Monday, February 17, 2014

Conversation in an Antique Shop

Back here  I shared the story of this children's ironing board which resides in my laundry room.  Despite the fact that I'm all grown up, these little vintage toys tug at my heartstrings.
You may or may not understand this attraction.  If you don't, you may want to mosey on out of here as continuing to read may make you wonder about me.  :D
Okay, now that you've been duly warned...
on with the story.
When my mom was still alive she would sometimes give me a monetary gift with a note included saying it was to be used for something I would enjoy (i.e:  not to buy groceries or pay bills).
Not one to disappoint my mom, this little gem was calling   screaming my name from the antique store shelf recently:

 Thinking I couldn't possible justify the price I remembered a monetary gift I'd received for Christmas.  Hmmm, what would mom say?  

As long as I'm on the subject of vintage toy love...

I've had these child sized clothespins for a long time.
The laundry tub in the first photo above was way too big for this little vignette.
When we were on our recent getaway, we stopped into the local antique mall where I was hunting for one thing...
a galvanized child's size laundry tub.
I searched carefully through every booth with no luck.
Truthfully I didn't even know if such a thing existed.
As I was about to leave one of the sales ladies asked me if I found what I was looking for.  After telling her what it was, she said she had one in her booth.  A conversation ensued.
She told me her parents had sold antiques together after their retirement.  Her mother's special interest was children's  items.
She shared with me that her mother had died unexpectedly last year.
When I told her about my interest in children's kitchen and laundry toys, she said she knew she had a box at home of  children's kitchen items that had been her mom's.
She offered to call me if she could locate them and I could come in before the shop opened the next morning to see if I was interested in any of them.  She told me she would be happy to know that they were going to a good home.

The next morning when I met her at the shop, she was on the phone for a while.  After hanging up she apologized and said that her dad had just fallen.  Since he lives in another state she was trying to assess what to do.  As the middle child she said the decisions seemed to fall to her.  As a fellow middle child, my ears perked up to this.  She went on to explain that he has been falling a lot recently, he has been lost without her mother,  though a very capable man he was nearly useless in the kitchen she said.  We laughed about how with that generation it was so common for men to stay out of the kitchen and laundry room.  
Though we needed to get on the road soon, I knew she could use a listening ear.

As she talked I felt her pain.
Emotions still very raw with the loss of her mother and now she said she felt it was probably time for her to find an assisted living home for her father to move into.
These decisions are never easy.
My heart went out to her as I was reminded of going through a similar scenario with my mom.
As we talked she showed me her mom's vintage kitchen toys.
She said she'd like to offer me a better price on anything I was interested in.  Along the way she told me bits and pieces of the history of some of these treasures.  
A little board to roll cookies on and an angel food cake pan for the little stove remind me of my mom's love for baking cookies and her special angel food cake dessert that we all loved.  They also remind me of the antique store owner's mother.  A lady I never met but feel that I would have enjoyed knowing had our paths ever crossed.
I'm also reminded of two middle child daughters doing their best to support and love their parents til the end of their days.


  1. As an only daughter (child) I understand very well. These items are adorable. I especially love the stove, it looks like it has a smiling face. xo

  2. Everything is all so cute and nice that you got to add to your collection.
    I really like the washing machine.
    It was nice you took the time to listen. She probably felt better after talking to you.

  3. Gee, I thought I understood very well as the eldest and in-state daughter. It is never easy. Not ever. It was a blessing for her to have your ear. She could not have done better. What sweet treasures you now have and in such a special way.

  4. I had to go look in my toy room to make sure my stove and washer were still there. Here's my stove: I can't find a blog post about my washer, but trust me, it's exactly like yours!

  5. The one thing I am looking for is a child's ironing board. I have my iron, but no board. And that adorable, adorable washer....ok, I am a bit jealous....but happy for you!!

  6. As the oldest daughter, I too understand the thought processes behind this post. Actually, it encourages me to read about others like yourself and your new friend, dealing with it. I look at it as my privilege of giving back to one who has given me so much. I am sure we all do that, although as with all things in life, there are frustrations involved.

    As for your vintage finds, they always intrigue me. I smiled by your first sentences offering us warnings. I like all that you shared and treasure my own memories of some of them. You know how to create vignettes with them that look so good! Thanks for sharing your finds.

  7. How kind of you, Kim. We were at that point last summer, just before my dad died. My mom is perking along well now but she is ever-mindful of the process of finding care when she might need it. I am a middle child, too. My two brothers live in our hometown, though. I'm so grateful for their compassion and loyalty toward my mama. Your new treasures are exactly that. I ordered a few new things for our Wendy house. I am starting to get the summer itch to make it all homey! Take care, friend.

  8. Firstly, Kim, your post is quite poignant and loving...full of heart and soul. You were a companion for this woman, if even for a brief moment, when she needed it. And isn't that what our main purpose in life be of service when possible, and willing to share our hearts.

    Your children's toy finds are wonderful, and hold nostalgic remembrances of fond days with my mother. I still have my mother's roll top desk from 1927. She received it for her 5th birthday, and every one of her mother's grandchildren played at that desk, including me. Then my own son played at it when my mother passed it on to him.

    Thank you for sharing the story and these wonderful photos.


  9. What a blessing you were to that woman. You were there at just the right time for her. Thank you for sharing this story of two women who love family and children's toys.

  10. Oh, what sweet little toy pieces! All of them!! I especially love your tiny washing machine! I have an iron that is similar and would love to find a board. And your kind heart was just the blessing that the shop owner needed at that moment.

  11. I loved your post, Kim, and your vintage finds. I was a middle child, too, but both my brothers had passed away before my dad, so the job of seeing to him fell on me. It is not easy when parents reach the latter years of their lives because they were always in your life and then one day they are not and it's tough, I know. And it's hard having to give away their possessions. You were a blessing to the shop owner at a time when she needed someone to listen and I'm sure it was a comfort to her to know her mother's things will be loved.

  12. You wrote such a poignant story Kim and I know just lending an ear to that lady meant so much to her as she struggled with how to help her dad. We children do what we can when our parents age or become ill, but it's very hard in so many ways. For me it was the ocean dividing us which I had to keeping crossing…….I still miss them just as much as the days I lost them forever!

    The toys are so adorable…… amazing collection from a time before technology when children were allowed to be children in far better ways than what today seems to offer! Don't you agree?

    Hugs - Mary

  13. How very sweet and poignant a story, and I have a feeling your listening ear was more attuned to the story than most. And such precious small things, with the shape and colours of age upon them---just the contours and the workmanship bespeak "back in my day," when little work items were much in demand for little girls to play with, and were so taken for granted as proper toys that we all had some form of kitchen or laundry or schoolroom, even if we made all the parts ourselves. (all this preceding even the Easy Bake Oven, for me). In a cloche on my kitchen pass-through are the fridge, stove and sink---tiny white plastic ones, from my first dollhouse.

    I love your charming vignettes---all that laundry scene needs is a tee-ninecy Coke bottle with a tiny sprinkler spout.

    I so enjoyed this, and will be joining your group to delve more into your wonderful archives.


  14. Most special...your collection of child-sized antiques. And even more special...your connection with the shop owner. You were just what she needed that day...a listening ear.


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