Archive for October 15th, 2009

I know what you are thinking: “Sounds like a great story but what is the Lost Cowboy Found blog going to be about?”

Fair question.  I realize I am a nameless, faceless stranger to most of you, so the personal story may not resonate quite yet.  But I am confident over time as I tell the story you will come to care.  But yes, that is not compelling enough for you to bookmark my blog and visit regularly.

What my first two posts were about was setting the stage by exploring the inspiration for Lost Cowboy.  What I haven’t done is explain what is going to happen here.

When I bought that little “lost cowboy” at the flea market and when I experienced the joy of helping my mother share her collections with others, I had a revelation.  I realized that I had the ability to bring things out from the shadows for people to find anew or enjoy for the first time.  This prospect thrills me.

Many of the treasures my mother held so dear were packed away for years.  I watch as she lovingly held each one, like a child, and reluctantly gave it up to sell.  In the end, the reason she was able to give these things up was knowing that someone else will find, love and take care of them for the next generation or two.

Lost Cowboy will be about bringing things out from the attics, closets, barns and boxes and sharing them with the world. 

Lost Cowboy will find beauty in unexpected places and display art in the forgotten.  Lost Cowboy will recommend books, films, and artists and much more.  And soon, we will launch our own shop where some of our best “finds” will be offered for sale.

More than any of these things, Lost Cowboy will be about a sensibility honed over years and years of spending time with people who love people, places and things.  Lost Cowboy will be about finding lost treasures and new ways to use every day things.  It may be discovering a vintage button or a new jazz artist.  It may be about how to “repurpose” old milk bottles or recommending a restaurant in Central London.

Trust me, it will all make sense over time. 

If you have any questions – make a comment or send an email: curator@lostcowboyfound.com

A few weeks later in late September, a dear friend of mine invited me to go to Todd Farm in Rowley, MA.  The Todd Farm Flea Market is a seasonal show held on Sundays (April-November) where vendors set up to sell their wares.  My friend did not want to go to shop, she wanted to sell.

Here is where my inspirations come together.  My friend thought that I might want to join her to sell some of the many collectibles my mother had gathered over the years.  I promised the long story of cleaning out my parents’ house would be told over time, and it will, but here is the short version:

My parents, who have been married for over 50 years, are in the process of moving into a new home after decades of living in a rambling antique farmhouse in rural central New Hampshire.  The old house is filled to the gills with stuff.  All sorts of stuff.  Some of it is junk, some of it is just what you collect after living in one place for so long.  Then there are the treasures – the result of lives spent collecting.  As long as I can remember both of my parents collected things.  Just how much they collected and what the collected are now coming to light as we help them downsize.

A few dumpsters and truckloads to charity later, we are left with the fruits of my parents’ years going to auctions and tag sales.  My mother’s fear during this process was that we would just throw everything into the dumpster without considering the value.  She thought this because that is what we teased her about over the years.

So you can imagine the pure joy my mother demonstrated when I approached her with the idea of bringing some of her treasures to sell at the Todd Farm antique market. 

My mom, who had been sick all summer – part of the reason for the move – was so excited as we went through her collected gems to price for the sale.  The collection we chose ti start with was her lifelong collection of sewing collectibles.  My mother has always enjoyed sewing and everything about it.  She amassed hundreds of items from pin cushions, thimbles and buttons, to scissors and sewing birds.  Some worth pennies, others worth hundreds of dollars.tf

So there we were a couple of weeks later at 5:30 in the morning setting up our table in the dark of Todd Farm.  It turns out you need to get there early to get a good spot.  Even though we were told that the dealers are out early with their flashlights looking for deals, we were overwhelmed by the attention.  Within the first 30 minutes, more than half of the items I brought to sell – my mother’s treasures – were sold. 

We were just getting started.  After the dealers, the sun came out as did the serious buyers.  Later in the morning as the day finally warmed up, the casual buyers came.  By Noon most of what I brought to sell was sold.

Knowing what else my mother had waiting to sell, I turned to my friend at one point and said:  “my mother is sitting on a goldmine!”