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Mother’s Day and Antiques Are Natural Complements

Photo by Maureen Zambito This Victorian era table is a constant in my life and has maintained its beauty and usefulness over the years.

Antiques and Mother’s Day go together like bread and butter or pandemics and masks. Many antique enthusiasts were introduced to antiques and collecting by their mother or grandmother. At least that’s my experience.

My mother taught me everything about art, antiques and historic preservation. An art and architecture enthusiast, she was further inspired by Jackie Kennedy, who encouraged historic preservation and introduced her national efforts to America after she restored the White House and Lafayette Square, Washington.

I remember my mother hung wallpaper with a Federal theme at that time and carried out the red, white and blue color scheme in her kitchen.

Then later in the 1970s, mom became a frequent garage, yard and estate sale shopper as these hometown habits grew. By the 1980s, collecting had grown into a national pastime with people of all ages seeking out everything from Beanie Babies to valuable antiques.

Today, antiques have fallen to the side a bit. Perhaps it’s due to the Internet and the availability of antiques of all kinds showing up in news feeds online. After all, the search was always part of the fun and now with the Internet, the search is reduced to a virtual check of auction sites and web pages that offer no chance to handle and touch the treasures.

It’s just not as fun and mysterious. But still today’s homeowners know the value of a well-made antique versus mass-produced furniture and home accessories. Even new furniture duplicates antique with weathered and distressed finishes.

Shown in the column today, as a tribute to my mother, is an antique Victorian hall table. Created of mahogany wood, it is well used and offered me an early education in the care and polishing of antiques.

Solid and still retaining its original finish, this dark wooden table has been in my entrance hall or my childhood hall for more than 65 years. It has curvy sides and is a sturdy table that can handle some weight.

For many years it was topped by a hand decorated washbowl and pitcher, also Victorian, filled with a floral arrangement. Then when the floral arrangements were showing age, I took away the washbowl and flowers and replaced them with a large sculpture of Shakespeare.

But the table is always a constant. It’s the handy place for mail, gloves and incidentals. The real reason I value it though is my mom.

She taught me to polish it with lemon oil and it was one of my jobs on Saturdays. I enjoyed the task and made sure I covered every inch of the table, including its curly cue legs and fancy lower pediment.

I even had the task of changing out the floral arrangements to go with the seasons and replaced the winter poinsettias with spring lilacs, summer sunflowers, fall mums and back to Christmas.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all my reader moms, grandmothers and other ladies who have mothered children and taught them to appreciate the past and value quality antiques and collectibles. It’s a legacy worth preserving even today in this unsettling time of masks and pandemics.

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at zambitomaureen@hotmail.com or by writing in care of the Sunday News-Register, 1500 Main St., Wheeling, WV 26003.

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