Give Me Those Old Time Traditions (ms)

There are any number of ways to learn about our past; visiting  libraries, museums, even talking to someone who has lived in town forever will work. And then there are the antique stores.

My wife got me into one the other day. I don’t go to such stores very often and even fewer times with her but she was determined to make the stop so I followed along. It was a big store, a store that was a co-op but located in a giant old mill. The antique store only took up half the first floor but that was sufficient. I don’t know for sure but my guess is they made clothing in the place before all the jobs were shipped overseas. Someone was smart enough not to let the fine old building crumble.

Antiques, good antiques offered by reputable dealers who know the products they sell, can be invaluable pages in a history book. They offer a look at the way we were, what we thought important at one time and perhaps don’t any longer. Here was the real stuff culled from a time long ago and not so long ago.

World War II items were displayed in one case; helmets, military decorations, uniforms all laid out or standing tall. Here they were, the uniforms and paraphernalia I’ve seen only in the movies. Who wore them? I wondered. Who was decorated with those medals? Where had they been during their time in war? Likely no one knows for sure.

There were boxes of old magazines and a few newspapers. Open the pages of the not-so-new papers and read all about the events that went on in everyday life seventy some years ago. The magazines offered a look at the styles of their day. There was a poster for a fair to be held in August of 1930. Some of its attractions were bicycle, foot and running races.

Today engineers and architects use computers to do the math and the drawings involved in building complex projects. A few years back slide rules did the math (don’t ask me how) and drafting tools helped make the plans. There was a set of tools that did lettering like the headings you might find on a blueprint. Today we, I in doing this work, have access to dozens of fonts and changing them is as easy as a few key strokes. Imagine what it must have been like back then if you made a mistake halfway through!

There was a small wood box with perfect joints and a sliding lid intended for crayon storage by children in kindergarden. Waste not, want not was the order of the day.

So, I toured the store looking into every corner truthfully almost buying a microscope, an old microscope, just because it was so finely made that it was really a work of art. So far as I could tell, there wasn’t a bit of plastic used in the making of it.

So, the times changed and the world moved on and the items and events of prime interest back then became the antiques of today. They tell some interesting stories if one but takes the time to stop and listen.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on June 9, 2011.

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