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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Treasure Hunting

Flying 48 stars for her Independence Day

Vintage 48-star flag (Cheryl-Anne Millsap / Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)
Vintage 48-star flag (Cheryl-Anne Millsap / Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)  


   I really thought I’d sold or given away the old 48-star United States flag I picked up at an estate sale years ago.  I hadn’t seen the flag since we downsized six years ago, so I assumed it didn’t make the move. But last week I was rummaging through a box on one of the shelves in the garage and there it was.

    Using old upholstery tacks I hung it on the cedar shingles of the house, over the metal gliders that sit in a favorite corner near the covered patio, a place I like to sit early in the morning or in the cool of the evening. I liked the way it lifted in the breeze, when there was a breeze, and fluttered a bit. We didn’t have any big plans for the 4th of July, just grilling hamburgers on the patio with the family, so I decided the vintage cotton flag--made sometime between 1912 and 1959, before the addition of Hawaii and Alaska--was all the decoration we needed.

    I left it up for a few days after the 4th of July because my daughter, the new college graduate, would be home later in the week as she made her way over to Seattle to complete a week of specialized training for her new job as a geologist. That night, before she flew out the next morning, after another patio meal, we talked about her new job and her new life and celebrated her launch into the adult world.

   Before she left I snapped a photo of her sitting in the place I spend so many quite moments. In the photograph the flag is hanging over her marking, at least in my mind, yet another kind of independence day.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Spokesman-Review Home Planet and Treasure Hunting columns and blogs and her CAMera: Travel and Photo blog, 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

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."