Thursday, January 8, 2009

Life in the Land of Vintage...A Name is a Name is a Name

When I was growing up, one thing I noticed about my family in comparison to others was that almost all of our furniture and accessories had "Names". NO, REALLY! Everyone else I knew had "the couch in the family room" or "the chair in the hallway." Not us! We had, among others, the "Windsor Chairs," the "Queen Anne Tall Boy" and the "Kerr Sterling Vanity Set." If it wasn't named after someone, then it was referred to based on its construction..."The Walnut Pie Safe," the "Cherry Thread Chest," or the "Oak Dry Sink."

Occasionally, we also had (I hope I don't offend) a "Dammed (Something)," which was a moniker reserved for pieces that quickly fell out of favor...A couple of these were pieces that were either damaged during acquisition or they were found to be "codgered," (more about that another day). Most frequently it was something that my parents disagreed on...Mom loved it...Dad hated was destined to be "dammed" until Mom sold it for a tidy profit, then it was "cannonized" (Saint Oakchest of Three Drawer) and foreverafter fondly remembered by its correct furniture name.

It really wasn't such a big deal sharing the same living space with furniture whose names sound far more "pedigreed" than your own, but you must realize how awkward it was to tell your 12 or 13 year old friend, "please don't sit on the Duncan Phyfe (couch)." Talk about strange looks. I tried to explain style and design to a couple of them, only to receive that "I've gone somewhere else" vacant stare or some really dramatic eye-rolling. I finally just settled on, "It's reserved for our Minister or for Insurance Agents." One does what one must to survive the intricacies of friendship during early puberty.

It's funny now, but Mom would get mad at one of us kids for some indiscretion. In her fit of pique she would stammer through not only our dogs names, several horses & the cat before finally choking out the offenders name, but, I swear, there were a couple of occasions I even heard her throw in some furniture names as well...i.e., "Sissy! Sassy! Snoopy! Staffany! Tiffany! TERRI!!! Get over here!" I believe it's an obscure form of turrets syndrome and you get it from your kids, I am told.

We even had some pieces that had three couldn't simply be called a "Tiffany" lamp, it was the "Louis Comfort Tiffany" lamp. OH, Brother! I admit, all this always felt a little pretentious to me, but in reality, even back then, they were teaching me about their part-time business and full-time passion...collecting glorious pieces of history, elements of meticulous craftsmanship and creations of enduring value...ANTIQUES