The Young Antique Dealer

I went into and old antique store last summer and the young man that worked there had this to say.

I am shocked at the older people that come in here and remember so much stuff but have it no more, they spent all their young life getting rid of the old stuff and then the rest of their life trying to buy it back. I suppose they donít realize at the time how important these things are. I spend a lot of time just listening to them tell their stories of how life was and how great it was. Things were so much harder back then but so much more worth while. There were no boring moments and no time to party and drink and just hunt for someplace to go. From the time they woke up till they went to bed they worked and then they relaxed in the evening knowing they had done all they had to do. He said, "I have learned so much about each piece of furniture from so many different people". As he spoke a lot of memories came back to me also..

"One day" he said "an older lady and man came in and she went over and just sat by the old iron cook stove and smiled". She said, "I remember when my son was born and every time he was restless I sat in an old wooden chair and rocked him, didnít have anything but the big wooden rocker and it sat on the front porch so I just used the upright one, It had a straw bottom and good heavy legs on it, I bounced him back and forth till he fell asleep, the heat from the stove warming the whole house. The only thing it cost was a little sweat in chopping some wood".  She laughed out loud and I looked at her, she said "one day after he had learned to crawl, I went looking for him, there he was eating a lump of black coal and all around his mouth was black.  Remember pa"? she asked the old man and he nodded his head, "I know he needed some iron that was why he was licking on that lump of coal" she said.  "I learned that from my Momma. At night we would slice some potatoes and lay them on top of the stove and let them fry. And then she pointed to the top, this is a warmer" she said, "you could put biscuits and gravy up here and it would stay warm for hours from the heat of the stove".

"I watched as she told the stories", he said "and I could see the memories as she smiled".

She said "Pa here would come in and put some more wood on the fire and I knew he wanted supper. You didnít have temperature controls , you just had different areas on the stove to set your things and you could cook your whole supper at once. You put it right on the front and then slowly move it to the back to stay warm, the coffee perking in the pot, you had to watch it or it came out the spout, you knew the minute it changed color move it to the back. Not like now with timers and pouring the water through it, not the same at all. My face all red from the heat but that was okay, you got used to it. Oh my and on wash day, put that old big round tub on top of it to heat water for washing clothes. Now people just throw them in one of those big round tubs and never look at their clothes, never check them to see if they are clean. No, it just ainít what it used to be".  Now it seemed she looked so sad. She slowly got up from the old chair and walked toward the door with tears in her eyes.

He said "the old man looked at me and said, weíre having to leave home and go live with our son in the city, she ainít adjusting well at all. It seems the only time she remembers anything is when I take her some place like this. They donít have many places in the city with memories for her, do you think young man..   I mean is it okay if I bring her back now and then and just let her set by the old cook stove"?

The young man had a tear in his eye as he told this story and he said he remembered crying the day they walked away. He said "I may not have sold anything but I have memories that couldnít be bought  or sold".

© by Harriett Dash   2003   Home