Many of you may remember when you were little, going to your local country store. A fascinating place with oak and glass cabinets full of penny candies and a beautiful, shiny cash register that chimed with a bell when opened. That's one of my special memories growing up and I'd like to share just a short story with you.
When my brother and I were little our parents had good friends that they used to play pinochle with on Sunday nights. One week at our house, the next at their friend's house in Mountainville, N.Y. which is where I was born. I loved going to their friend's house because that would mean driving past Ketchum's Store, a typical country store in the country. If we were very, very good our parents might stop at Ketchum's and let us pick out a candy. I remember climbing those huge stone steps up to the scrolled screen door that would jingle a hanging bell to let Mr. Ketchum know you were there. What fun to look at all the fancy advertising with its brilliant colors, but the best part was looking at the wide array of penny candies, trying to decide which one was best. Was it the gold foiled chocolate coins or maybe the waxed candies with the juice inside. Of course it would be great fun to get those wax lips and laugh at each other too. Whatever our choice at the time it was a huge treat for us. I have fond memories of those times and our visits to Ketchum's Store, and that is where the story began of the treasure at Stormville.
Pam, Janet and I were walking down our first row of antiques when we spotted an antiques dealer with some amazing country store pieces. One was a spectacular coffee bin made of oak with wavy glass panels that pivoted, another was a beautiful brass cash register with ornate filigrees embossed into it and what caught my eye first was a long coveted Clarks Spool Cabinet. Not just a cabinet, a desktop cabinet. While I was looking at (drooling over) the Clarks Cabinet, Pam and Janet were playing with two of those old cast iron embossing machines to see what they would print out. First was one that had the name of a cemetery which we laughed at, and secondly was..... you guessed it.... Ketchum's Store, Mountainville, N.Y.! You can only imagine how it felt to see that name and all that was associated with it, for me at least. The dealer heard us talking and told me that everything that he had there was right out of Ketchum's Store, that he had bought out the estate. Okay.. now it's all magic to me!
Now the quandary. Do I walk away always regretting that one opportunity to connect with my past and save hundreds of dollars, or do I dive in and grab something so precious that I will never see again? Guessed again, did you? I did it! I bought the Clark's Spool Cabinet! Of course I may not have and almost didn't, but Pam and Janet made me do it! ;o)
Here is a picture of the cabinet 'before' in the back of my van, (thank goodness for vans) all dusty, dirty and the leather surface is dried and lifting. Still gorgeous though don't you think?
Ready for the finale'? Here it is in my studio after I got it all cleaned up, repaired and a good coat of butcher's wax applied:
I put the old ink bottle and a few vintage boxes in it as well as my Great Aunt's nib pen. I think it looks just gorgeous. It will be a treasured piece for me and I hope my daughter someday too. A little piece of my history from the place where I was born.
P.S. Oh.... I forgot to mention.... there's MORE!