Ask any retail antique dealer and they will tell you that more than half of the customers that walk through their doors never really come in to buy anything. Most antique shops are part retail and part museum, with people often popping in to browse after church or because they are early picking up their kid from some activity and have nothing better to do. Of course the dealers’ hope is that the “lookers” will see something that calls to them and become “buyers”. Inevitably the unsuspecting browser often sees something that jogs a distant memory. For me, the ultimate find would be a pair of vintage Campbell’s soup spoons c.1968. I remember our years spent on my Grandparents’ farm while my Father was in Vietnam. Granny and I would remove the labels off each can of soup we ate for months, carefully saving them until the day finally came when my brother and I, stuffed full of sodium laden broth, could mail them in. In exchange, we would receive 2 stainless steel soup spoons, one with a little boy on the handle top, the other a girl. After they finally arrived, each time we had soup, Granny would have to pull out those spoons and we would joyfully slurp it with our little Campbells buddies smiling back at us atop our utensils.
We dealers often catch this same all too familiar sense of joy on the faces of our customers, the very ones that never intended to buy anything. Their eyes will widen and they will gingerly pick up an item and carefully examine it. Next they will check the price, or turn it over to ensure it is how they remembered it. Whether it is a sugar bowl just like sweet Aunt Mary’s, or maybe a watch similar to the one their recently departed Father used to wear in his glory days, they will remember a time gone by that brought them joy. If the shop owner is lucky, they will feel compelled to purchase that item, hoping to relive those memories each time they see it or use it. Such is the value of antiques and collectibles, which stand the test of time and often become a memory jogging, time worn treasure for the purchaser.
Granny sold the farm after Grandpa become too ill to keep it up and they moved into a small house closer to area medical facilities. As a college student, I would often visit them and seek out my spoon. When Grandpa passed away, Granny moved to an apartment in her old hometown, spending her last years enveloped in pleasant memories there of times gone by. With her memory failing, she could never tell me what happened to those spoons. I do hope that somewhere some child is slurping a bowl of soup, smiling at that cheerful boy or girl perched atop the handle, the very ones that for so many years gave my brother and I such joy. Perhaps as they grow-up in this troubled world, they will relive fond memories of simpler times when a bowl of soup could cure just about any woe.
You will love the antiques you can find at Europa Imports. It is located on 13439 Bandera Road, 78023 - outside of loop 1604. It is not too far from Old Town Helotes. Visit us at https://www.europaimportsinc.com