Antiques, Our Green Obsession
by Dennis Barker
We were out kicking around a few sales with our grand daughter last weekend, when she encountered something she could not quite figure out. There was much about this object to pique her interest. The bright red color, the numbered dial which when turned made the curious clicking sound. It seemed at the same time, familiar and foreign. Her examination of the old telephone soon brought the expected inquiry. “What’s this for grandpa”?
This “retro” 1960’s plastic western electric desk phone now resides in my basement. Admittedly, waiting to be hooked up, but saved from the local dump, where it would take over 400 years to decompose.
If it were not for the antiques collector’s obsession with all things old, we would find our landfills to be far more cluttered places. Our love of these old objects drives us to preserve, restore & reuse as many items from our past as we can collectively get our hands on. We incorporate these treasures into our lives for their esthetic, decorative or utilitarian uses, enriching our lifestyles and saving the energy and natural resources that would be expended, had we discarded these historic items in favor of newly manufactured goods. We are truly among America’s ecological good guys.
Each time we drag home an old oak dresser, desk or bookcase, not only do we save a tree, we are additionally rewarded with increased beauty in our surroundings and a sense of continuity with our past. We remind ourselves that “made of wood” does not really mean sawdust and resin, and that “built to last “, at one time, meant just that.