Why are you Vintage?
On of my favorite questions is "Why this? Why are you vintage"
To me that is like me asking why you are human... I don't mean that in a nasty way, I mean it in the sense that it is a really difficult question for me to answer because it is just me being me. I never tried to be "vintage".
From as far back as I can remember I have been drawn to the past. Psychics have expressed that I am an old soul (without my guiding them or dressing the way I do today which might, give it all away). I remember when I was very young, so young that I was still getting an allowance from my Mum, and I used to save my money and then when I felt I might have enough, I would walk... not to the corner store like most children do, no, I would walk to an antique shop that was quite a ways away. It was probably even farther than I was really allowed to stray from home, but I was and still am a very fast walker. I was most likely not missed as I could cover some ground rather quickly.
The first time, when I found the store, I was daydreaming. I was aimlessly walking while making up poetry in my mind and had kind of lost track of where I was. I did not realize how far I had walked until I had to return home. This alone may have turned most off of returning to the shop but I was drawn to the musty smell, the dark cavernous room filled with piles upon piles of things that were once owned by someone who had loved and cared for them, and were now discarded. I felt a sense of nostalgia (without really being aware of what that was exactly at the time) but I wanted to rescue the items that I felt had been loved by someone and were now left to be forgotten. I was an only child and now that I am older I feel that maybe I felt a connection because I longed for someone to care for or maybe I felt that I was often forgotten.
So, I had to return after that first time. I had saved a little of my allowance not having any idea at all what I might be able to rescue or how I would get such an item home. These things did not come into my mind at all, in fact, I just knew in my heart that I would find something to rescue.
When I arrived at the shop, I did not walk around again, I knew I had only a little time and even less money so I, being young, did not have a clue as to what things were worth when it came to purchasing something. I only knew what a chocolate bar cost and I honestly did not like chocolate and candy all that much. I walked up to the counter to find a tall older man sitting behind it. He stood up and leaned over the counter to look down at me. "Well, hello again" he said. "What brings you back little one?". I was not too shy to express that I was here to rescue something. "Rescue?" he said. I proceeded to explain that I was sure that the things in this place had once been loved by families and that I wanted to love them again. I then proceeded to reach into my pocket and pulled out a few handfuls of change and unrolled by fingers carefully each time to release them onto the counter as I hated the loud sound of them hitting the glass. (I still don't care for glass tables for this same reason).
After all the change had been gathered from my pockets and placed onto the glass topped display, I quickly asked what I could have for this much. I had no idea how much that was in relation to anything actually but I trusted that this man would be honest... children have no fear and are naturally trusting. It is only by learning that they become scared. At this time in my life, I was still very innocent. I waited patiently for his reply. I remember him gazing down at me and then looking at this pile of coins, what must have been, rather small pile.
I have often thought back on this time and realized that there is no way that I had enough money to buy anything at all and yet... "Well, lets see here" he said while he began counting the coins. He never counted out loud but he pulled each coin out from the pile to create a stack of like coins so I knew he was adding up the contents.
Once done his count, he looked at me and said, "Well, young lady, lets see what I might have here for you to "Rescue".
He looked through the glass display cabinet that he stood behind and slid open a door. I could see his hand now reaching into the case and wondered with great anticipation what it might land upon. His hand hovered over something long and slender and smooth. Yes, this was it! He picked it up and handed it over to me. "There's not a lot I have hear that will be small enough for you to carry home with you but this is quite a special piece. I am sure that this was a very personal piece to someone at one time. Many quiet hours would have been spent sitting at a desk with this in hand helping someone to scratch out letters to a friend too far away to visit."
My mind was racing! "It's a pen?" I asked? "That's right." he said "It's a Quill Pen." he said. "You would need to dip it into an ink well and then use that pen to carry the ink over to the paper and write for a small time and then re--dip it again and continue in that way until the letter was complete." he explained.
I was so excited! I did not have any ink of course but that was not the point. The point was that I was rescuing a very precious item and one I was even familiar with already in my life. I wrote many letters to my father whom I did not live with and I knew how important those letters were to both of us. I was beyond thrilled! I thanked the man and very carefully held tight to my new pen and began my journey home.
Over the next year or two I saved my money each allowance and when I could no longer stand the suspense I walked back to the antique shop. Each time I would place my pile of money on the counter and my friend, Walter, would reach into the cabinet and give me a new treasure to rescue. I had quite a grand quill pen collection and even had glass ink wells to go along with them. I remember I even wrote a letter or two to my Dad using the ink and pen technique. It was messy at first but in the end I got rather good at it and I can still remember the feel and sound of the pen tip scraping its way across the paper. To this day I still love the act of actually writing letters by hand. The feel of stationary and the smell of paper are childhood memories for me. Unfortunately being a child I was not permitted to choose what I kept and what was given away when we had to move to new cities and homes so somewhere along the way, my beautiful pen collection was lost, to be rescued by someone else.
To this day when I walk to work, I am immediately brought back to my childhood by walking anywhere, especially when I am alone. I can remove myself from my adult self and for those brief moments while my feet are hitting the pavement and the sun is shining down on my shoulders, I loose myself in days gone by. Not just my days gone by, but I often find myself thinking of all the women that walked on this part of the earth over all the years. Traveling to and fro for family visits or gathering groceries or even to mail letters to loved ones. I still love to write and am not sure if the time Walter spent with me over the years, sharing beautiful quill pens created a deep seated love for the art of it or if it is just a part of me. Either way, I think he was incredibly generous, as mentioned previously, I am sure that my pile of coins was nowhere near enough money for exchange of the items he gave to me... but my passion for the rescue, was.
I have always been this way... drawn to the past. It is not an easy question for me to answer when I am asked "Why Vintage?" but maybe through some of my stories, more will come through to explain it without trying to answer this question with a simple answer.
This story reminds me of one of my favorite stories ever written. Alice in Wonderland. When one begins to look back on their life, often times there are a lot of similarities that fall nicely into place. Things you have always liked seem to still be the things that show up for you now too... if you keep your heart and eyes open and recognize them.
"Why is a Raven like a writing desk?" asked the Mad Hatter