Hi everyone. Yes, it is time once again for the ramblings from my mind.

I grew up in central Illinois and had the honor of being raised with both sets of grandparents in my life. It was fun, as my dad’s parents collected antiques, and, having been raised with them and having respect for them, got to know what the antiques were and what they were used for. It also meant that we were allowed to play with the antiques, because my grandma knew I would take care with them.

I still have most of the antiques I grew up with. Though I am the second child in my family, I sort of ended up being the keeper of all my parents and grandparents (and beyond them) items. I am still going through all the boxes. Remembering my childhood with these items has brought me many smiles over the years. Finding things I did not know what they were at first, and finally figuring them out, has also been fun. My dad had 2 sisters. The first of them lived 2 months with what my grandmother always referred to as an open spine. One of my dad’s cousins sent family photos that her dad had kept, and in them were the first photos I had ever seen of my Aunt Nancy. It made me cry, as Dad was no longer with us and didn’t get to see the photos. Going through boxes, I found 2 baby buntings, 1 blue, the other pink. It dawned on me that they had been my dad’s and Aunt Nancy’s. Found a little sailor suit in another box, which I had photos of my dad wearing when he was around 2 years old.

In the antiques, I have a vast collection of items. I have a large collection of salt dips that were part of formal place settings rather than passing around a salt shaker. There is an antique butter churn and butter molds, which I loved pretending to make butter in the churn (at least until my child sized arms got tired).

There is an antique wooden washstand with a pitcher and bowl, and with a chamber pot (all were antique, not replications). We have the glass bottles for the milk to be poured in, and the top of the bottle was like a bubble, with a small ladle to scoop off the cream when it came to the top. We have shaving mugs that had the shelf on one side of the interior of the mug, where the brush would sit so it would dry out, and the old straight blade razors.

There are invalid feeders (the photo on my book Netherfield Park Quarantined is actually a few of the feeders we have).

We had hat pins, horse blanket pins, coffee grinder, and LOTS of antique dishes.

My younger brother inherited the original copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and copies of National Geographic from the early 1900’s, when they would put out a hard cover copy of their articles at the end of the year. I also have a pie safe, which is a large cabinet that had small holes in the sides and doors, so you could put your baked goods in to cool, yet keep the flies away from the food.

Now the reason I am discussing this. Seeing what people used years ago is interesting to see. The amount of work that went into making things was incredible. Things that are easily made by machines now, the workmanship that went into making the items 200 years ago blows my mind. Even seeing things that my dad made when I was a kid compared to now just makes me so appreciative. Dad did amazing hand carved wood pieces, from wall hangings, clocks, and even a very large display case for my collector pins. You can’t get the same detail and the love that went into the pieces from a machine made product.

When my daughter was little, one set of her great grandparents on her father’s side moved. Her great grandmother gave me a china cabinet that had been made by her father as a wedding gift for Cate’s great grandparents. I was told that with Cate being raised to appreciate family pieces, the great grandmother felt it would be cared for.

Also, in this time of photos being so easy with all our security cameras and our phones. To think that in Jane Austen’s time, only those of wealth could afford to have portraits done, so the majority of people had no images of their loved ones. Even if you had a family member with talent, the supplies for doing a portrait were too costly to be used for the poor.

Have you ever been reading a book or watching a movie and thought “Just call them. It would be quicker.” Can you imagine how much simpler it would have been for Darcy to have shut down Wickham’s escape from Brighton if he could have called London, rather than having to wait the number of days it took for the post from Jane to reach Elizabeth in Derbyshire, then the journey to London from Pemberley?

Recently, a friend posted photos of a pair of antique earrings that were made of glass seed beads. Having sewn seed bead jewelry, I have the greatest respect for those who do so. Seeing the details to the earrings, knowing them were made 200 years ago, is incredible.  Knowing the methods used currently to facet stones for jewelry, stop and think of what methods were used 200 years ago, when there wasn’t the computerized machines to make the cuts in some of the strongest stones.

I have a friend who makes doilies that are beautiful. She crochets them with the teeniest of hooks. Unfortunately, in this day and age, we have lost so many talents due to mechanization. Being part of a farmers/artisan market, I love seeing some of the creative people who are bringing back some of the long lost talents.

So next time you see something antique, take a moment to appreciate the work that went into the item. Stain glass windows amaze me, and to think of how they made them hundreds of years ago astounds me. When you pull out a stick of butter, remember what it was like to have to churn it in the past. We had an antique (hand crank) ice cream maker. It would take a lot of cranking and your shoulder would hurt. We are so very spoiled these days, with machines to make these items for us without our laboring to make them.

Oh, and have to show you this photo. It is my daughter on an antique children’s chair. The story behind it is my grandmother bought it at a yard sale when my dad was around 3 years old. Grandma paid a quarter for it. It has been through 3 generations now.

6 responses to “We are so very spoiled”

  1. Glynis Avatar

    Such fascinating items! I remember my Gran having a meat safe (like your pie safe) in the hall along with jugs of cold water to keep the milk in. Butter and cheese were kept on a stone shelf in the pantry. Various vans came round where you could buy fresh meat, fish and groceries. My uncles grew fruit and veg in her garden and they caught fish and rabbits in the Yorkshire village where they lived. My Nana lived in Derbyshire near us and her cottage had a shallow stone sink with a cold tap, an outside toilet and a tin bath. The water was heated on a pull out shelf over the fire. I don’t have all the things you have, just a button hook for fastening ladies boots which was my Nana’s. She gave it to me when I used to go ice skating with my school to help me lace my boots tight. Thank you for sharing your precious memories with us. I do have many of those to remind me of my wonderful childhood!

  2. Amanda Kai Avatar
    Amanda Kai

    What a neat story! I too was taught to appreciate old things and handcrafted things from a young age. I still have the child-sized rocking chair that my mother played with as a child, and several of the handmade furniture that my grandfather built, including a rocking horse, child-sized table and chairs, and a music stand, all of which are in daily use still. My great-grandmother collected china teacups, so now I have a collection comprising hers as well as some of my own.

  3. Stephanie Mudd Carrico Avatar
    Stephanie Mudd Carrico

    In our house we have many antiques passed down through the generations. My husband feels he was born in the wrong era. He was raised by his grandmother who was born in 1900. We cherish these beautiful things and have raised our boys with an appreciation for them. Hopefully they will last for generations to come.

  4. Linda A. Avatar
    Linda A.

    We are definitely spoiled. I’m under the current high pressure system and have heat warnings out. In fact, in Lawrence, Kansas, the heat index hit 134°F Sunday after the air temperature reached 102°F. (I’m sooo glad I don’t live in Lawrence.) Can you imagine going through that wearing the long-sleeved, buttoned-to-the-neck, long dresses that our grandmother’s (and older) wore? with petticoats! We have chiggers in Kansas. Add THAT to the mix, too. I am VERY grateful for A/C.
    btw, I too hope to pass some of the family heirlooms to my niece and nephew and hope they appreciate them.

  5. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    We absolutely are spoiled! You have some lovely antiques and wonderful pictures! What great things to pass on to their generations!

  6. Riana Everly Avatar

    I love antiques. We have generations-old furniture from both sides of the family, and they are all loved and appreciated.
    And yes, we are indeed spoiled. We have so very much, but I’m not sure we (as a general WE) appreciate how lucky we are.

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