The Suitcase Lady


September 27, 2009, 10:02 pm

Antique dealers must get extremely tired of hearing these words. “Why, we had one of those at home when I was a kid!” I have certainly blurted out that cliche many times.

I feel no guilt at being so trite. I simply like meeting old friends, even if it’s just a clone of my beloved, oval, metal train car lunch box that went off to grade school with me every day.

Antique dealers will just have to put up with us; after all, they did choose to be in the nostalgia business, and, after a person reaches a certain age, antique stores become memory repositories.

I’ve reached the point where I get a triple whammy. Not only do I encounter treasures from my grandmother’s house (her cast iron dog doorstop) and my mother’s house (her Wonder Shredder), I also meet things from my own house.

My husband and I are surrounded by a classic collection of mid-century modern furniture, dishes and art. It’s simply the stuff we bought when we were married forty-five years ago.

A while back we were in downtown Minneapolis at a contemporary Scandinavian design furniture store. A sign pointed us upstairs to a collection of antique furniture. Visions of Carl Larsson’s farmhouse furniture appeared in my head. We went upstairs to be confronted with our own bedroom set and a good deal more of our household furnishings. After the initial shock, we laughed most of the day.

Now we can’t wait to go to St. Paul and do “the Retro Loop”. That’s a series of small, antique shops that all feature mid-century designs. We just replaced our dwindling silverware at one of these tiny shops. It’s delightful to shop in stores where not even one thing is stamped “Made in China”.


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4 Comments for this entry

  • Barb Ward

    My Nona had an iron dog doorstop like the one you pictured. You are so right, they bring back memories.

    Hanging in my parents’ 3 car garage (only one vehicle can be parked there in the best of times) are two lamps that my dad proudly brought home in the 50’s. They are pink and gold Bali (not belly!) dancers. You can be sure that my mother’s face did not show delight upon receiving the pair. Definitely a case of “beauty in the eye of the beholder”.

  • Jerry

    I can tell you that most dealers DO hear that quite often…but as they say, it comes with the territory!

  • Judith

    So right! That is why I look around my home and see a museum of my life. It makes CLEARING OUT very emotional, yes?

  • Alyce

    We also are now surrounded by antiques from ours and our relatives earlier days. Love that shredder. Still use mine several times a week. Easy clean up,no extra parts to get lost,and fits into just about any size bowl I choose to use. Keep up the great writing!