There was a time when we were going to start our own antique store.
We had a giant storage space chocked full of great choice unusual furniture items, a vast array of collectible small pieces, and what perhaps could have been valued at several thousand dollars in value.
But after collecting over the years, we observed that everyone and their uncle were opening antique stores or renting space in consignment malls, so we gave up even before we started.
As a result, we had what has gone down in history as the garage sale with the best deals ever. We hauled everything home and spread it out in the front and back yard, with a mindset just to get rid of it. That we did, at prices put at a great loss on everything. I remember people leaving with arms full of old comics mumbling about the E-Bay. My rather extensive collection of old cameras – including a fully operational Speed Graflex (those old cameras you see being used by press actors in '40s movies) – evaporated, as did a multitude of collectible toys, Sally's massive tin collection, and all the rest of our dreams of a shop.
Today, I look back and realize that we practically gave away what some would consider a fortune in old stuff. I regret some of it – particularly the cameras and the toys – but that's history.
In the wake of our historic sale, it took years for us to ever enter another antique store, feeling that the air had gone out of that balloon.
However, in recent years we have again begun to wander the musty aisles of junk shops and the narrow rows of better antique stores. But I was reluctant to start another collection, and just kind of looked at things with a rather passive interest.
Of late, though, the antique spirit has returned. It came in the form of a large French poster of Venice and a box of many drawers.
Throughout all of my antique wanderings, I have searched for the perfect old wooden wall telephone. Every time I found a candidate for a purchase it was either priced beyond the moon, or in bad shape.
But a month ago I found it! Sitting on the floor with its little consignment seller tag dangling from the crank, it took my attention for a long time. I finally put it aside and continued my meanderings through the shop, but I came back to the phone again.
I asked the clerk to set it up on a table so I could examine it, and I read again the price on the tag. It was worth every cent, being in top shape with all the Bakelite on the handset and speaker tube unbroken, and the wood still displaying its unmarked, golden oak patina.
I could find no problems with it, as hard as I looked.
Willing to pay the full price asked, I made an offer that the clerk quickly phoned into the seller. He accepted, and the phone is mine, here on the wall next to my desk, standing like a silent centurion of a million memories I will never discover.
To me, it was a great find, and I am happy, happy, happy.
Obviously, it doesn't take much for me to feel so.