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Fossils and Furniture

August 30, 2015 by Lauren Van Schaik in 0 comments
When they were young and childless, my parents were antique hunters, weekend ransackers of estate sales and flea markets. Each Saturday they drove out from Toledo into Amish country, following narrow roads like stitching in the crazy quilt of soy and corn, looking for pockets and exits where the past was sold. They hunted in barn-styled warehouses with acres of Shaker chairs and in villages with nothing but a gas station and a curio shop—spilling out onto the porch of a clapboard house or stacked behind a dusty plate window. Interior design then had a vision of this countryside, one stuffed with cabbage roses, white wicker furniture, and blue-scarfed ducks. My parents filled their apartment with reclaimed oak antiques and relics of a pre-electric age—kerosene lamps and flat irons—almost in dissent. In the early 80s my father worked building tracts of petite mansions in the sprawl north of Columbus—fake marble receptacles for a thousand Laura Ashley couches and cherry Chippendale chairs. He was laid off during the recession and recoiled from those homes so thoroughly he enrolled in a graduate program of labor history within a year. It was perilously unstylish field in a world of hollowed-out unions and trickle […]