Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A New Beginning Part 3

It was a crisp day. Emma and Lily were on their way to Camden Corners to check out the Antique Store that was for sale. They were both so full of anticipation and in their hearts they knew this venture would be a turning point in their lives. Emma was grieving for her grandfather and Lily was searching for adventure. Being Emma’s friend for all of her 22 years she had tagged along on enough of Grandpa’s treasure finds that she was able to spot a genuine antique when she saw one. She didn’t realize this at the time, but she had seen some beautiful pieces of furniture being transported from the old general store in Greensboro to the Fulbright farm and instinctively knew that some of those items were valuable. Lily had a good head for business and was the head of new accounts at the Community Savings Bank. She wasn’t unhappy in her job but she was looking for a little more excitement than she was finding in Greensboro. She found herself restless and dreaming of hopping a freight car and traveling out west to discover gold. She knew this wasn’t going to happen but it was fun to dream. Young women her age didn’t seek adventure, they were happy to settle down with a kind man and give her life to caring for him and raising his children. It wasn’t that she was lacking male attention. She had several would be beaus but none of them were of interest to Lily. Emma on the other hand wasn’t looking for adventure. She was happiest when she was scouring the vacated buildings and homes near the river. The spring floods and lack of work had driven most of the river dwellers from their sparse homes. Because they would leave in a hurry thanks to Mr. Harvey Wilson who was always at their door looking for his rent money, they would leave behind some of their most prized possessions. Emma would gather up all she could find and bring them home with her posting a note by the post office window in case one of the vagabonds happened to see it and wanted to claim their forgotten items.
The ladies finally arrived in Camden Corners and both were enchanted with the quaint village at first sight. Emma spotted the antique shop and knew this was her destiny. They hopped out of the buggy and gingerly approached the front door. Within a couple of minutes, a petite lovely woman who was obviously with child greeted them. She introduced herself as Edwina Van Dyke, sole proprietor of Looking Back Antique Shop. She invited the girls into the shop. They were overjoyed at first sight. Miss Edwina Smythe had owned the shop for 15 years after her parents had passed on and she was beginning to feel as though she was one of the antiques she was always trying to sell. It was in early January of the previous year when Mr. Wallace Van Dyke entered her store to purchase a settee for his ailing mother. Edwina and Wallace were immediately smitten with each other. Wallace sought out Miss Edwina’s only remaining male relative, her Uncle Clarence and asked if he may be allowed to court the fair Miss Edwina. They were united in marriage on Valentine’s Day and the following month Edwina was expecting their first child. Edwina’s inventory was somewhat diminished as she had other things on her mind. She was willing to sell the building and all of it’s contents for a price that was well within Emma and Lily’s budget and before they left the store, they had reached an agreement. Emma and Lily were beside themselves with excitement. Both knew they had taken a risk but both felt it was a risk worth taking.
Everything happened quickly after that. Edwina was anxious to finalize the sale of the shop in order to be home to await the birth of her baby. Emma and Lily were anxious to start their business. They were delighted with the design of the store. The shop had a bay window with ample room for several small tables that would be perfect for serving dainty desserts and sweets with a cup of tea in the afternoon. The girls toiled all through the summer into the fall fixing up the shop just the way they wanted it with new wallpaper and sparkling woodwork, new fixtures and an intimate, cozy tea room. They had arranged with Diana of Warm Hearth Bakery and Maddie from Tempting Treats Candies who were delighted the girls chose their establishments to provide sweets for their customers. After the shop was just the way they wanted it, they started making daily trips to Greensboro to select pieces from Amos’ collection. They were surprised to discover a beautiful mahogany Chippendale dining set, several Louis Phillipe fruit wood chairs and a Gothic revival tapestry settee. They cleaned and polished each piece lovingly and were rewarded with the beautiful results. There were full sets of Mason dishes in the Belvedere pattern, several sterling silver cigarette cards, an 18K Fusee pocket watch, every box and crate seemed to hold something unusual and valuable.
Uncle Jonas had been a farmer all his life but his hobby was repairing and refurbishing furniture. Ethel was an excellent seamstress and even with her eyesight not what it use to be, she could repair any piece of fabric to make it look like new. They were willing and more than anxious to lend a hand and their expertise as each piece was lovingly repaired and readied for display at the shop. Emma remembered the old cash register Mr. Warren had given her from Grandpa’s store. Emma cleaned and polish the old relic and found that it was a beautiful addition to the counter in the new store. It made her happy to know that a little part of Patterson’s General Store would now be with her in Camden Corners.  
Check back tomorrow to see what happens when the Antique Shop is "Open For Business".  The entire Camden Corners series is available on smashwords.com; Kindle & Nook.

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