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Treasure Hunting

Archive for May 2010

Vintage typewriter tribute

    Each of my four children - three of whom are grown - has a cell phone. They all have laptop computers. They can email, text, tweet or call if they want to reach their parents or siblings.
    But, occasionally, someone uses a more retro form of communication. They pause a minute as they go by and type a message on the vintage Smith Corona typewriter in the living room, leaving it there to be discovered.
    The small green typewriter belonged to my mother-in-law. She used it the way I now use my MAC. She wrote letters, paid bills and typed lists of things that needed to be done. Later, when she went upgraded, she replaced the manual with an IBM Selectric.
    At some point she passed along to me the portable, complete with travel case, user’s manual and a replacement ribbon. I put it on the secretary in my living room, as much a tribute to her as a decorative accessory.
    I’m always amused when I see a new line or two of print on the sheet of paper. I stop to see who was there last.
     Sometimes witty, often snarky and occasionally sweet, the messages   teach the typist that it wasn’t always as easy to put words on paper. No delete key. No cut and paste option. No easy-touch keyboard. Typewriting is work. It takes force. It takes patience. Typewriters demand our attention. It’s a lot of trouble to correct a mistake. Every composition is done one (peck) letter (peck) at (peck) a (peck) time (ding!)
    To my children, the typewriter on the desk is a toy. For me it is a reminder of a laborious class in high school. It is an echo of the sound of newsrooms when I was a student. It is a marker of just how much the world has changed.
    I can’t help but wonder if my children’s children will play with one of my old notebook computers, marveling at the clunky, out-of-date technology.
    I would love to know what kind of messages they will leave.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at

Funky Junk blues

I’d really hoped to make it over to Puyallup for the Funky Junk Sisters  Vintage Flea Market but too many work assignments got in the way. The shabby sisters have rounded up quite a list of vendors who’ve been scouting for all the sweet things collectors love to shop for. ( I’ll try not to think about that as I write and drive this weekend.)

The sisters brought in junk maven Sue Whitney, of JUNKMARKET Style, to do a couple of seminars. If you love repurposed salvage, you’ll love Sue. She wrote the book. Tickets to Sue’s seminars are still available.

I’m sorry I couldn’t make to the sale it but I have enjoyed looking at photos on their website and facebook page. It’s not too late if you’re in the mood for a beautiful drive and a little flea market fun. And, if you score a fabulous find, let me know. I’ll do a little “show and tell” on the blog.

Golden-age glamour in Whitefish

I just spent a couple of days in Whitefish, Montana surrounded by antiques and collectibles.

Whitefish, a 5-hour drive or 6-hour train ride from Spokane, is close enough to getaway for the weekend. I love the small-town feel and the proximity to Glacier National Park , just a 20-minute drive away. The scenery is beatiful, local dining is delicous and the places to stay are as varied as the people who visit.

This trip, I spent the night at the Garden Wall Inn. The Garden Wall has five guest rooms in what used to be the town’s finest residence.

Part of the Garden Wall Inn’s charm is that the heritage of the period house-turned-bed and breakfast is honored. Everything - from the furniture, to the china, to the linens on the beds, to the silver bud vase in the bathroom - is vintage.

If you love antiques and would love to incorporate them into every aspect of your home, Garden Wall owner, Rhonda Fitzgerald is a good example.

“I love all these pretty things,” she told me on my first visit to Whitefish as I admired her collection of vintage lamps in the living room. “And, in this kind of setting, anything else would be out of place.”

So true.

I’ll be writing more about Garden Wall Inn in my new Home Planet “Sweet Dreams” series, but thought I would give treasure hunters a first peek. So many of us would love to surround ourselves with one-of-a-kind vintage luxuries. A night at Garden Wall Inn lets anyone do exactly that.

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About this blog

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes about antiques and collectibles and the love of all things vintage. Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement, and she is The Spokesman-Review's female automobile reviewer. She is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country. Cheryl-Anne is the author of "Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons."

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