Monday, December 1, 2008

The Aura of Old Stuff

James Lileks explains his feelings about a favorite stop.

The antique store always hits me on three or four levels – the archivist’s raw naked LUST for more scannable magazines, the horror at the crap some people found lovely, the odd aching sadness for the class of Grandmas now passing from the earth, leaving behind millions of items that filled their homes and idle moments – Mantovani records, paint-by-number kits, felt craft projects with googly-eyes, garish ceramic salt-and-pepper kits, Little Golden Books read with love to sleepy kids, curlers, Durkee spice cans, statues of cats with Modigliani necks and stylized eyes. All those things from the 50s through the 70s wash up here in the basement of the antique store, rearranged with strangers. That mood makes these trips difficult; you’re overwhelmed by the weight of all the ordinary lives that arced and declined just in your own neighborhood, just in the last 40 years.

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