In a book I was reading yesterday, one of the characters was shopping for furniture. She headed to antique and vintage stores to find what she wanted. Her comment, “I like furniture that has a story to tell”, hit home for me. I agree with this statement, but not just in furniture.
I have always loved old furniture, old porcelain pieces, old trunks and old people with great stories to tell. I find comfort in knowing they have had lives and hold history of people and places that I will never know or see. Their histories contain stories of happy times and sad, of celebration and tragedy, of great adventures and of unwanted ones. They are interesting. They have a story to tell.
I am not comfortable with small talk and strangers at social events, never have been. Oh, I can work a room and speak about nothing with the best of you. But, this is not my place of comfort. I have had to learn this skill since I have run my own retail business and, prior to that, traveled with my husband meeting new people every day. My place of comfort is sitting quietly, observing and listening. Sometimes, I am fortunate to be able to strike up a conversation with someone with stories to tell.
I would not be comfortable living in a home full of new furniture straight from the showroom floor. I love beautiful hand-carved furniture and hand-painted porcelain. I love colorful quilts and hand-dyed and hand-woven textiles. I love hand-thrown and free form pottery. I love handcrafted jewelry. I love those items that have been touched by the artists who envisioned them. Artists have their own language and tell their stories by the work they share.
I have loved sitting with old people and hearing their stories. The old people in my life have been treasures waiting to be admired. Often, just one question will open up the most amazing insight into their history. Stories that without their speaking them to me, would never be known to anyone but themselves. How special to be the one who hears the stories.
I am saddened that we live in a throw-away world that seems to be too busy for stories. Too busy to even know there are stories. We text or email instead of talk, we stay inside on our devices instead of going out and seeing what real stories we may encounter. We get rid of beautiful items that have an interesting history so that we can buy bright and shiny new things that we will probably replace again in a year or so.
I know, I know. I am becoming that old person, becoming spry and a little cranky!! I am just hoping to be the person who will be found by others to have interesting stories to tell. I hope life continues to be an adventure of discoveries. Discoveries of the great stories extrapolated from an old well-traveled trunk, from the intricate stitches in an old quilt, from a lovely pottery cup while drinking my coffee and sitting in a beautiful hand-carved chair with a needlepoint cushion. I wish to live my life knowing the stories whether they leave me laughing or crying. In an increasingly gadget-filled world, I hope we all find time for the stories. Sometimes, we must go looking for them.