This blog post needs a little background history before I can tell you about my awesome day.  It all begins with Brimfield, Mass – a small little town three hours from where I live.  It also begins with my parents, fresh out of college, 

Ah, the oddities of Brimfield...

 

having grown up in a very different world.  My parents represented something we all strive to achieve – doing what you love for a living.  My mom was an artist.  She painted on old barn 

A happy Brimfield group!

 

 boards, tin, pretty much whatever old and beautiful things she could get her hands on.  On the side, they collected and sold antiques, setting up at various shows across the country.  Dad bought a 1964 bread truck from a bakery that was going out of business and they called it their home away from home.  

This is life my sister and I were born into.  We grew up on the road, traveling to antique shows where we didn’t have a friend under forty, but that didn’t matter.  We helped other people set up and watch their booths in our spare time.  It was all we knew for a while and when we finally had to branch out and started college, everything was so strange.  The life we had known was ours, made up of the best class of people.  See, antique dealing is a special kind of business that takes a special kind of person.  The people I knew growing up were 

The Colossal Beast!

 

Egg Chair!!

 

“against the grain” entrepeneurs.  They were the ones that would never fit in with the “normal” world.  There was no place for these people in a 9 to 5 job, working under someone else and struggling to enjoy what they were doing.  In the antique business, everyone is their own boss with their own schedule and you only get into it if it’s something you love doing.  It was so simple – you didn’t live too well because you never really made enough money to climb the ladder much, but then again you never had a ladder you needed to climb.  Life really was what you made it and every moment was special. 

Unfortunately, things change.  Such is life and it can take a while to get used to.  For the most part, we adjusted to our new way living without too much trouble, but there were a few monuments in our life that were hard to let go of.  

The "we're excited to be here but...

 

...we're really cold!!" picture

  

One of them was Brimfield.  It was one of the first and last shows my parents did, attending twice a year for 30 years.  We always had the same spot and some of the greatest people we know were Brimfielders.  Some of our greatest memories were formed at the May’s antique show where we set up.  When I say we grew up at Brimfield, I mean that my sister and I lived for this place.  We learned to read, write, and tie our shoes in our booth with the help of our extended antique dealing family.  

It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to leave behind.  Now, we live for a day or two out of the year when we can leave our current shackles behind and remember the good old days with a reminiscent visit.  

Yeah, it deserved a picture....

 

This past Friday was one of those days.  We took some of our best friends with us to 

My sentiments exactly...

 

 experience the joys of Brimfield together and made a day out of it.  Rising at 3 in the morning for a three-hour drive and not getting home ’til well after 9, we soaked in every minute of our past.  I saw faces that had once been my life coaches as a child and hadn’t seen in over five years.  It felt like returning home and at the same time realizing that home and yourself have changed since you met last.  Brimfield brings happy feelings, but it also reminds my family of a simpler and easier time, not just for us, but for everyone involved in this lifestyle.  

I cannot make a clearer statement than this: antique dealers are a dying breed.  There is so much truth held up in those words that no one has to say them because everyone knows that a good thing can’t last.  That’s the problem with this business – it’s being forgotten in our fast-paced age of computers and online shopping.  If you leave the antique business at an early enough age, there’s hope for you to join that dreaded work force and make a living in some other manner.  However, that isn’t an option for many of the antique class.  As I said before, the people I am describing didn’t choose antique dealing – it chose them.  It picked them up out of their struggles to exist like everyone else and it gave them a new hope and place to belong.  So when the antique business crumbles to its knees, so will those who cling to it.  There is no other way of life for them and as each show brings in less and less money, they begin to feel the pain of an old friend on his last leg of a very long journey.  Brimfield is a prime example of this dying lifestyle and seeing its decline this past weekend was a painful awareness.  

Just when we thought we had enough beads...

 

Even so, I was so happy to have gone this year and experienced a little of the world and friends I so desperately miss.  It was also nice to enjoy it with friends who weren’t a part of that life, allowing myself to see Brimfield through other eyes.  I can’t help but ignore the signs of its passing and hope against hope that I won’t see its end in my lifetime.  

So do me a favor – visit an antique show, get to know the people who live that life, see their world with a new perspective.  Maybe with a little more awareness and help, that hope won’t be so shortsighted by my own biased childhood memories.  

Brimfield is a place for family....

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