Antiques impart lasting life lessons

Majestic, fluid, graceful and stunning are all words that are often used to describe art and antiques. These words certainly apply to figural bronzes, which require incredible precision and patience from the artist, as Donald-Brian Johnson explains in the cover story “Breathtaking Bronze,” of the Sept. 4, 2013 issue of Antique Trader.

Making its debut more than 4,000 years ago, the evolution of bronze from utilitarian metal into decorative and artistic material is well documented in centuries of architecture and sculpture.

I love to learn new things, and I believe that’s a fundamental truth shared by most who enjoy antiques and collectibles. That’s why I find the Ask the Experts column so fascinating, and why the latest column instantly brought back a childhood memory. Dr. George Marchelos, certified appraiser of the Asheford Institute of Antiques, identifies the piece in question as a telephone table from the 1930s or 1940s. I first saw a telephone table as a child, in the 1970s, when I’d spend a few hours every other Saturday reading to Pannucci-011fwan elderly couple that lived next door to my family. Both of them suffered from vision problems, but loved literature, and apparently loved it enough that they graciously accepted the offer to have the “inquisitive” neighbor child read for them. Clearly, they were going for sainthood. In any event, the best place in their living room to sit, where both people could hear clearly, was the seat of the telephone table.

I remember being very interested in this “unusual” piece of furniture, which was the subject of many stories these neighbors shared with me about calling the operator (Mrs. Carlson) to connect their calls. It was also from that seat that I led the three of us on the literary adventures of “Little Women,” “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and where I first discovered my affection for the writings of the Bronte sisters.

So many stories and lessons are preserved in the pieces of the past.

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