The collecting bug bites early

“Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” What do you think of this Jesuit motto? Is it true?

I don’t have to go any further than my dining room to see where my childhood and present intersect.

I got my first piece of furniture–a china cabinet–when I was only three years old. My father built it from knotty pine and scraps of Formica counter top. I distinctly remember wanting to be tall enough to see what was on the top shelf. (Now it barely reaches up to my elbows!)

chinacabinet

My early American china cabinet.

The cabinet doors and sides are painted in fanciful Pennsylvania Dutch designs.

paintedbird

Fantasy bird on an improbable plant. I like the aqua, chartreuse and red all together.

The sides have matching potted heart flowers. One has the year and the other has my first name.

1960flower

My original dishes were 1960’s Childcraft spun aluminum. They’re all long gone. I bought vintage glass dishes when my daughter was small. Now my granddaughter plays tea party with them and is the same age I was when the china cabinet was new.

tinydishes

Miniature Hazel Atlas Moderntone Platonite tea set and Akro Agate pieces.

I still have my very first antique: a tiny copper tea kettle. My father bought it for me when I was five.

teakettle

My kettle got lots of play action. Dad smoothed out countless dents and resoldered the handle for the last time when my own daughter was small.

He’d taken me along on one of his many trips to Mrs. Everingham’s antique shop. (The place was crammed top to bottom with a jumble of amazing stuff. I remember it was dark inside because even the windows were lined with shelves.) I was over the moon with excitement when I found the little kettle and cried when I was told “No!” I wanted it in the worst way!

I don’t remember what Dad and Mrs. Everingham said exactly, but lots of negotiating followed. Dad paid $5. That doesn’t sound like much, but it would be a whopping $39 today!

So the seeds were planted, the bug had bitten, and now my house is filled with vintage goodies.

How about you? Where do your childhood and present meet?