This Old Thing

For antique buffs, the past is sacred. They bypass brand-new merchandise. Instead, their eyes light up when encountering objects covered with dust, rust and mildew. “This old thing” comprises a compliment, not a deprecation.

Me? I don’t intentionally collect antiques. It just sort of happens.

Psst. Don’t tell anyone, but I own a VCR. And boom boxes with cassette tape players. I even own a turntable. Our ’70s vinyl records sound scratchy — and the singers somewhat constipated when we forget to flip the speed from 33 rpm to 45 — but the low technology still works, and the music’s awesome. Why relegate these to a garage sale so a stranger can buy them for a quarter, have them appraised a decade later, and sell them for $500?

Such a prospect also inspires me to inventory my kitchen utensils. No doubt, some will decorate a trendy person’s walls.

Think about it: Lunchables packages and Pringles® canisters we toss into recycling bins will someday fetch exorbitant prices. A coffee table may display your Crock-Pot® or the toaster that shoots users on sight. Why? To give a living room “that certain ambiance.”

Other decorators might prefer fan-shaped groupings of power tools or venerable weed whackers. Such future interior design is not unthinkable. Current homeowners display scythes, wagon wheels and horse collars over their fireplaces. Perhaps their descendants will hang milking machines from lighting fixtures to capture a “simpler time.”

For the ultimate feng shui, they will find an honored place for an ancient riding lawn mower.

So, hold onto those valuable future antiques. My heart breaks, remembering a certain yellow polyester dress. My babies applied numerous bodily fluids to its sunshiny folds. As children, they rubbed green Jell-O, snotty noses and Happy Meals (with extra ketchup) into it. Still, the dress survived. I finally dispatched it to The Salvation Army. Like a too-cheerful relative who calls at 6 a.m., it probably will live forever. Some archaeologist will dig up that dress 2,000 years hence, value it at several million, and hang it in a climate-controlled environment far from Happy Meals.

I should have kept it. And a gazillion other valuable items.

Sure, these future antiques we amass make a mess. But consider the legacy we leave our children: pieces of history to cherish. Opportunities to relive the grandeur of the past.

To put everything into a garage sale for a quarter.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Which of your present possessions will someday wow an antique buff?

2 thoughts on “This Old Thing

  1. Denise Shumway

    I wonder if future generations will recognize books – with the ever increasing push to go paperless and read everything on a phone or Kindles, will they know what a bound text is? And the telephone with a cord – the thing that hung on the wall – kids today might not even know what that is.
    When my in-laws had an estate sale, it was amazing to see the junk sell – all those quarter purchases – but the good stuff didn’t. Items even I, the ultimate packrat, would have thrown away, were the first to sell.
    Thanks for sharing this – very enjoyable. I still play records too. They snap, crackle and pop – sort of like my knees these days!

    1. rachael

      LOL, Denise, I had to explain to my grandchildren what a phone booth was! They like to play with the curly cords on Grandma’s phone, too 🙂 Thanks goodness, they still read real books and don’t spend all their time on screens.

      Thanks for sharing, and enjoy those records–I still enjoy mine!


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