Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ye Olde Basement Antique Shoppe

Antiquing requires patience, an imagination, and a compulsive need to hoard everything, regardless of its utility or condition.

A collection of gently and not-so-gently used treasures and trash spanning 20 years of togetherness and irrational compulsions.  Inquire Within.

My wife and I visited Ye Olde Basement Antique Shoppe this weekend, a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the upper floors of our home. When we closed the door to the basement from the inside and descended the dusty stairs, we entered a new reality, where old was new, and trash was (perceived) treasure. What memories will we find among the piles of…not sure what that pile is....

Our eyes slowly adjusted to the flood bulbs of the vintage track lighting, but that only added to the sense of nostalgia in this basement.  I am optimistic that we will leave with something today.  There is always hope.

"Look, honey. It’s a hurricane glass from your 1979 Senior Prom." The clouded glass is inscribed with the theme of the gala - Enchantment Under the Sea.  While holding the glass, we are transported back to those heady times of our youth, and the reckless abandon of immortality. The memories are intoxicating, much like the actual event itself. Keep it.  Could be valuable some day.

Here are some fine collectibles from Chez McDonalds, acquired during the first generation of the McRib menu addition. Sure, some pieces are missing so the Ogre’s mouth no longer moves, and Hercules’ sword is hopelessly lost in the bucket of unloved stuffed animals, but the vintage Taiwan plastic speaks to us. Keep them.  Kids might want to play with them some day.

Hidden beneath the timeless Holly Hobbie style quilts and juice stained dress up clothes are the real treasures – broken and obsolete electronics. The 10 watt boom box with dual cassette capability transports us back to long days in the park, reclining on a blanket together, dreaming about how life-affirming it would be to have kids. Hmmm. Keep it. Cassettes could make a comeback. What could this remote control be for? Perhaps that VCR I bought you on our first Christmas together. How romantic! No, not enough buttons. What if this remote powers the radio controlled car that must be down here somewhere? Better keep it, just in case.  The car is useless without the remote.  I am sure we'll find the car soon.

Do you remember this blazer? Look, I can still roll up the sleeves, just like Crockett and Tubbs. This will fit one of the kids soon, and throwing it away will lead to nothing but regret. A Halloween staple.  Keep it.

You might think these are nothing but old newspapers, but there is history nestled in the newsprint. At least there must be, or else why did we save them in the first place? Let’s save these, and we’ll go through them later.  Put them over by the empty shoe boxes that will become educational dioramas for one of the kid's school projects.

Speaking of school, this heavy book is chock full of memories from college.  It's my Introduction to Sociology textbook, Individuals and Groups.  The kids will be glad that we held on to this gem.  The important parts are already highlighted.  Think of the time they'll save studying this material now!

What’s that smell? The old cigar box from Uncle…are you sure it was from him? You could be mistaken. I think this was a white elephant gift from Christmas 2006. We will definitely need this again soon. Let’s hold on to it.  It has sentimental value.

Look out – a spider cricket!!! No worries, he’s been dead a long time. I’ll bet the kids would get a good scare from this one. We’ll keep him over here, with the other ones from last winter.

Yes, a trip to the basement is just like antiquing. We admire all the junk, touch a few items, and walk away empty handed. Everything in the basement is old, useless, but utterly priceless. Someday, the same will be said about us.

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