My deepest apologies for taking so long before writing my next blog post. Honestly, I have been lost in organizing my “junk” so I don’t come across as a hoarder but instead an organized collector of “vintage” treasures. What is “vintage”? How do we distinguish the difference between vintage items and true junk? In a very odd way, junk is never really junk because most things classified as “junk” can be turned into beautiful “vintage” treasures. There is much debate on the true meaning of the word “vintage” and its use. Living in 2016, I have come to realize that many terms, we assume to understand their use and meaning, can often be misinterpreted due to the practice of people inventing their own meanings. Being a middle school and high school teacher, I have learned not to assume there is only the dictionary meaning to words. I’ve caught myself using words that I have always believed to be innocent of nature, only to hear giggles and whispers from my students afterwards. I am normally left standing there completely dumbfounded and naive to the NEW meaning of words I assumed to know. After researching the terms on the Internet, I am often fearful of the parent calls I may receive because of my ignorance to today’s slang. Unfortunately, as much as I try to avoid such an occurrence, today’s generation has made it impossible to ever escape those embarrassing moments completely. I don’t remember being like that when I was in school. Of course, I am certain my teachers probably went through the same embarrassing scenarios.
So that brings me to the truth about “vintage”. In the past, the term vintage was normally associated to the year wine was made. According to http://www.merriam-Webster.com, vintage is defined as:
- a (1): a season’s yield of grapes or wine from a vineyard (2): a usually superior wine all or most of which comes from a single year
b : a collection of contemporaneous and similar persons or things
2. the act or time of harvesting grapes or making wine
3. a : a period or origin or manufacture <a piano of 1845 vintage>
b : length of existence
Regardless of the published meaning of the word vintage, the purpose of this blog is to explain what MY meaning of vintage is. Like my students, I am inventing my own definition. I consider vintage items as everything that can be categorized as antique, collectible, junk, 10 years old, 150 years old, etc. Therefore, it is not necessary for any vintage experts out there to lecture me about what they feel is politically correct when it comes to all things vintage. I respect your knowledge on the topic, but in this case knowledge is not a requirement. The wonderful thing about someone’s opinion is that it is neither wrong nor right. However, since I am the writer of this blog, you know I’m right.
I felt that this blog was necessary before I can begin to blog about items and decorations I classify as vintage. Simply put, I love old things, used things, aged things, homemade things, handmade things, other people’s junk, etc. It saddens me to see some of the items thrown out to the garbage. I think it is a blessing in disguise that I don’t own a truck right now. I would be known to everyone down the bayou as the “junk queen”. 👑 Honestly, I’d be perfectly fine with that nickname. I suppose I give a more precise meaning to the term “swamp pickers”. After all, you can’t get any closer to the swamps than the people of this “down da bayou” region.
Needless to say, it is difficult to walk into a flea market and refrain from buying everything I see. I firmly believe that everything has a history. I am not talking of the type of history a true antique guru is in search of–although I do love that sort of history also. However, I know there is an even better history to every item I come across. Unfortunately, the history I am interested in is very difficult to come by. The things I acquire from my own family come with a story–a personal story. This morning, as I was having breakfast, I couldn’t help but feel that I was having coffee with my paw-paw.
Just seeing that mug in front of me made me realize how hard he worked to support his family. To many, this mug would be considered junk, but to me I realize how much I am a result of his hard work. Of course, my grandmother’s handmade coaster makes my breakfast reflection so much more meaningful because it is like they are both present sharing this moment. The personal story behind the items is the history I am interested in. Naturally, seeing such a coffee mug in a flea market would make many shoppers wonder why the owners didn’t just throw it away instead of trying to sell it. The personal story is exactly why you will see such a mug on a flea market shelf with an accompanying price tag. In my eyes, such a mug is vintage no matter who owned it. I have a total of 6 of these with various dates. I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t buy another if I came across it in a flea market. I may not know the owner of the newly found mug, but I definitely can respect and appreciate the hours it took for the original owner to acquire such a treasure.
In conclusion, my meaning of vintage may not coincide with yours or a vintage professional, but it doesn’t mean that I’m wrong. Please understand that you do not have to agree with everything I say, nor do you have to approve of the terminology I use when describing my decorations, liked items, etc. Simply appreciate someone else’s eye and creativity when it comes to all things vintage and designing style. In life, none of us have original ideas. Instead, we live life borrowing ideas from others and making them into our own by adding or subtracting from the borrowed. So, it is safe to say that any critic is critiquing a population instead of an individual.
I have my doubts about Eleanor quoting the second part of this quote, but nonetheless it is the honest truth. Being a teacher and a performing artist, I have come to know this quote quite well. Of course, the alternative to living without critics has never been an option in my life.
Find the beauty in everything everyday. Happy decorating!