Collecting Memories and Steps: Walking Down Memory Lane at an Antique Mall

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

It’s like a treasure hunt searching through other people’s antiques and collectibles. Some memorable items leave us full of pride while others leave us full of questions like, “What were we thinking?” or “Why in the world did we decide that was a good thing to possess?”


My husband and I spent much of yesterday on an empty nest date, exploring an antique and collectibles mall in Mooreseville, North Carolina, our home state. Of course it was filled with all the basic glassware and furniture we grew up using in the sixties and seventies. I heard several people besides myself saying, “We used to have that” -or- “I wonder whatever happened to our…”


Our meandering walk down memory lane, stopping every few yards to inspect the next consignment booth, produced a surpising side-effect by recording at least four thousand steps on my Fitbit. I’m not sure if such a slow stroll counts but it’s noted anyway on my healthy habits weekly report. Go me.

While my husband Dan searched for record albums, which he’s been collecting for decades, I found doppelgangers of my grandparents’ country kitchen sink and a red and chrome chair identical to the ones in the tiny avocado green kitchen of my youth. I accomplished lots of eating and homework in a chair just like that.



I also spotted several green bowls like my mother and grandmother used to mix biscuit dough or cut up strawberries into. I can taste those drop biscuits with strawberries and ice cream right now. Um. So good. I wonder where those bowls are?


Now about the fun oddities we spotted during our walk-a-bout, the most over-priced collectible was a cast-iron French bulldog, priced to go at $159.00, down from the original price of $199.95. Every home needs one. A door stop maybe? I could hardly lift the little fellow.


My favorite painting was a cow with personality galore. I may never eat beef ever, ever again.  So stinking’ cute!



Now don’t shoot the messenger but someone has a much different vision of what Adam and Eve look like than I do. Painted nearly life-sized on old doors were two versions of Eve: a brunette, modestly shielded by flowers, and a buxom curvaceous blond version with a couple of tiny leaves for very brief coverage. Adam-on-a-door was clean-shaven which I’ve never imagined since I figured finding a razor must have been difficult to impossible in the garden. The artist posed a lion in front of Adam sort of like a living loincloth which I assume meant Adam was in control of every living thing. That was until Blondie-Eve gave him the apple. Daggone that girl!


Moving right along and trying to wipe Blond Eve from my mind, I stumbled upon an original bike air pump like I’ve never seen. A picture in this case is definitely worth a thousand words but I’ll try to describe it. Take a perfectly good bike and cut it in two. Attach the front half to an outdoor umbrella stand. Connect a garden hose roller and bike pedals to the back of the umbrella stand and replace the rubber tire with an extra long air hose rolled around the garden hose storage thingy. Now, lookie there! You’ve made an air pump for your tires and basketballs. If you don’t want to do this tedious work yourself, no worries. You too can own this ready made version for a mere $495.00.

Oh, so much to see and describe, I don’t know where to start. Maybe with the ax hanger for the wall. Or perhaps with the ginormous Capodimonte (whatever that means) soup tureen covered in delicate flowers I would break by breathing on it. A mere $225.00 on sale.

There was a cool mini-version of a claw foot bathtub, raised up for use as a baby bathtub. And oodles of useful items made from deer antlers.

The recycled art painted on old barn wood or rusty steel and tin is a wonderful use of what could have been trash or fire-starters. I love those items even if I don’t want most of them in my house. Well, some of them perhaps. No antlers though. One painting on wood I especially enjoyed was of hats on a vertical hat rack. I could use that.

My favorite things included two pig trays made of tin, cute as could be, and, drumroll, an old-timey orange hairdresser’s chair with an attached hair dryer atop. It was a showstopper for me as my aunt had a beauty shop attached to my grandfather’s house and I adored sitting in her dryer chairs watching while she washed and cut her customers’ hair and gathered the local news or gossip. With that chair, our memory lane trip was complete.

Did we buy anything? Yessir. We hit paydirt, as they used to say of a successful endeavor. My husband found four additions to his historic car glasses and Pepsi goblet collections for a real steal. After looking through probably a thousand lps, Dan also scored a couple of valuable record albums for two dollars apiece. I bought an extra large Corningware casserole for six bucks just in time for Thanksgiving and a brand new stainless steel, flap-lidded trash can that costs way more than seven dollars at Wal-Mart.



All in all, we enjoyed a pretty successful shopping spree at twenty-four dollars total. And as a bonus, later in the day, I ended up fast- walking up and down the aisles, accumulating eight thousand steps total. As I was rushing around, a shopper tried to stop me saying, “You look like you work here. Or you have somewhere to go.”


“Ha. Nope, sorry, just getting in some steps.” She said that maybe she’d try that too. So if you need a good walking spot, you heard it here first. Find a nearby indoor antique and collectible mall. You too might enjoy a walk down memory lane.




15 thoughts on “Collecting Memories and Steps: Walking Down Memory Lane at an Antique Mall

  1. What an interesting date! You sparked about a million memories. No, I didn’t use those things personally, except some at my grandparent’s house. lol

  2. Sounds like a fun outing and exercise too!

  3. I love stolling those kind of “flea market” and antique market. Looks like you got some good finds at a steal. Thats also the fun isn’t it…finding bargains!

    • Useful bargains these days. I’m past the delicate breakable collectible stage of life. If it can’t survive wagging dog tail, I don’t t need it nowadays. I prefer to worry less and enjoy more.

  4. That’s a unique idea for a date; even a first date would be an adventure, and a good conversation starter. I love second-hand shopping, or ‘op-shopping’ as we call it here in Australia- last week a local woman found out that the painting she bought for $10 at a garage sale years ago is a ‘Margaret Olley’ painting worth approx $8-10,000!

    • Oh yo have such fortune finding a true treasure. We like to stop when we’re traveling in small towns and see if they have a little antiques and collectibles shops. That’s a fun way to see the town.

  5. I also love going to antique malls! They are the perfect place for me to find the vintage Christmas ornaments I love, as well as other unusual finds. Plus, like you, I enjoy the “trip down memory lane” as I find things from my childhood. (My grandparents had that kitchen sink, too, and we had those chairs only in grey and white. I think my grandparent’s were red.)
    Glad your husband found a deal on his lp’s!

  6. What a fun day out Lisa!! We love those kinds of places– I’m guessing you live in the eastern part of the country– because your shops look more interesting than ours out here in California!! And I totally agree if’s fun to see the old things I grew up with (I’m 65 so “antiques” are my everyday memories). Fun post!

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