“I love the things that have history…the things that were well used, but also well cared for.”
Nola Barger, our Dealer of the Month, has been buying and selling in some capacity for over 30 years, and has two booths at Antiques Iowa. On a cold Tuesday night in January, she spent a few minutes chatting with me and showing off some of her favorite pieces.
Nola’s items reflect her love of old pieces with a rich past.
A vintage coat, undoubtedly worn many times to and from church.
Childrens’ toys, from a time when toyrooms and Walmart didn’t exist.
A 75 year old, hand painted chair from Mexico.
Quilts pieced together carefully, not purchased from a department store.
Vintage Valentines, to show your love.
Bright and fun kitchen furniture, straight out of Mayberry.
An antique treadle sewing machine, well-worn, but well cared for, too.
All of these items have a story, and dealers like Nola help share that story with others.
But Nola’s favorite piece, and the piece that might have the biggest story to tell, is this memory jug.
Memory jugs, also called Forget-me-not jugs, memory vessels, mourning jugs, spirit jars, ugly jars, whatnot jars and whimsy jars, were one way to memorialize a loved one after their death. They were popular during the Victorian era, but Nola guesses this one to be a bit older, from the mid 1800s. It is fascinating to examine the jug and imagine the life it represents.
Next time you visit Antiques Iowa, take a few minutes to appreciate all of the history within. From the everyday, well-used items, to the antique decorative treasures, everything we have tells a story of generations past.