As Easter Rolls Around, My ‘Season Of Fun’ Draws To A Close


When March comes to a close, so does my annual “Season of Fun” at my antiques shop.

My “Season of Fun” begins in late August, at the very first moment I can justify decorating my stores for Halloween. All year, I collect unusual and neglected “inventory,” and, when I finally get to put it all together, it is quite stunning — fish skeletons hanging down over the cash register, antique doll heads piled high in clay bowls, battered broomsticks and a golf ball wrapped in gold foil playing a ghostly game of Quidditch across the ceiling. Customers come from miles around just to see what nonsense I’ve gathered up during the year, and I love it It’s fun!

Even while the Halloween stuff is still being sold, I bring out the Thanksgiving stuff — plates, platters, bowls and pitchers — and set it up like we’re all about to sit down to dinner. Gravy boats and butter dishes are big sellers, because us everyday people just ladle gravy out of the pot and use butter right out of the waxed paper wrapper. It isn’t until we’re having company that we even think about putting those two things on display.

Christmas is big. You’re bombarded with red and green at every turn. My store is no different. From the tiniest elf to the tallest reindeer, it’s all there. The “good ol’ stuff” is sporting some patina — rust, scuffs or fading — that makes it even more endearing (at least to me and my fellow antique enthusiasts).

And when the snow has settled, it’s time for New Year’s Eve. We decorate with clocks and calendars and champagne glasses — all for sale, even as they offer the grim reminder that time is fleeting.

And it is. Take one big breath, and it’s time for Valentine’s Day. New Year’s resolutions go out the window as we ply each other with beautiful love-shaped boxes of candy and (I hope) vintage valentines dripping with lace.

This month, half the store is swathed in green as St. Patrick’s Day looms on the horizon and, right behind it, an early Easter on March 31. Look to the left and there are beer mugs and top hats. Look to the right and see pastel bunnies and chicks.

April Fool’s Day — the anniversary date of my store opening (which tells you a lot) — signals the return of sanity. Everything settles down into traditional antiques like crocks and wagon wheels, old bottles and fancy doilies. I try to keep it interesting by bringing in things like century-old ticker tape machines and 1950s advertising displays but — except for a red, white and blue burst of fun around the Fourth of July — things get pretty sedate.

Loyal customers keep us going, and collectors will always be looking for things to enhance their collections, but mostly I spend the summer waiting for fall. And I’m not alone. Around Aug. 1, while normal people are at the beach or theme parks, those who share my obsession will come up to the counter and whisper, “When’s the Halloween stuff coming out?”

And I will whisper back, “Is next week too soon?”