More roads less traveled...
As we traveled down the many interstates and state highways that bisect and dissect the countryside, my mother would often turn her gaze upon one of the other roads to one side or the other. The roads that would wind down under the interstate, or would disappear into far off groves of trees, or would work their way up hills. And she would point those roads out to my father and say, "I want to be on that road."
Growing up in the Great Plains of the USA, I knew those roads like the back of my hand. They were the roads that led us in and out of fields, along creeks, and to our neighbors' homes. As we drove those roads, we'd see the hand-painted, tacked-up signs of our neighbors, boasting "Fresh Eggs" or "Honey" or maybe even "Truck Parts". But my mother always knew the best ones said "Antiques" and those were the places worth every stop. Visiting those little antique shops on the road less traveled, I learned to love the aged needlework from times long gone.
On a working farm there wasn't much need for gorgeous needlework, but that doesn't mean it we didn't appreciate it. We salvaged and cherished what we could and lovingly placed it in the cedar chest, the highest honor in the house, to be returned to again and again.
My love of antiques and vintage needlepoint started early on these out-of-the-way roads with their hidden treasures.Even in this new era of selling antiques online, I still love to wander down the less traveled roads and stop at any hand-painted sign that boasts "Antiques". My roads have also taken me to antique malls, flea markets, and even upscale city antique stores--I love them all!
Like other survivors of the plains, our needlepoints may be battered, worn, and frayed at the edges, but they remain strong and beautiful.
Every needlepoint has a story to tell. Every piece carries with it the mark of the hands who painstakingly stitched it years ago. The colorful stitches, faded to a beautiful patina that only comes with time and love, provide a glimpse into the past, someone’s past. Maybe they learned to stitch at their grandmother’s knee, maybe they created this piece for someone special, maybe it was passed down from generation to generation. Though delicate in appearance, these needlepoints have resisted the ravages of time. Sometimes I am lucky enough to find a note or a date, but oftentimes their original stories have been lost.
It's time now to reopen the cedar chest and pull out all those treasured needlepoints from my travels.