Monday, May 16, 2011

Imagine Seeing You Here...

Several years ago the oddest thing happened at an Antique shop in Warren Maine…I found my aunt!

Now, to start with I have a thing about seeing old photo’s in antique shops.  I always think it’s so sad that someone’s family photo is being sold because either no one holds a sentimental value to it or even sadder no one can identify who the person in the picture is.  I know it is wishful thinking that a hundred years later every person in every photo ever taken is identifiable and clearly I am putting far too much thought into this but with that being said I am still drawn to them and can spend hours just perusing through old photos.  Given all of this it’s fairly reasonable to conclude that as I routinely hit the antique shops vintage photos are always on the “shopping list”.
A little while back I was at Scuttlebutt Antiques in Warren Maine tagging along with my Aunt G looking for furniture for her newly finished summer cottage.  Scuttlebutts is on Route 1 between Waldoboro and Rockland Maine and I remember the building as a restaurant from when I was a child – it has the stern of a ship built on the side of the building so it made quite an impression on me as a child but it is now a fairly traditional antique shop.  On this particular day we had found a fabulous maple side chair and were off to the basement of this 3-story shop to continue the hunt. 

The basement of Scuttlebutt has a ton of merchandise in it (well organized, but a ton) and the walls are floor to ceiling pictures of every sort imaginable.  From Velvet Elvis’ to watercolor landscapes and oil portraits this place has everything.   In addition to old photo’s I am always fascinated by the art hanging in consignment/resale shops if nothing else but for its variety so Scuttlebutt’s basement really calls to me.  As I was quickly perusing the selection with no thought of really finding anything (Velvet Elvis aside) I zoomed in on a black & white vintage 1934 Waltham Training School for Nurses class portrait.  I was at a distance where I really couldn’t see the details but could tell it was a cool photo. 
Waltham Training School for Nurses
Class of 1934

I walked up to the graduation photo expecting it to just be a cool photo and started to look at the names of the women.  There was one in the lower left center with the name H Kempton…interesting as there was something very vaguely familiar about this woman.  When I looked closer it was MY AUNT HILDA!!!   She might have been 20-years old in the photo and Kempton was her first husband’s name (who died from the flu when he was in his 20’s) so it’s really a miracle I even identified her as her last name was named Paxman and she was in her mid-70’s when I was young.
Hilda Towle Kempton (Paxman)

My first thought was holy cow how did this get here and is there anyone else from this part of Maine in this photo (since Waltham Training School was several hours away in Massachusetts) or was it really originally Aunt Hilda’s picture?  And if it was, who put it up for sale?????  My next thought was I can’t leave her here – I have no idea where I am going to hang it or if it will just hang out in the attic but to leave her for someone else to buy…no way!  So I ponied my $28 up and now am still looking for a home for her in my home.  Aunt Hilda was the family historian when she was alive so the irony of me finding this at Scuttlebutt is not lost on me.  Crazy or what???
There seems to be a fair amount of repurposing being done with some of these vintage images these days which I personally love.  Outside of all of the cool cards & magnets here are a few that I particularly enjoy:

I found this awesome box made from galvanized metal with bathing beauties on the lid at Dwellings a lovely shop on Route 1 in Falmouth Maine.  It's particulary useful for "storing" candy :).
This isnt the best photo of this awesome little dish but it’s the only one I could find (I am really not much of a photographer).  It's a clear glass square dish with this handsome fella decoupage to the back; it was on my "must have" list from Hudson Boston.   Hudson is a cool little online company that has wonderfully eclectic things.

This was a stack of vintage photo's I spotted at Scarlett Scales in Franklin TN (see Hit the Road Part Deux blog post).  I loved how she took these pictures and framed them in simple glass frames with grey really shows of the artistry of the photo and is a much more distinguished display than the ubiquitous stack of photos in a box.  I have every intention of stealing this look for some of my own vintage family pictures!

1 comment:

  1. Finding the picture of your Aunt really tells of how much family history you know. If you hadn't known her first husband's name (from the 20s!) then you wouldn't have known what a treasure this picture was. Very cool story!!!!


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