Sunday, November 30, 2014

In Antique Mourning

Last night I cried actual crocodile tears after finding out my all-time favorite antique shop in Illinois is closing December 24th.  Real tears, folks!  If that's wrong, I don't wanna be right because my gosh, this is a loss felt to the core.

Many of you know I was born and raised in Sycamore, Illinois.  My family lives in both Sycamore and the adjoining town, DeKalb.  Just as the name DeKalb implies, we lived in and amongst corn fields.  Good, black soil on flat land is our farming neighbor's bread and butter.  While I grew up in town, I have always been enamored with the large, old farmhouses and barns that dot the northern Illinois landscape.  A dream of mine is to someday live on a farm, though I doubt that will ever come to fruition at this point.  So you can only imagine the joy I always felt when visiting Josie's Antiques in Maple Park, Illinois, just a jaunt away from DeKalb.

In the 26 years that Josie's has opened her barns and outbuildings filled to the brim with the most exquisite primitives and antiques, I've been a customer.  Kansas has been my home now for 20 years, and there are quite a few pieces here that were purchased at Josie's over the years.  It was a frequent stop on my excursions to Illinois.

My Mother and I loved going out there.  In the Spring when the warm winds blow mightily through the empty corn fields and bring with them storm clouds, Mom and I would don our rubber boots, rain coats and tromp through the mud and muck to shop.  And just this past March, one of my closest friends and I tromped through the melting snow and shopped, this time cozying up to the two old wood-burning stoves in the long building.  And have I mentioned the chocolate cookies?  Every single day, Josie baked fresh chocolate cookies.  To say the shopping experience was more than browsing antiques is an understatement.

There were plenty of barn animals to pet, peacocks to admire and the most gorgeous grounds to just stand and soak in.  And of course, the antiques.  Josie always stuck to her beloved primitives.  She didn't mix genres. So if you loved authentic primitives, this was the place for you! And if you liked to see antiques in what would have been their original surroundings, then this was nirvana.  While I like the large antique malls, nothing comes close to shopping for antiques in an 1800's barn.  Nothing.

In March, I took my cell phone camera and shot some pictures.  This is just a sampling of the wonderment that is always Josie's Antiques.  I understand she is now going to pursue a different avenue; one in which she is passionate about so I wish her well.  But for me, this is just another chapter in Illinois closing.  Along with the future closing of Moxie in DeKalb, another delightful store that holds such great memories to me, going home to Illinois is going to be that much emptier, especially with my Mother's death in 2009.  The special places we visited are going along the wayside and while I'm thrilled that the proprietors shared that part of their lives with us and they are following their dreams, I'm just sad.  So sad, my cup runneth over last night and I choked up for a bit.

Life charges on and I must, too. I just wish I could swing a quick trip back for one more stroll through Josie's Antiques.