Guest Post: Jessie Heninger
Please join me in welcoming the lovely, incomparable Jessie Heninger! This is her first guest blog. She is a thrifter extraordinaire! Enjoy this post! You can learn more about Jessie’s fancy musings at her blog Confessions of a Housewife.
Thrifting is a hug topic for me, one where I could go on and on. It covers so many different things and so many different parts of my life. Where do I even start?
I love old things. My Granny owned an antiques store all while I was growing up. I loved that place. My papa converted the barns into shops and they had this smell of potpourri and magic all mixed up. You walked into the shop and it was like walking through a portal to the olden days. Every turn, every corner had something else to look at. Old fashioned skates in the winter, tiny lanterns and great big wooden rope beds with feather ticks.
Not only did I spend my time in the shop but I went with my mom, aunts and Grammy all over the country side to other antique shops collecting inventory. They are smart ladies and got me, my sisters, and cousins all started with a small collection when we were little to give us something to “hunt” for while we were out. My first collection was a button collection (which I’m still using today in my sewing but, that’s another story for another day). When my baby sister was three or four she was out with my mom and saw a baby carriage made out of plastic. She looked at my mom disgustedly and said in her squeaky little voice “that’s not an antique! It’s made out of plastic for goodness sakes.” that shows you how much time we spent around antiques. Grammy’s shop was nice, high end early american primitives. The kind of things I won’t be able to afford ever. However, spending time in that shop around those things with so much history in such a small community (the antiquing world is a world onto itself) set me up for what I love now.
Fast forward a few years (no, I’m not going tell you how many) and I’ve got a house and family of my own. It’s pretty clear when you walk into my domicile that I’m a vintage girl. I don’t have the old old pieces that my grammy had I’m more into the 1940s and 50s look (which she finds hilarious “Oh my, I had that exact set when we got married” she’ll say) but I love the nostalgia and the prices. If you know where to hunt then you can get some good deals. I get such a kick out of using (antiques like to be used) old things. What stories would they tell if they could speak? I imagine a young house-wife, not so unlike myself, wearing a circle skirt and apron struggling to get dinner on the table and still steal a few minutes to read the latest novel. When I use my old things I feel so good. They’ve got better style, were made with better craftsmanship, get people talking, and remind me of a time when people were better at inviting others into their homes. I feel like I’m keeping things out of the land fills (toy story still haunts me) and aiding a local business instead of some giant “box store.”
Using my vintage things keeps me connected to all the women who have gone before me. All those brave ladies who struggled with discovering their identities while they were raising children of their own. It keeps me connected with my own mother, aunts, and sisters. We all love the “junking” as we call it. My best friend (thankfully) is also a huge antiquster (is that sort of like a way nicer more vintage version of the hipster?) I can’t begin to explain to you the hours I’ve spent with my friend and sisters while we were on the hunt. The experiences of scary bathrooms and latte breaks and pee-your-pants-laughing-moments we share during these excursions. And, when I’m done with such a glorious trip I have really unique keepsakes to remind me of those times. My history is now added to all the other histories of my “occupied Japan” coffee pot and teal blue serving dishes. All my good memories and hard moves, all those cups of tea drank out of my vintage tea cup during my silent times spent with God, and drank with heart broken friends, all get tied up in the things that to me make my house a home. All those moments added to the moments of the women who owned them before me adding to the magic.
This is an addendum lest you think that my house is all roses and clean floors and dusted shelves. I NEVER dust (well, I dusted before I took these photos but I almost never dust). Because I have a small house and small children battling clutter is a never ending war. Sometimes the old stuff helps for example the old suitcases house extra gaming controls and games. And, I try to keep my room clean and free of toys, an oasis if you will, but even then it gets cluttered with my latest and greatest sewing projects. Remember, your house has to be lived in to be a home, that’s part of the charm.