Ye Old Antique Shoppe
Researching can be really tedious. Locating and reading old documents may require cotton gloves, a note pad and pencil, and a box of allergy medication. Many old documents cannot be photocopied, so hours of note taking are part of the bargain. But when you find that first clue that leads to a more detailed item that takes you to the mother lode, you have that eureka moment. The ultimate results are worth the effort. Then again, research can be loads of fun.
HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW, my current work in progress, is set in a small Texas town. The town is fictional, but I fashioned Lucille Walker’s house after my grandmother’s home. I had no trouble duplicating the layout and some of the furniture, but the kitchenware, vintage jewelry, and some of the clothing required a bit of legwork. Fortunately, Amarillo is blessed with a number of good antique and consignment shops.
Route 66 runs through Amarillo’s 6th Street. This district is full of old buildings converted into antique shops. I’ve learned which ones are best for locating various items. For vintage jewelry, Depression Glass, and glass kitchenware, I like 6th Street Antique Mall. The shop has cases of costume jewelry and good quality semi-precious pieces. I found beautiful foil-back rhinestone broaches and matching earrings that reminded me of my grandmother’s jewelry. Grandma Fouts wore hats and used hat pins. While this shop does not carry much clothing, I did find a couple of nice hat pins. I purchased a string of matched jade beads for my own jewelry collection.
I was pleased to find original Fiestaware in one of the back rooms. The original Fiestaware may not be safe for serving food as some of the colors contained lead. The colors are more muted than the reproduction line. Still, the early pottery looks beautiful when displayed in glass-front cabinets. I also found Jadeite mugs, green Sandwich Glass bowls, saucers, juice glasses, and milk glasses, ruby glass vases, and 1950-1960 aluminum tumblers.
Red Door Antiques and The Village Antique Mall are south of Interstate 40 off Georgia Street. Red Door Antiques not only carries Depression Glass, they also carried a line of older Disney collectables. These served as the inspiration for some of the collectables in Kate’s room at the Homestead. I found the Jadeite mother lode at the Village Antique Mall. They had the mugs plus the cake plates, cookie jars, bowls, salt and pepper shakers, and canisters. The original Fire King Jadeite is expensive, so I examined the items instead of buying. While I love the line, I cannot justify purchasing antiques I will not use. My best find at The Village Antique Mall was a Pyrex Dripolator. I had found pictures of the old coffee pot, but actually seeing the forerunner of Mr. Coffee was truly amazing.
Armed with my antique shop finds, I was able to furnish Miss Lucille’s kitchen, jewelry box, William Walker’s accessory case, and add accents to the house. Not only, did I enjoy my research, I was able to add to my personal collections. Antique stores, vintage book shops, consignment stores and antique shows can be valuable resources for the writer. Strolling through these shops provide inspiration for various period settings. Take a day, and visit your local shops. You might find your grade school lunch box or favorite toy on a shelf. I did, and it brought back wonderful memories.