This week's Fun Monday is hosted by Ann over at For the Long Run. She is one of my favorite blog buddies, and her idea to share a website that changed our lives is so clever.
My mother is a serious collector of antiques. Red kitchen items from the '40s, old cast iron, anything related to the Oklahoma frontier, furniture, several patterns of dishes, and so many other things I cannot remember them all.
One of her obsessions is a pattern made by the defunct ceramic and pottery company, Harker Pottery, U.S.A. The company was established around 1857 in Ohio and operated until 1972. The pattern is called "Dainty Flower" and is part of the company's Cameoware line. Mama collects the blue and white version. It is a popular pattern that began with a very art deco design and then morphed into something called the shell shape by collectors.
One year, probably about ten or eleven years ago, she was looking for this pattern and having a hard time finding it. Her mother, who died when she was three, had some pieces of this pattern and my mother had decided to collect a complete set. I started looking for a nice piece for her birthday. I went to all of my usual antiques haunts, hit the thrift stores, and even tried shopping garage and estate sales in older, established neighborhoods. Nothing. Nada. Not even one piece.
My husband is a techie and he had been using the internet for a good while by this time. I think it was probably about 1997 or 1998. He suggested I go online and do a search for the pattern or any information about it. I had no idea what he was talking about. He logged on to our (incredibly slow) dial-up connection and went to a search engine to teach me how to conduct a search. I think it was Alta Vista that we used.
What he found was this little gem of a site, a virtual store on the internet that dealt solely in antiques. I was shocked such a thing existed. It was a revelation. I could shop for my mother's hard to find antique collectibles at our desk! Without leaving the house! Without wasting gallons and gallons of gas! I was in heaven.
Since then, I've moved on to an array of online businesses that range from Amazon and ebay to clothing stores, toy stores, pet stores and little tiny places that sell vintage stereos, or golf equipment, or musical instruments or theater costumes. I even have a Harker pattern of my own that I collect and use for our every day dishes.
I am the rare woman who absolutely hates to shop. But when I can do it in my pajamas from the comfort of my sofa, it's not so bad.
My husband is sorry he ever showed me how to use a search engine.