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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Treasure Hunting

Something old, something new

Our homes mirror the stages of our lives. The rooms I live in now don't resemble the funky, hand-me-down interior of my first apartment, our first house or even the places we lived when the children were small. As my children grew up, the practical, scrubbable and, in some cases disposable, furniture and accessories we had when there were little hands and mouths everywhere, were slowly replaced with better fabrics and vintage pieces. The toybox was filled with magazines or pillows. The candlesticks and pottery were back on the coffee table.

Of course, change is the constant in every life and every family.

Now, with a grandbaby that spends a few days each week here with me, I had to take a closer look at some of the older things that were around the house. One piece in particular, an old bench, sat by the door ready for my purse or a stack of magazines. It was a rustic, handmade little bench that had obviously spent a lot of time outdoors. Looking at it from a caretaker's perspective, it was, although quaint and timeworn, a splintery, tippable and completely unsuitable perch for a baby who will be crawling soon enough. And, for all I know, the little bit of paint that was still clinging to the splintery wood was lead-based and dangerous.

So, the bench is back in the garden. And, as luck would have it, I was able to replace it when I spotted a nice, not-so-old, piece at Roost Antiques. I hadn't set out to go shopping but I had 30 free minutes, a couple of quarters for the parking meter and absolutely no idea that the first thing I'd spot was exactly what I needed. The right color, the right look and the right price. With meter-time to spare I put it in the car and brought it home.

Babies don't stay babies forever. When the time is right the old things can come back. For now, not-so-old is good enough.

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."