By Antoinette Rahn
When I think of the various elements and extensions of our shared community of collectors and those who appreciate antiques, I happily see a group of like-minded rebels.
Before you wonder if I’ve suddenly and unequivocally lost my mind, hear me out. I’m not saying
we’re the epitome of “Rebel Without a Cause,” but more like rebel spirits with a cause for preserving what was, while celebrating nostalgia and the role it plays in our present and future. We are rebels who see beauty in patina and worn edges, and enjoy the balance that comes from being surrounded by artifacts that have stories to tell. In a society that seems to gravitate toward cookie-cutter landscapes of familiarity and too often finds comfort in the practice of buying new and discarding when done, “rebel spirits with a cause” seek to find ways to protect and reuse, while discovering new ways to enjoy old things.
For example, in the Readers’ Letters section of the Oct. 28, 2015 edition of Antique Trader, subscriber Beth Schultz shares the story of her vintage Minerva doll, which was a constant childhood companion. As is often the case with cherished companions of this sort, time and travel can wear a doll down. However, upon reading about Nurse Nancy’s Doll Hospital, in Antique Trader, Ms. Schultz sent her doll to Nurse Nancy for some tender loving care and repair. This letter definitely demonstrates how two “rebel spirits with a cause” gave a doll new life.
In this same edition of Trader, Fred Taylor (the Furniture Detective) offers sound advice for revitalizing a Depression Era library chair, and prolonging the life of “grandpa’s” six Sikes “T-back” chairs. And because being a “rebel spirit with a cause” is most appealing, actor Dick Van Dyke (who, by the way, turns 90 this December) is even aspiring to join the club. In an inspiring article, we learn about Mr. and Mrs. Van Dyke’s efforts to save the actor’s dilapidated childhood home, restore it, and turn it into the headquarters of a foundation that aims to provide scholarships for young performers.
Along those same lines, the Oct. 28 edition includes the story of the 108-year-old Ward boarding house in Claremore, Oklahoma. Once a flophouse, it served as the location for various businesses, including an antiques shop, over the years. Nearly 10 years ago, Janice Whittaker and her husband began renovating and rediscovering the original character of the Ward house. The building’s unique charm lent itself well to creating a new purpose for the site, Boarding House Books, which has become an enchanting Route 66 tourist destination.
So, before you think you may have lived your entire life without ever being rebellious, think again, and revel in your rebellion. We do.