Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Homesick Yankee Ramblings Part 4 - Antiques and Country Stores

From reverse: "Black Lantern Antiques and Country Store Museum - Mohawk Trail - Charlemont, Mass 01339. Early Country Store Items. A nostalgic trip to the past. Old time favorites for all. Nina Noga, Curator"

Ok, I know that there are antique stores in Arizona, but for the most part, they sell things you get at flea markets in Massachusetts. The Arizonan version of the flea market, the swap meet, sells mostly fake Ed Hardy crap and lame cell phone covers. Therefore, I miss New England antique shops and country stores. To make matters worse, my brother visits them frequently and posts pictures of all the great stuff he finds on Flickr.

Country stores in the Northeast always smell like scented candles. They sell cool things like breadmaking kits in Ball jars, sticks of honey, and different kinds of fudge. I'm also a sucker for magnets, though country-theme cow flags aren't really my thing.

As for antique stores, every one is a museum filled with great stuff you can take home. New England antique stores have a lot of artifacts from the nineteenth and early twentieth century with the occasional older find thrown in. I tend to want to buy animal themed stuff or naturalist artifacts, though Erin uses her veto power to prevent taxidermy purchases. It's really fascinating to see what things have the power to move from consumer items to artifacts and how the objects shift roles when they move from the retail store to the antique shop. To become an "Antique" is probably like Heaven in object afterlife, while becoming "garbage" is Hell. After a hard life as a work object, the antique is retired, placed in a safe location and meticulously maintained. If objects commit mortal sins, like breaking or becoming obsolete too quickly, they're discarded, crushed, recycled, buried.

As I look around my house and wonder at how some of the old things I have made the transition, I also look at many of my new things and wonder what the future holds for them. The silver lining of this way of thinking is that it make me want to take care of my stuff; the toxic lining is that it predisposes me to being a hoarder.

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