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Antiques of a special kind

My Southern home from home - and bucket list item #67

My Southern home from home – and bucket list item #67

What’s the written version of being “speechless”?

Because that’s what I am. Really.

I’ve come to realize the more terrific of an experience, the more trouble I have articulating my thoughts and feelings.

So this happened. I am CEO of Phantom Screens. I check #67 off my Bucket List: to restore a house in the South.

I find the family who bought the house 100 years ahead of me. I invite Miss Myrt, the oldest living family member of age 92 to Mobile, Alabama for a Tea Party on the very porch she grew up on. She agrees to come all the way from California.

The happy reunion of best friends for 92 years

The happy reunion of best friends for 92 years

We surprise her best friend, Miss Katherine in Mobile, also 92 years old.

And I invite Miss Beverly, the CEO of our screen mesh manufacturer, Phifer, who is also a Southerner and an old friend of mine to join us for tea.

It all happened this past Wednesday.

To say it was magical is an understatement. Maybe more like surreal, unbelievable, beautiful, once in a lifetime. Those kind of words come to mind.

For me but for them too.

Afternoon tea on my Southern porch

Afternoon tea on my Southern porch

I’m not sure there is a much funner thing to do for someone who has lived a full, long, good life than giving them an experience that is brand new as well as creating a reunion of deep friendship.

I wish you could’ve all been there to see it and feel it with me.

I don’t know where my absolute fondness of old people came from but I got it bad. Maybe because I wish my parents were still with me.

I just want everyone to treat ‘antique’ people no differently than how we would treat an antique heirloom – with special care, precious admiration, respect for what they have seen and experienced and patience for the slower working parts or for the parts which don’t work any more.

Sitting a spell with two amazing Southern ladies

Sitting a spell with two amazing Southern ladies

It was hard to say good bye to them.

We’ve gone from acquaintances to feeling like family, bonded simply by sharing the same address at 257 Rapier Avenue, Mobile, Alabama.

So the next time you are behind a white-haired driver or waiting for a bent-over aged pedestrian, remind yourself of the value of that antique.

I am pretty sure a lot of you have a favorite ‘antique’ person you wish to celebrate too, right? I’d love to hear your stories about them in the comment section or email me at

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anonymous #

    they often say “if this house could talk”. Well in this case it still does

    May 19, 2015
  2. Esther, I would say that you’re restoring much more than just the old house. Loved this post!

    May 20, 2015
  3. This house was so destined to be yours. I can not imagine a better custodian to be its caretaker. Of it, and its stories. It found you and you found it.

    May 20, 2015
  4. I hope you will share a story or two that Miss Myrt shared of living in the house. Was she disappointed that you had gutted the place? Probably excited for all your plans. I love that you went out of your way to make this connection.

    June 1, 2015
  5. Michelle #


    Looks like things are coming along well. I am very happy for you.

    Thank you ever so much for the lovely emails when I was at the Mayo Clinic. Most importantly, then you for your kind works regarding the loss of my father. Your kindness is appreciated more than you’ll ever know. It helps when someone else feels your pain and takes the time to care.

    I don’t know how you did it but your emails came to me at the airport while I was entering Minnesota. I cried with gratitude. Looks like the south has already brought out the best in you!

    I lost your email to respond back to you so I hope you don’t mind me using this site.

    Michelle Pettit

    September 7, 2015
  6. This is one of your loveliest posts and as a reread it it brought tears to my eyes.
    What a warmhearted, generous thing you’ve done; bringing these treasured friends together for what might well be the last time. You and your friend are fortunate to have been there to hear the laughter and the stories I feel sure they told, I wish I could have been as I’m certain it was a lovely time! I too have a fondness for older people, (as well as old ‘things’), and never tire of the stories they’ll tell if someone will just listen. Great job!!

    January 27, 2016

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