Another year gone already? Wow, they go so fast, especially when one notes that this time last year the small person who lives in the house was the only small person, unable to walk, unable to use fork or spoon, and able to say only about a dozen words. Now, as this is typed, not only is there a second small person sleeping, but the first small person, all by herself, has climbed up into the chair on the other side of the table with some milk and is crunching on an apple slice while “reading” Amelia Bedelia aloud from memory. That realization itself was enough to make our heads spin, even before we started reviewing our 2012 calendar.
Best Date Pre-Toddler: A leisurely hour at a bookstore, lengthy dinner at Molly Woo’s (local Asian bistro), and an engaging evening in the theater with a three-hour epic period-piece drama that wraps up around 11 p.m., if you stay to enjoy the 15 minutes of credits.
Best Date Post-Toddler: Early morning dash to a friend who graciously agreed to baby-sit, tearful departure (for Mom), mad dash into the theater for a 10 a.m. show, resisting the urge to compulsively check the phone for text messages about endless crying or emergency room visits, and darting out as the credits start in order to make it home for a hasty pre-nap lunch.
Best Bar Experience: Irish pub in Manhattan, for having sawdust on the floor and waiters who don’t give people strange looks for ordering veggie burgers.
Best Bar Experience (honorable mention): Gathering with Winterthur Fellows at Molly Pitcher’s in Manhattan during Americana Week. (Thanks to Matt Thurlow for starting this tradition!)
Worst Bar Experience: Nursing mother at home eyeing a lovely bottle of bourbon on the fridge, compliments of the aforementioned Mr. Thurlow.
Best Lecture Moment (Andrew): Rhode Island School of Design, where Andrew got to “blather on” for three hours about midwestern furniture.
Worst Lecture Moment (Andrew): Rhode Island School of Design, where a fire alarm sounded 20 minutes in—for an actual fire no less—and everyone had to stand in the snow for half an hour.
Restoration Priority Pre-Toddler: Cleaning paintings and replacing finials.
Restoration Priority Post-Toddler: Making sure everything that is supposed to lock actually does.
Best Place for Lunch in Williamsburg: Blue Talon Bistro, particularly if you have the New Orleans contingent at your table.
Worst Place for Lunch in Williamsburg: Wherever Andrew picked up the 24-hour bug that made him sick enough to miss out on the concluding dinner and, to add insult to injury, the annual gossip session at the Lodge bar.
Best Gift for Pregnant Wife Home Alone with Toddler for a Whole Week in February: Anything from the Wythe candy store, especially chocolate-covered s’mores.
Best Casual Dinner of the Year (tie): Pizza with Garth’s designer and marketing whiz Kellie Seltzer and her family, and friendly gathering at Pauline and Jim Eversmann’s.
Worst Diaper Ever: Schuylkill Expressway on the way to Center City for the Public Library Association conference.
Best Dad Ever: Andrew. Anytime it’s necessary to remove an article of your own clothing to swaddle your child to carry her through a hotel lobby in order to conceal a public health hazard, you win.
Best Attention-Getter: Dad on his own, with toddler, in the vicinity of children’s librarians.
Worst Toll System in the Universe: Chicago. Illinois might be broke and New York might not be much better off, but someone from the Illinois Department of Transportation needs to spend some time on the New York State Thruway. Yeesh.
Best Hotel Room Ever: Our hotel in Chicago for the Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair. Nora would still be there watching trains, buses, and boats.
Best Meal in Chicago: Dinner at a new friend’s house with sparkling conversation, a beautifully set table, and an elegant meal.
Best Meal in Chicago (honorable mention): Enjoying a plate of sweet potato fries with an 18-month-old while watching traffic and enjoying the Chicago skyline at twilight. (Disqualified if toddler sits in plate of fries.)
Dearest Friends Award: Katherine and Greg Sanford, who, despite long hours and a one-year-old of their own, swore up and down that they were “delighted” to watch Nora while Hollie participated in a panel discussion with Andrew. (Bonus points for also agreeing to a predeparture breakfast with two little ones and knowing all the best places to eat.)
Best Last-Minute Speaker: The graceful and generous Kathleen Wiechaus-Voss, who averted a crisis by filling in at the Midwest Antiques Forum in Cincinnati by sharing her fascinating findings on itinerant artist Ferdinand Brader. (More information about this fascinating man and the mystery of his life is available at the Web site for the 2014 exhibit [www.braderexhibit.com].)
Traveler of the Year Award: Tova Brandt, curator at the Danish Immigrant Museum, who traveled from Iowa when eight months pregnant to share her research at the Midwest Antiques Forum.
Traveler of the Year Award (honorable mention-tie): Nora, who was hustled in and out of hotels in Philadelphia, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, and various points in between, and Hollie, who, while pregnant, hustled Nora in and out of the aforementioned hotels.
Worst Case of Nerves: Hollie, before talking about the Midwest marketplace at the Midwest Antiques Forum.
Best Cure for Nerves: Nora, who punctuated the aforementioned lecture with frequent and loud requests for more cake and who demonstrated perfect comedic timing by waiting for everyone to finish laughing before shouting, “Funny!” and giggling.
Worst Navigational Experience: Trying to get east of railroad tracks in the mountains where all underpasses are 12'6" and the truck is 13'6".
Best Packing Job (otherwise known as Reward for Surviving Worst Navigational Experience): Derrik Wilson and Rob Manko, who helped Andrew haul eight corner cupboards (seven—seven of which were one-piece, and most of which were on the second floor) out of a house.
Best Perk for Beleaguered Spouse: A week in a charming cottage on the edge of Lake Erie while Andrew lectured at the Chautauqua Institution.
Most Generous Clients: The clients of Garth’s (Andrew’s employer) who offered up the aforementioned cottage for our use.
Citizen of the Year: Nora, who was obsessive about the daily cottage ritual of raising and lowering the flag.
Biggest Travel Accomplishment: Taking Nora to Niagara Falls.
Biggest Travel Accomplishment (honorable mention): Getting Andrew back into the United States.
Most Depressing Travel Moment: Realizing that “World of Pigeons” is no longer open! The Pennsylvania Turnpike became incredibly less interesting. Oh, wait....
Most Exhilarating Intellectual Moment: Having lunch with Jon Prown, Brock Jobe, and Sumpter Priddy.
Least Exhilarating Intellectual Moment: Reading Amelia Bedelia so often that a two-year-old could memorize the entire thing.
Finest Young Collector Marketing: Keeping a stash of old children’s books to pass out free to young visitors and their parents. A box lot of Little Golden Books can go a long way in the goodwill department. Bonus points for bringing books out to spouse waiting in van with tired toddler.
Worst Antiques Show to Miss: Deerfield. *sniff* (But we’re still not telling you where we stay!)
Best Excuse for Missing Garth’s 52nd Annual Thanksgiving Auction: Birth of a baby! Nat arrived the Friday before Thanksgiving, so Andrew missed the sale.
Worst Excuse for Missing Garth’s 52nd Annual Thanksgiving Auction: Anything else you were doing that kept you away!
Best Thing about Living in a One-Room Schoolhouse: You can hear a baby crying from anywhere in the house.
Worst Thing about Living in a One-Room Schoolhouse: You can hear a baby crying from anywhere in the house.
Finest Antique Christmas Present for a Little Girl: A “real china tea set with the pictures all in blue,” just like Frances the Badger has. Much love and thanks for Aunt Meems or, as you may know her, Mimi Morgan of Bryn Sion Antiques!
Finest Non-Antique Christmas Present for a Little Girl: Hooded Elmo blanket and Elmo slippers, meaning there are three more Elmos to serve at tea time. Much love and thanks for Granny, Poppy, Uncle Kelly, and Aunt Mary!
Best Way to Spend Christmas Eve: Watching a Christmas classic with your spouse who is holding a sleeping baby while your two-year-old sits between you holding your hand.
Best Way to Spend Christmas Eve (honorable mention): Reviewing all the amazing changes of the past year and realizing how much richer antiques and children—and all the craziness that goes with them—make your life.
We welcome ideas, tips, criticisms, and questions regarding “The Young Collector.” Andrew and Hollie may be reached by e-mail <email@example.com>, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/The YoungAntiquesCollectors), via their blog (www.youngantiquecollectors.com), or by writing The Young Collector, c/o Maine Antique Digest, PO Box 1429, Waldoboro, ME 04572.