Friday, December 2, 2011

At the Seneca Center

Today was the last day of school before "dead week," when we're not supposed to assign any real work, and when I came home from collecting papers in two classes today, Rose suggested we go out to the local antique mall in the Seneca Center, the former glasshouse down along the river.   It's a small antique mall--I think it may have only three or four dealers, and we figured we could easily get in and out in less than an hour.

But Rosemary, as she says, has one of those faces where sometimes people will just want to talk her ear off, and the woman behind the counter at the mall today certainly wanted to talk.  We browsed for a while, and eventually, I ended up snooping through some boxes of old valentines and postcards, while Rosemary got treated to a remarkable series of stories.

First, Rose was looking at some Irish Beleek porcelain cups and saucers, and she was asked if she'd ever drunk tea from a Beleek cup.  When Rose said she hadn't this woman said "Well--it's really amazing--it's just like...drinking tea from...a really thin china cup."  --which very nearly made me laugh out loud.

Then we got to hear about the woman's husband, and a strange story where he cut himself shaving, then went out to eat at the Elks Club with the whole family, where he ate all the food off their plates, then came home and said he hadn't eaten anything, only to realize with some mortification that he'd only shaven half his face (and then, for unknown reasons, he went to the neighbor's house).

We also got to hear about how this woman used to buy glassware seconds at the Seneca factory, when it was still open, and how drinking from real glass was superior to most other things, which led to a discussion of what sorts of gin and vodka she liked to drink, and it kind of went downhill from there.

But while all this was going on, I did pick out two postcards to buy, one of the remarkable looking gentleman at the top of this post, presumably someone from West Virginia.  I got another of a family in their horse-buggy, dated 1914 on the back.  For some reason, I've become a bit intrigued with these old "Real Photo Post Cards" which were often probably printed up in a dozen copies or less: they are often family pictures, really, just printed up as postcards. You can often see the silvery glare of the emulsion, and they are truly ephemeral.  And once in a while the image is just arresting.  And I have to admit, I grew even a bit more intrigued by old photographs recently, when I followed a chain of blog-links to the 'My Daguerreotype Boyfriend' site, which I think one or two readers of this blog might find interesting enough to check out.

I also found this cool piece of vintage string art, a little picture frame around this old photo of a young woman on the phone.  The string is wound with incredible precision and intricacy; the whole thing is only about three inches across.  And, as the woman at the checkout told us, her mother used to make these.  Naturally.

Lucky for me, these things are small, and they don't take up much space in the physical world.  Three more items for the flat file.


--S. said...

I love old photos, and that's always what I gravitate toward in antique shops -- but I never buy because I just can't narrow my selections to just a few. Have you ever heard of Evelyn Cameron? We saw an exhibit of her work a while back, and I bought the exhibit catalog. She photographed Montana frontier life in the late 1800s, and those photos are just very compelling.

Beth said...

Love the link to the Dags. Here's my current favorite old photo online. He is my great-great-great-something and there's a long story on how I found his photo at work. Maybe I need to find myself in an antique store with you two so I can tell it to Rosemary and you can hunt for photo postcards.

Rosemary said...

S. and Beth, we figured you two would enjoy this post! I'll have to Google Evelyn Cameron and check out her work. And Beth, *that's* the kind of story I'd *love* to hear while browsing an antique shop.