To instruct us in the lives of the men of other days

by chuckofish

On our recent epic road trip, we stopped at the Heart of Ohio Antique Center, the largest and most well-organized antique mall I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. When I say large, I mean HUGE.

It covers 26 acres and has parking for 300 cars, tour buses, etc… Open 362 days a year, they “observe Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.” They also hold auctions, offer a personal shopper service, and will ship anything you buy. This picture of the DH gives you a good idea of the size of the place. He’s standing in the corridor that runs the length of the building, from which the five wings extend.

They have a great system worked out. When you find something you want, you hand it over to a friendly sales person, who gives you a ticket and then takes the item up to a cubby at the front. It’s kind of like a coat-check. When you’re ready to leave, you hand in the ticket and pay, while they wrap your things. Since it takes so long to go through the place, they have a cafe in the middle and also a comfortable lounge with large-screen TV for the husbands who can’t stand trailing after their wives for hours. I’m proud to say, my DH didn’t need the lounge.

Sure, there’s a predictable amount of mid-century glassware and kitchen stuff, but it’s all well displayed — some of it cleverly, like this booth, in which the pots and pans are all piled in the sink as if waiting to be washed.

There’s something for everyone: guns and militaria; tools; china; textiles; taxidermy (everything from bison heads to moose), and books. I thought of my Dual Personality when I saw the books in this case but, alas, I did not get the chance to look at them.

There is also quite a lot of actual antique furniture. Take, for example, these 19th century chairs, which are just like a set our family has.

Prices can be on the high side of reasonable, depending on what you are looking for, but if you poke around you can find some bargains. We were very restrained and only bought a couple of little (non-antique) things, including this neat print.

We looked through the whole thing in 3.5 hours, but we were rushing a bit at the end. It really needs at least one whole leisurely day.Β  I want to go back. I’m not looking for anything in particular — I just enjoy being around old things:

Even when she had to make someone a present of the kind called ‘useful,’ when she had to give an armchair or some table-silver or a walking-stick, she would choose ‘antiques,’ as though their long desuetude had effaced from them any semblance of utility and fitted them rather to instruct us in the lives of the men of other days than to serve the common requirements of our own. (Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way).

Road trip anyone?