The Almost Daily Thread

musings from the blue chair

Name that antique.

on August 21, 2014
Olivia modeling the paper dress.

Olivia modeling the paper dress.

I WON THE LOTTERY! The lottery for tickets to the Antique Roadshow. Antiques Roadshow  Me and 6,000 others. Charleston, WVa.

In the weeks leading up to the event I thought and thought about what to take with me. I reviewed what I still have that has filtered past in my 65 years! Several pieces of furniture have passed to and through me. I have Grandma Hazel’s china doll and parasol. I have Great Grandma Emma Susan’s quilt. Aunt Ethel’s crazy quilt. I have a couple of wooden kitchen utensils which came from an excavation in Warsaw, KY near Grandma Betty Rea’s restaurant. I have a wooden box that came up the Mississippi on a flatboat at the turn of the century with Grandpa John W. Hall’s name painted on top. I have an amethyst pin that Aunt Francis sent me as an engagement gift that was passed to her from 2 generations. I have too many things to list from Uncle John.

What I decided on were things from my own lifetime. Not ancestral pieces. Those I could never sell and if my kids sell or trash them, well, I’ll be dead and I won’t know.

Each ticket holder is allowed to bring two items. I settled on a paper dress Hazel sent me in the 1960’s, maybe 1967. Why? I have no idea. I recall nothing of the where, when or why she sent it. It’s a black and silver weave. A dress up, paper mini dress. (I did like to play paper dolls. Remember the Betsy McCall? I had a box for each doll and her clothing.) Anyhow, the paper dress is sleeveless. Very simple with a button at the back of the neck. A-line. I wore it a few times, I am sure to dances. I remember having a specific slip to wear under it because it is very see through! I wonder if I wore patterned hose with it. I do wish I could remember the shoes I wore. I am pretty sure I wore a long, silver necklace and dangley earrings. The unique dress survived many moves, in tack, and even survived my daughter wearing it to adult Halloween parties. I have taken good care of it, kept it away from lighters and open fires!I suppose because I hear Hazel in my DNA saying, “Save it. It might be worth something someday.”

Lorel modeling the dress.

Lorel modeling the dress.

And I decided to take three signed baseballs from events in 1980, 81, and 82. My best friend, Lisa, was then Director of Tri-State Fair and Regatta which worked closely with Ashland Oil, Inc as a summer concert, event venue. And, Clint Thomas was Negro baseball star in the 1920’s and 30’s, a native of Greenup County Clint Thomas . The then editor or a reporter (I don’t remember who) representing the Greenup County News approached Ashland Oil to sponsor an event honoring Mr. Thomas. The first year several players showed up. The second year, Mr. Thomas was celebrating his 85th birthday and the reunion grew. I remember 35 or so players in attendance. They brought pictures and memorabilia and suggestions of where to find other players. Most had disappeared into the mainstream. The players in attendance laughed and shared stories. They were old men being recognized for the first time as a group. It was 16 years after the Civil Rights Act was signed and equality, as we well know, is not quickly integrated.

Dinner was served and Bowie Kuhn, the then commissioner of baseball, and Willie Mays spoke briefly. Neither stuck around for signing. After dinner the tables were arranged so that attendees, maybe 75 people, who were given baseballs as part of their ticket price, walked around and got player signatures. Satchel Page was there in 1981, oxygen, big smile and all. The players were honored and thrilled to be recognized and to see each other again.

We did a repeat performance with more players and more in attendance the next year. Satchel died before the second big event took place.

Ashland Oil and the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and other groups were in the process of establishing a permanent home for the Negro Baseball Leagues when Cooperstown stepped in to take over  Baseball Hall of Fame.  The Negro Leagues are now fully recognized in their own venue at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.  Here there is no “getting in.”  They are working to recognize all of the Negro players.

So back to the Antiques Roadshow! My baseballs are worth a fair amount of money, yet most prominently, as I write and research this I am becoming aware that maybe I made a slight difference in some major cultural events.

Just by happenstance! I lived my childhood in the time of separation. I grew up with no ethnic diversity. White only – all the way through high school. My prejudices were ingrained but not deeply, not bitter. Really they weren’t an issue so much. It is my understanding that Grandma Betty Rea crossed the boundaries more than anyone. She was more comfortable in the mixed-race kitchen than as the manager of her own restaurant. I was sheltered and innocent of much of the violence and struggles of my times. 1964 my first year of high school. The riots didn’t really touch my daily life in Ashland, KY.

I was a young adult going to concerts at the Charleston Civic Center, where the Antique Roadshow was held. I saw the Moody Blues and Crosby, Stills and Nash, 3 Dog Night (driving a 1940’s hearst what was the family car for a while.  There’s a story!). I heard Willie Nelson and we followed his band to a bar. In fact, some of the band members rode to the bar in my 1957 Chevy. Turquoise and white!  I guess we traded in the hearst.  Fun night! During these years I worked TSF&R because Lisa always generously handed me volunteer jobs for nearly all their public venues!

So back to the Roadshow! Here’s the question. Does the fact that I showed up with relics from my own life make me the antique? OMG, I think so! Because the whole day was a reminiscence back to my youth.

And what I realize is that I and many others in attendance were the antiques! A crowd of primarily baby boomers, a generation shows up to an aging Civic Center that is, for this venue, orderly and quiet. Only a whisper of the past crowds. We were now lead like sheep in the wavy Disney line set-up. Nearly polar opposite the boisterous, ecstatic, lively teenagers coming to hear our favorite music. So boisterous and daring as to even slip under the scaffolding of the stage to shake hands with Kenny Loggins and slipping back into the crowd before being arrested or escorted out!

What I realize is that the people in attendance are the stories. The people who have a few years under their belts. We are the memories of our lifetimes no matter what physical souvenir we salvage from the experiences. One of Aunt Ethel’s stories is that she voted every year from the very first time women were allowed to vote, in 1920, and she lived to just a few months of being 103 in 1997 19th Amendment.

My interest is in vintage unusual things. I wanted to see the Roadshow appraisers, and Mark Walberg! Attached to this event, my story’s chapters include music – the awesome experience of music in the late 60’s and 70’s, how it spoke for and to us, filled us up, healed us, connected us. Another chapter here is my miniscule contribution to racial equality not because I was involved directly but because my best friend volunteered me for whatever she got involved in! And we volunteers in the small, lazy town of Ashland, KY opened a door to society taking some steps to right some wrongs.

Oh, and the dress? I forgot it. Yep. I remembered my phone, well most of the day! Maybe as a teenager I would have remembered . . . nope, I probably would have forgotten it then also. Maybe I’ll win the lottery again next year. In the meantime, the dress hangs safely. And the baseballs have brand new wooden display cases. Not those ugly plastic ball holders for my piece of history! And maybe they should go to the NBLM in Kansas City to sit in their rightful place with the big collection.


5 responses to “Name that antique.

  1. Sara Lane says:

    Love your blogs. This is the best one yet! Good luck at the road show, would you ever sell the baseballs? Or the dress? Be hard to let go of something you have had carried through your 10,000+ moves.


    • Maybe it’s only been 9,560! I can see that you are rounding up! I don’t know if I will keep them. I am thinking of contacting that museum in Kansas City. Wonder if they would pay me near my appraisial? What will I so with them here? I am thinking.


  2. Have fun. I haven’t seen the Road Show in awhile.


  3. amanda1mc says:

    Glad you included pictures! Would love to have been a fly on the wall listening to all those conversations!


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