Frizztext at http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/story-challenge-letter-a/ has set us a new series of challenges, this week’s being the letter A. For this challenge I chose to write a little piece about antiques. I am no expert on this subject and probably wouldn’t know a valuable item if it came up and bit me but I love looking around antique shops and browsing through the memorabilia of a bygone era.
If I had a dollar for every time my mother, grandmother or mother-in-law has said, “I used to have one of those years ago but I threw it away,” I would probably have enough money to go in and buy something from one of those shops in which we have spent so many hours. Which makes me think, will the stuff that I keep around the house now, be worth something in years to come? Should I hold on to it in the hopes that my children may eventually look on it as a valuable or at least sentimental inheritance?
I envy those people who own things that have been handed down from generation to generation, whether it be a family bible or some other memento of the past. I have one or two such treasured possessions but I can think of so many other things that once belonged to my grandparents that I would dearly love to have today.
Neither my mother or grandmother were hoarders, mostly because they just didn’t have the room to keep things that weren’t of any practical use but there were certain items that I used to see around the house that caught my fancy; a china jug that played ‘Widecombe Fair,’ a silver tea service, a beautiful framed picture that my mother had embroidered and an exquisite black silk evening jacket were among those things that I would gaze at longingly when we went to visit my grandparent’s house.
After my grandmother’s death, my grandfather moved into a nursing home and I remember Mum sending me, with his few remaining possessions, to the antique shop to see if we could raise some much needed funds to help pay for his upkeep. The man who owned the shop was reluctant to buy but eventually offered me a few pounds for the lot. I would much rather have kept them as family mementos, for all the good that paltry sum did, but at the time we had no choice but to sell. I often wonder what happened to all those things that I used to admire so much as a child.
I still don’t know what became of those treasures but recently, by mere chance, someone who now manages the place where my grandparents lived and worked all those years ago came across some old pictures that clearly show their living room with the china jug on top of the piano and the silver tea service in the cabinet. They very kindly sent me the photos and I was so thrilled to receive them, a wonderful reminder of those times.
I wonder if my grandchildren will, in years to come, think fondly of my few bits of chinaware and glass ornaments, the souvenirs from Margate and Folkestone and my frog collection. Will they want all the nick-knacks that currently adorn my house and covet the contents of my cutlery drawer? Probably not, in which case you may one day see some of these erstwhile treasures languishing on the shelves of your local antique store.