Write Anywhere #28

It seems that I’ve gotten into a focus on old things lately. I don’t collect antiques, but find the history behind them interesting. Artist Daughter and I attended the Vintage Tulsa Show, which is basically a fancy flea market for any type of older collectible. Everything from fashion to dish sets, furniture to pocket size prayer books, famous logo products to beloved childhood toys. There was something for everyone. Artist Daughter bought a skull. She’d want me to mention it’s an old cattle skull and she’s using it for drawing sketches. 😉

Many items I saw were vaguely familiar, and after a moment of examination a complete memory would make itself known. A tin dollhouse reminded me of the one my grandmother kept in her garage waiting for my sister and I to visit. A set of Coca-Cola glasses made of green glass just like the set my mother had back in the 70’s. A brass incense burner looked like one my great-grandmother kept on her night table, burning little pressed cones of fragrance. An old 1930’s dial phone was identical to one found among the items left behind in the abandoned one-room house built on my grandfather’s farm in Southern Illinois. I thought I’d keep with the theme and find a place to write surrounded by old things.

Write Anywhere #28: Antique Row

"Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends." - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Fortunately the sunny morning helped diminish the chill of the brisk February breeze as I travelled from shop to shop in the small town of Jenks, Oklahoma. Each shop held items that were once someone’s treasure and now waited on dusty shelves for new owners.

A vintage clothing boutique featured a pair of lace-up shoes circa 1880 that helped me imagine the heroine of my WIP clicking up the cobblestone streets of St. Louis. In another dark shop a 150-year old rocking chair showed its age with back slats worn thin with use. It reminded me of my protagonist’s friend/mentor, an elderly woman from the backwoods of Civil War-era Kentucky. After wandering through the dimly lit shops I settled down on an outside bench.

I think objects can have their own stories. I remembered two movies I saw that told the story of an inanimate object. The Red Violin is the story of a 300-year old violin and the intertwined history of its owners. The other movie is one of my favorites, Winchester ’73. The western starring Jimmy Stewart is the story of a gun and its journey from person to person as the true owner tracks it down. Both movies were very powerful stories.

Then my thoughts jumped (am I only one who has jumping thoughts?) to an experience I had about two months ago of attending an estate sale. A house full of treasured memories auctioned off by strangers to whoever plunked down the right price. What stories did the items carry with them that will never be heard or known? I thought that was an interesting subject to write about and that’s what filled my notebook while I sat on the bench. Look around your house and let an object inspire creativity.

Where did you write this week?

Question: Know any good books or movies about the story of an inanimate object?

4 thoughts on “Write Anywhere #28

  1. I’m writing a novel set in the Perkins and Stillwater area about characters who graduated from Perkins in the mid 1970’s and returned in the mid 90’s. I’m somewhat familiar with the area and made some contacts via Facebook and email last summer when I decided to get serious with the project.

    OK, I know, the 1970’s isn’t exactly vintage. However, I spent the day there a couple of weeks ago to see how I’d done setting the story in the small town of Perkins from afar. Turned out I was pretty close, just needed to make some changes here and there. Plus, everyone I talked to that day really went out of their way to be helpful.

    The only thing I’m having trouble determining is the exact location of lovers lane back in the 70’s. Seriously, I got north, south, east and west locations. After my day in Perkins, it became clear to mo why the answers were so diverse. It’s flat, with very little “cover” as I was accustomed to in the hills and valleys of southeastern Oklahoma back in my days of being on lovers lane in the early 70’s.

    My choice after being there is, “down by the river.” It just sounds good, doesn’t it? I think so, and it’s what I’m going with for the story. Plus, seeing the downtown buildings and some vintage houses convinced me that one day in Perkins isn’t enough. I’m going back in April for one more trip down memory lane, and who knows. I may invite someone to go with with me and seek out lovers lane late in the evening too. LOL


    • Joe, I was shocked by all the 70’s memorabilia offered at this sale. All the stuff of my childhood is now collectible. 😦 Guess I’m officially old.

      Sounds like you had a fun research trip. Although I can see why you would have gotten so many different locations for the Lovers’ Lane: everywhere was Lovers’ Lane in the 70’s from what I understand. 😉


  2. I really enjoy looking at old things, it’s actually a passion of mine now that I think about it. I don’t collect antiques either, I just so enjoy the stories behind the objects. If I can learn who owned the object and something about them/the place, I’m really excited.

    Enjoyable post, Kristin! 🙂


  3. Dana, I thought I was the only one who always wonders about the backstory of things. I love to watch the Antiques Roadshow to hear the family stories connected to their beloved pieces. Now I know who to share an object story with! Keeper Hubby’s eyes kind of glaze over… 😉


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