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Antiquing We Will Go!
MUSE-ings - News Center
Special to by Toni Muse

April 25, 2007 (rt23 news) - When I was an independent art scholar (translation: student not living at home and supported financially by the grace of God), scavenging was a way of life. It could be a chair, picture frames, lamp, shelving – anything in relatively good or fixable condition. It’s been a long time since my days as a hunter and gatherer, although I will admit that my eyes still scan curbside piles for treasures. A fellow volunteer at the Community Spirit Clean Sweep Village cleaning up actually unearthed a vintage bottle at the curb!

I’ve had to devise a plan to control my need to collect over the years due primarily to moving and space limitations. My current rule of thumb has become, for every one item brought in, two items have got to go. My mental rationale is “upgrading” otherwise I’d never throw anything out. This is coming from a person who until recently has kept every check ever written and every phone bill too. By the way my title at work is Archive Librarian/Data Manager.

You might say my home, lovingly called “Muse Cottage”, is more like a MUSE-um and guests are often a-Muse-d visually. Every item has a tale, including the ancient family furniture awaiting restoration after being rescued from certain destruction in Aunt Bernice’s basement.

My favorite story is of a wooden slatted trunk discovered curbside filled with old and smelly linoleum floor tiles. The spirit of this trunk actually woke me up at four-thirty a.m. compelling me to grab some gloves and a luggage carrier in order to drag this thing home. It’s clean up involved a can of roach spray and airing out for a couple of weeks in the freezing cold. Later it would be sponge bathed with soapy water and linseed oil. The funny thing about trunks is that they tend to multiply, kind of like rabbits.

Today, I have no less than seven trunks of all shapes and sizes. My one and only trunk purchase was a $19 K-Mart special to keep my high school journals from prying eyes. The rest have been given to me from friends who assume that i have a fondness for trunks just because they have seen one or two at my place.

I’ve been given a World War One military trunk with flat drawers that lift out, a rolled-top small trunk and a hybrid trunk/suitcase. Today they are all filled with everything from blankets, early drawings, old clothes and papers. Guests always offer to “take off my hands” any of the trunks I might consider getting rid of.

My other favorite is the tale of the mid-1800’s writing desk placed on the curb. I was driving with my friend Squirrel, a historian and insatiable collector, when I suddenly yelled out “Mine!” and threw the car into reverse. Apparently we both spotted this dark wooden piece of furniture at the curb at the same time, however I had the wits to claim it sight unseen. He still kicks himself to this day.

When I moved to Greenwood Lake, someone helping me move laughingly said “What are you going to do with all this junk!?” This comment needed no reply from someone who had been carting “this junk” around for the better part of her life waiting for a place to call home.

[Toni Muse publishes The Village Muse, a handy, quick guide to local arts and entertainment. Toni, a graduate of the New York School of Visual Arts, is a free lance writer, poet, artist and professional graphic designer.]

Posted by: Toni Muse
April 25, 2007

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