.

Even inanimate objects have a life.

 

58 thoughts on “Every Piece Has A Story

  1. Barb Knowles

    This is a beautiful piece of writing. I adore antiques for the same reasons. I do have many in my home, but most of those have been in my family for years. But not all. I rented space in an antique store for a few years, so bought and sold. I was, of course, using this as a business venture, but it was the possibilities of the stories these items had which was the allure. I really enjoyed this post.

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  2. Kate Crimmins

    When my mother died it was so hard to clean out her house. There was so much stuff that meant something to her but I couldn’t keep it all. I kept some but slowly over the years I’ve gotten rid of most of it. I have some jewelry, a chest and a coffee mug that says “Best Cook.”

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  3. Anne Mehrling

    We should add the stories to our valuabes. My mom wrote a few sentences about the oldest family heirlooms in our house, and she taped them to the pieces. She had told us the background, but it was nice to have the reminders on the pieces themselves. I enjoyed reading your post and shared your feelings about the nostalgia of walking through antique shops.

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  4. Lynn

    George, a family member & I were just talking about this the other day. It is not so much about the actual value of an item but rather the story behind it. We too, talked about documenting certain pieces so that future generations understand the significance of them. Lovely & thought provoking piece George.

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  5. dianasschwenk

    I have a dresser that belonged to my daughter, that I purchased at a second hand store. When we got it home, I found the words, “I hate Calgary.” scratched into it. I wondered if it had belonged to a disenchanted teenager. Love this post George. ❀
    Diana xo

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  6. Bun Karyudo

    It is fascinating to think about such things. I also feel the same way when looking at items in museums and antique stores. Sadly, I doubt anything I own will ever end up in an antique store. Perhaps some future person may wonder about them as he or she walks through a landfill.

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  7. Kim Gorman

    Very thoughtful post, George. I agree that even furniture (and houses, too) has life because it, like everything, has energy. Jewelry especially carries the energetic residue of the people who wore it. I’m blessed to own a few pieces of my grandparents’ furniture, and also my GG trunk they came to America from Sicily with and her sewing machine (she used to be a seamstress).

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  8. uju

    Lovely post, George.
    When we moved into our current house a few years ago, I found myself walking through corridors and inside rooms, trying to imagine what the old owners did there and what stories the house had to tell. Kept me pretty occupied.

    I like to antiques, too. There isn’t much around this part, but when I do find them… it’s just awesome. πŸ™‚

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    1. George Post author

      Thank you, uju. I always imagine what previous owners were like and what those walls saw and heard; what drama, if any, played out.
      Interesting stuff.
      Good to see you, uju..:)

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  9. kgjewels5

    Love this story. Reminds me of one of your previous posts about the elderly woman giving away or discarding old things in her home. It was difficult because they were her memories, and the objects were being tossed.

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  10. roughwighting

    Beautifully written. Yes, I believe we can leave our ‘mark’ on inanimate objects – our ENERGY. I love owning some pieces of my grandmother and aunt – it makes me feel that in some way, they are still here with me. And I hope the furniture I’ve lived with for decades will find its way, when I’m gone, into a loving person’s home.

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    1. George Post author

      Thank you. You’re right, having those pieces does make them feel as if they’re still with us. Hopefully the next generation feels that way about the things we leave behind.

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  11. Retirementallychallenged.com

    As someone who is currently trying to get rid of things, this really hit home. There are items that I have acquired over the years – as well as items from my parents’ estate – that I no longer what, but I deeply want them to go to someone who appreciates them. I sold an old Kodak darkroom timer (perfect condition, still worked) of my dad’s on eBay to someone who collected vintage photographic items . Along with the timer, I sent a note about my dad and how much he enjoyed developing photos in his darkroom. Hopefully, the timer ended up in a good home and the buyer appreciated the note.

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    1. George Post author

      That’s a tough situation because you don’t want to just toss stuff but at the same time you want to clean up and not leave it to someone else to do.
      Sending a note was a nice touch and I’m sure have the buyer a greater appreciation of what they were buying.

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  12. reocochran

    I really enjoyed this with the depth of thought and nostalgia attached to many of the items you mentioned. The way you imagined the possibilities and how each was once new, made me think a lot. I enjoy antique shops for many of these reasons but had not ever thoroughly examined the “why?” until this excellent piece of writing, George.

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  13. Ann Coleman

    Yes! That is exactly what makes antique stores, estate sales and even history museums so interesting and compelling. Each piece in there has a history, and it’s left to us to wonder what it was. It’s good for our imaginations, I think. And I completely agree that inanimate objects do have a life. Not their own, of course, but the one that was given to them by the people who used them or lived with them. Even houses have a certain “feel” to them, I believe, created by the people who lived there. Which is why I prefer old houses to new, I suppose. Excellent post!

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    1. George Post author

      It’s like you’re touching history or can feel it when you touch these pieces. Then you can allow your imagination to run free with what might have been. Fascinating stuff.
      Thanks, Ann.

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  14. reocochran

    I came back to add to my comment. πŸ™‚ I kept only a few of our family “heirlooms” as the eldest in the family, choosing ones which fit my simpler and smaller quarters now. It is quite nice to have a younger brother and his wife’s home, who has become the place to visit at holidays. The knick knacks and memorabilia fit into his family’s home. Ones which are nice to see are plates from different years and places, on shelves: Delft blue, Norman Rockwell and an Italian patterned one, for examples. My grown children remember them in our parents’ (their grandma and grandpa’s) home. Your post stayed with me for nearly two days, “the power of your pen,” George. πŸ™‚

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    1. George Post author

      That’s very kind of you to say, Robin. Sometimes having only a few pieces is better than being overwhelmed with pieces that have no where to go or hidden away in boxes. Sometimes the smallest things talk to us. Thanks for stopping back..:)

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  15. Fourth Generation Farmgirl

    Loved your post, George. I enjoy visiting antiques malls as well. My grandmother Rieley loved antiques, estate and yard sales. I gained an appreciation for antiques and vintage pieces because of her. I am fortunate to have a few family heirlooms that I treasure. I like thinking about their previous “life” in my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ home, which is now my home. I believe antiques lend a certain warmth to a place. I have furnished my home mostly with vintage and antique furniture as it just seems to fit this old house. πŸ™‚

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    1. George Post author

      Thank you, Tonya. I love the history of these pieces and allowing my imagination to wander. I have some pieces from my parents and extended family but not many. I think antiques work perfectly in older homes and compliment the history of the home.
      We actually visited a very large antique mall in Virginia on 81. I could have spent the day wandering around there..:)

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      1. George Post author

        I think it was in Verona just off of exit 227. I remember reading that it was 120,000 sq ft. They advertise it as the biggest in the country though I heard someone say there is one in Ohio as big but I’m not sure.

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  16. Hugh's Views and News

    This is one of the best pieces of writing that I’ve read for a long time, George. This is what blogging is all about. Written not just from the mind, but from the heart.
    You could have been writing about me. I’ve always been fascinated by antiques and go through the same thought process as you. I’ve even attended ‘The Antiques Roadshow’ which is a TV programme you may have heard of? I have appeared in the background of the programme but never actually had one of the valuations I’ve taken along being recorded.
    Carry on with those thoughts. They are absolutely delightful.

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    1. George Post author

      Wow, that’s very kind of you to say, Hugh.
      You’re right about how blogging should be written from the heart. I suspect we all get away from that at times.
      I do know the show you’re speaking about and have watched it several times. I’ll have to look for you next time I see it on..:)
      Antiques are just fascinating to me. I can hold something in my hand and almost feel the history of it. But allowing my mind to imagine where and what might have been is really fun. Sometimes I just wish I knew more.
      There have been some people who have responded to this post who have sold some items and written a note about it and their parent in order to give the buyer some history about the piece. I love that idea and wish it could be done more often.
      Thanks so much again. You made my day😊

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      1. Hugh's Views and News

        I hear that having a written history about the object can make some items more valuable, George. It’s a little like having the original box.
        I’d love to think that something I now own will end up on ‘The Antiques Roadshow’ one day and the person who brought it along gets a complete shock with the valuation.

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  19. Holistic Wayfarer

    I’m not supplying enough information but perhaps just barely to affirm your point. NPR once interviewed people who couldn’t part with certain things. So you’re right. They are more than possessions. They bear memory, time, place, and often bear the stamp of relationships and roles (the rocking chair I nursed my boy in).

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  20. sportsattitudes

    Great post George. I couldn’t agree more. Going through my mother’s house I found several items I didn’t know she had kept which instantly brought back memories. As some of her furniture was sold off I also wondered where it would wind up, how the new owner would stage it, etc. I know when we eventually downsize and some of our items move on to new owners I know they’ll be “making history” going forward.

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    1. George Post author

      Thanks, Bruce. I wonder the same thing about our belongings when it comes time for our children to clean out our home. Hopefully I won’t be around to see it..:)
      Interesting games over the weekend. One on twelve playoff games was good, not including the last couple of minutes of KC/Pitt.
      That can’t be helping the ratings. Should be a good Super Bowl, though.

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