Finding Pieces of History in the Present

Emerson Campbell

Staff Writer

In the new age, many teenagers often wonder what is the point of going antique shopping? “Isn’t it just all old weird stuff?”, my thirteen year old cousin scoffed, when I asked if she wanted to tag along with me to an antique shop. I would agree, it does have old, weird trinkets that most people would not think to buy. But, it also houses thousands of pieces of history. Whether it’s jewelry from the 1950s or a coin from 300 B.C., each item has a memory of another place in time. That is the beauty of the shops; they hold a spot for all people, no matter their age or background.

Just recently, I accompanied my brother to a nearby antique store, in search of rings for myself. Upon entering, I immediately noticed there were shelves upon shelves of everything imaginable. Rings, furniture, jackets, decorations, books, and many other items. My brother and I immediately split up, in search of very different things. He made his way to the ancient book section, while I went to the jewelry case.

A shopper sifts through old postcards from many years ago. Photographed by Emerson Campbell.

While I made my rounds, I spotted an older couple there, looking together at some aged teacups. “Hmm, do you think it would fit in with our China?” The older woman asked her husband. He shrugged and picked up an old book that was tearing apart at the seams. Their quiet interaction made me realize just how diverse the kinds of people you find in antique shops are.  Four different people; one seventeen year old, one twenty-two year old, and two who are, presumably, over the age of seventy, all flocked to the same old shop. None of what we were pursuing were similar, and that’s the beauty of it. 

Yes, there are weird cherubs, books that are ripping at the seams, stained tea cups, and old jewelry. But it’s all in how you picture it. I see books that were written hundreds of years ago that landed in a small town close to you. Jewelry that your great-grandmother cherished for years before giving it up to her grandchildren. Clothes that were loved for years and now will become someone else’s story. So yes, outlandish and unconventional things are in antique stores, but I think that is the beauty of it.

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