Fascination with Old Treasures

This week’s topic isn’t really knitting related. It’s more knitting tangential…

One of my favorite things to do is go to antique stores and look for interesting objects left behind by past generations. I love things that have a history, and had a meaning to someone else decades past. Some of the things that I have gotten from antique stores have turned from forgotten treasures to cherished pieces of my collection.

I have a ring that I love wearing. I saw it in a jewelry case at an antique store near my mom’s house and it called out to me. The center has a turquoise cabochon, and the silver around it has recesses in it that are filled with black. The profile on the ring is rather high, but it was a perfect fit for the middle finger on my right hand, and it’s one of the rings that I wear every day. I have no way to know when or how it was made, but I like to imagine that someone else loved this ring as much as I did.

Other treasures that have come into my life have come in the form of gifts. When I was a teenager, my mother, stepdad, and I lived in a house that was underneath redwood trees in Northern California. It was beautiful, but it was also damp all the time. We had an older neighbor that lived in an apartment below us. He was a nice, older gay guy. We used to watch his dog while he went away for the weekend, or just for the day – his dog didn’t much like being left alone in his apartment. He was a sweet dog, and I miss him.

One year, for my birthday, I got a card from this neighbor and a little present. The card had this beautiful picture of a flower on it ,and it was addressed to “the Flower of Fungus Alley.” which was the nickname he had given to me. I thought it was sweet. I opened the present and it was a fan that had belonged to his mother (pictured below). It was painted with pretty flowers. At the time I thought it was pretty, but I hadn’t yet found an appreciation for old treasures. I think I had it hidden away in boxes until I moved back to Maine a year and a half ago. Since then I have significantly expanded my love of all things old.

Another thing that I find interesting, if a bit melancholy, at antique stores are journals. I found a 5-year journal at an antique store, near where my mother lives, again, that was completely filled out. Someone spent every day of their life writing one line in a journal every day. She was a teenager – in high school – in 1920.

I find it melancholy because obviously this woman passed and this journal was sold to this antique store as part of an estate sale. Which meant that she didn’t have any family left to cherish the memories that she felt important to write down.

I took the journal home with me so that I might understand this person better. She wrote about people she knew, places she visited, which were sometimes the same places that I was visiting on my weekends. She wrote about the books she read, many of which have gone out of publication, and are available for free on Google Books. I haven’t yet read any of those, but I thought it was interesting to find them.

I told this story to my grandmother, and she bought me a one line a day journal. It has 5 years worth of journaling. I have managed to write in it every day since the first of the year. It seems to help me focus my thoughts. I used to try to write fiction every day, at least a few lines, but now I am more focused on coming up with one line to put into my journal.

I think it is a good writing exercise. I think about what I might want to remember years from now, when I am older. I think about what I might want my children and their children to know about my time in my late 20s, if they care to know.

This love of all things old carries over to my knitting. I often see vintage patterns and want to try to make them – especially old patterns for yoked colorwork sweaters – but I haven’t yet gotten the courage to try colorwork properly.

These things have been on my mind

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