September 22, 2010

The Cycle of Life and the First Day of Fall, September 22, 2010

The ancients calculated the seasons.
foretold of how, when, and why.
we would know,
when Fall turns summer around.

A season, which masguerades as an ageless song
spreading its tentacles
of life

blooms into a
a chill lurking between clouds,
allowing darkness to creep too early
skirting over 
sunlit skies.

A soft gentle breeze
gathers strength beneath the shadows of lingering leaves.

Gray overhangs, pauses,
tumbles brittle golden orange to the ground,
lets leaves laying in wait, 
to be blown by the last breath
of the summer wind.

And so goes,
the cycle of life.

September 14, 2010

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen with photography by Bowman Gray IV

Two amazing things happened to me that smoothed out the strife in my life over the past six months. I received my first royalty check from my book - Bethania The Village by the Black Walnut Bottom and then Bowman Gray IV who I met by chance and fate and who did the modern day photography for my book hand delivered his first book inspired by James Allen's As a Man Thinketh. Bo's Photography is stunning and awesomely inspiring!

Here is the detail on the book:

It has been said that James Allen is the ''most quoted man you ve never heard of.'' In 1902, Allen published As a Man Thinketh, universally acknowledged as a classic book on self-examination. The precept conveyed in Proverbs 23:7 (''As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he'') inspired the book's title. It also captures the essence of Allen's philosophy. Through his eloquent and succinct prose, Allen conveys his thesis that it is up to the individual to form his own character and create his own happiness.

In 1985, 15-year-old Bowman Gray IV lost his father to a heart attack. Later that same year, his mother gave him two gifts - a copy of As a Man Thinketh and a 35-millimeter camera. At the time, he did not fully appreciate how important these two gifts would eventually become to him. In his 20s, Gray, like many others, finally understood Allen s words and began to change the way he viewed himself and how he interacted with the world. Through the years, Gray also developed his skills as a photographer. In this gift edition, he couples his own color photographs with Allen's timeless advice to produce an inspirational book that will stay with readers for years to come.

September 10, 2010

Remembering New York City and 911

Lower New York City 1928
As a child I lived in Pennsylvania next to the center of my father's large family. My mother's family was less than three hours away, in New Jersey and New York City. I grew up in a contrast of languages, my father's Pennsylvania Dutch, and my mother's Slovak, Polish, Russian, and other languages which confused me even more. I loved going on long extended visits to see my New York relatives. The sounds, smells, and sights of the city became embedded beneath my skin. After we moved to Florida, I quickly adapted to southern living and culture. As a young adult I got to travel to many places, some exotic, and some not so exotic. But this is how we grew, how the world goes around, changing places and changing faces.

Broadway Looking North 1928
I traveled to New York City on a fairly regular basis throughout my adult life as it is one of the main retail centers in the world. I had to be there during every major market week and many smaller mini-markets throughout the year. My first office in New York City was in the Empire State Building, on the 79th floor. One particular elevator always seemed eerie to me. Sometimes the noise seemed deafening, particularly on the rare occasions when I was the only one in the elevator. I also hated walking the winding corridor to the ladies room where heat and more noise radiated through the walls. The July of the first year after I joined the company, I found out why, although I was still in Chicago packing for a trip to the Big Apple. Parade magazine ran a big article on the military plane that crashed into the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945 --- smack dab into the 79th floor leaving a gaping hole 18 feet high and 20 feet wide and destroying the offices along the corridor to the ladies room.

Wall Street NYC 1928
I had other offices, one on the Avenue of Americas, and one across fro the World Trade Center. I used to stop in the deli there for a bagel or breakfast sandwich. Occasionally I even had business meetings at the Trade Center, and friends. I left the corporate world for good when I opened my antique shop, but never forgot the excitement, or sounds, smells and sights of New York City.

In August of 2001, my husband and I had decided to move to another part of North Carolina and had just begun the process of purchasing a plantation and estate, looking to turn it into a B&B along with selling antiques. We had just returned from a final view of the property before making an offer when 911 happened. I know that the world stopped for many people on that day which forever altered our lives from one corner of the globe to the other. For me and my family, we stopped and took a long look around us and realized that home to us, was right where we were and should be.

September 4, 2010

Have You Seen These Statues?

Missing Giant Frog
Missing Eastern Island Head
SILVER ALERT . . . actually it is a GREEN ALERT . . . Any one near Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, please be on the look out for a missing giant Frog and an Eastern Island Head. The pair were last seen in front of my shop in Bethania. Frog is dressed in green, about 5 feet tall, carrying flowers and the Head is 3 feet tall, multi-colored in blue and red. The Sheriffs department has been notified and are issuing an APB. If you have seen the pair please notify me.

September 3, 2010

Some Favorite Paper Collectibles

Pen & Ink Kitten late 19th Century
Collecting paper items has been a life-long love of mine and was and still is my first love, mainly because paper is related to reading, writing, and drawing. I used to sneak my treasures from the garbage can soon after my third birthday. I stored these in a heart shaped box, a leftover from my mother's Valentine candy. I wasn't picky back then, of course I couldn't read very well either.

To this day I have stacks and piles of books flowing from numerous book cases throughout my building; papers horded in boxes including vintage candy boxes, a gentleman's underwear box, cigar boxes, cloth boxes and other boxes that are just to kool to throw away. I have boxes of advertising, postcards, newspaper cut outs, recipes, scribbled notes, perfect penmanship, letters, store receipts, and well just about any paper item that was ever invented, made, or printed - some going as far back as the 1600s.

Gibson Girl 1912 Sketch Book
I am particularly fond of diaries and old sketch books although 19th century and earlier books of this kind are rare finds. I think that in a former life I was a scribe but most likely it was the simple fact that writing paper and writing implements were costly and scarce.

One of my favorite finds (okay - I have numerous favorites) was a tin filled with scraps of paper. Turned out the papers were from men who took "The Oath" during the Revolutionary War era. Another find was an old chest in an attic that the family considered trash.

Pen & Ink Drawing
Thankfully someone threw it in auction. There were amazing letters and documents that told of settling the coastal region of North Carolina and Tennessee. There were slave records and documents along with rare books although some were in very sad shape.  But everything is recyclable - okay - almost everything. 

Imagine history being dumped in a garbage can - which is still my life-long avocation - saving someone else's trash, and rescuing it into treasure.     

Cow Frog & Date
Brekekekex koax koax!
May the force of the frog be upon you!

September 1, 2010

Antiques in Bethania Celebrates 14 Years

I officially opened my antique shop under the name of The Bethania Emporium in 1997, but wasn't really sold on the name and also registered the name Antiques in Bethania. When the first outdoor sign I had made disintegrated after a few years, I switched over to Antiques in Bethania with the new sign, but also kept on to the other name. I decided it was time I chose one name - subsequently - Antiques in Bethania won out.

In the beginning and up until 2007, we had three apartments above the shop (oh what stories I could tell - but I won't). In 2008 and I ceased being a landlord and we converted the upstairs into our home. We knocked down walls, put in French doors, new windows, new floors, added functional space, but still must contend with a small kitchen - the work was labor intense and thank goodness my husband is a plumber. We love living here,and earlier this year we gave the front of the shop a face lift. Though we still have some work to do, such as restoring the back of the shop for my writers workshop and studio, the changes have really been an improvement.

The building was built in the late 1940's as a grocery store and apartments. Over the years it has been an antique shop, cabinetmakers shop, wicker shop, toy and hobby shop, and always apartments.

For many years people used our drive as a short cut to the back lane. The back has grass, bushes, and trees along with boulders and other landscaping. We added a deck and put up decorative criss-cross fencing that one day I hope to train vines to go up. It is private though and we can sit out doors and not feel like we are in a fish bowl. Zach and Zoie, our Yorkies in training can run and play freely - along with their friend Mr. Wiggles and his big black Lab companion who like to come and visit.

This month - September - marks the beginning of my 14th year. I think the shop has evolved in many ways, besides being a front for my writing and I love being here, even more so now because the building is also our home. I am surrounded by inspiration and can immerse myself in history on a daily basis - what more can anyone ask for?