Sign of the Times

Pictures are worth a thousand words. But that never kept me from putting down thoughts…..

We snapped this photo a few days short of the bulldozer showing up, demolishing yet another New England antique store from the face of the earth. Many years, a decade in fact, before we considered living in New England, this antique store was one of my favorites to visit whenever we traveled to the area. See the TGIF awning reflected in its window? That was never part of the landscape when I first visited many years ago.

Back then, it was surrounded by new-growth forest, the old-growth wiped out a couple centuries ago by sheep farmers who left behind miles of stone walls connecting one end of New England to the other. This particular antique store was a treasure-hunter’s dream. One of my friends, the wife of a business associate of my husband, described it as “good as a pot at the end of a rainbow”. I assumed she meant pot of “gold”.

She found a beautiful antique cameo brooch, “for a steal”. Just because she snatched it out from under my fingers a fraction of a second before I managed to pick it up is no reason for me to think she has “my” piece of jewelry.

On another trip, I walked in the door just as they were unloading a huge collection of Phoenix/Consolidated art glass. I’ve never played the lottery, but I imagine the feeling was close to that of what it is like to win.

I shipped a few pieces back to our home in Utah. And later to California. Then, a few years later, back to New England, unpacking and putting them away in our home located only a few miles from where I’d originally purchased them – the very same antique store that hung this sign-of-death in its window last summer. For those who think that quaint, picturesque antique stores are still part of the New England tourism experience, I’m just passing along the word – Ebay.

We traveled the back roads of Vermont this summer in search of raw sheep, goat and cow cheese. They still have their share of old-fashioned antique stores, but the pricing reflects paying a premium for the experience. Either the word hasn’t gotten out that Ebay has tumbled prices by about 70%, or those who are still trying to sell antiques through physical storefronts are in denial, hoping Ebay will go away. In the meantime, here in southern New Hampshire, the bulldozers just keep rolling taking the simpler life and the forests with them.

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot …. (Big Yellow Taxi)


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