Monday, March 7, 2011

What's So Cool About Old Stuff?

My Mom once asked me why I liked old stuff so much. I think one of the words she used in that conversation was "Yuck". I grew up in a house with fresh white carpet, stainless steel tables and leather furniture, mirror-art and crystal chandeliers. My parents enjoy keeping an updated, beautiful home. That's their comfort zone. They both grew up in families with very little income, and "old" may have translated to "not good enough".

I distinctly remember eyeing beautiful crystal doorknobs and stained glass windows in my Great-Grandmother's house, which was otherwise in serious disrepair. Their elegance stood out against the backdrop of yellowed peeling wallpaper.  She was raised in a world where nothing was considered disposable and resources were not wasted. Care was taken to craft excrutiating detail into metal, wood, stone and jewlery. The bathtub had unique "feet" on the bottom. Even handwriting was beautiful, and an art in itself.

Then came the kicker that got me hooked on vintage forever!  I heard the story and saw the pictures of my great-great Uncle, Harry Borcherding, who was a trapeze artist in the 1920's and 1930's. GASP!  I was in love with the past!  I was mesmerized by the old pictures of him in his regal suit, and another of his trapeze group, The Four Lordens. He had the financial means to give his wife and daughter jewelry and gifts from the places he traveled. Cool art-deco jewelry, Great Gatsby kind of stuff.

Poor Harry died in a fall from the trapeze in 1933. His daughter died without heirs in 1992 and left her possessions to my grandfather, who was her cousin and caretaker. And I inherited them from my Grandfather when he passed away.  When I wear her jewelry, I am transported to the past and connected to my ancestors in a very cool way.

When Cheree and I go "dumpster diving" for cool finds, and pick through other people's junk, we wonder what the life story of each door knob was, or who lived in the room with the aqua blue windowsill, and what gossip was told over the fence which became a welcome sign on my front porch. And yes, we believe they speak to us! We love giving new life to "old stuff'.  We enjoy keeping items out of the dump. And we love honoring the past by recognizing a new purpose for each jewel that we find.  What are YOUR vintage items saying to you?

Thanks for visiting with us.  Have a terrific week!

Jill and Cheree

1 comment:

  1. Harry was my grandfather’s half brother. I have some photos of Harry.
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