SOME ANTIQUE STORES are cluttered, dark, musty smelling. I suppose you can say that’s part of the character, the ambiance, the what-do-you-expect in a collection of old stuff.
But I prefer browsing in bright spaces where antiques and collectibles are showcased in artsy and creative ways.
That’s exactly what I discovered at Antiques Oronoco, located along West Frontage Road off U.S. Highway 52 just north of Rochester.
My eye is drawn to vignettes, merchandise staged to focus my interest. It’s in the details. The angle of a book. A cozy corner. Colors purposely grouped. The unexpected.
Sure, the standard shelving of merchandise exists at Antiques Oronoco. But there’s a visual orderliness and poetry in between.
I asked the owner for permission to photograph and for a business card. She handed me her card and I recognized her name, Yvonne Cariveau, a duplicate name for her daughter Yvonne Cariveau, an accomplished poet and enthuser of all things poetry (ie. Mankato Poetry Walk & Ride and Image & the Word) whom I know from Mankato.
As you often hear, it’s a small world.
On this Saturday, an unplanned stop at Oronoco Antiques reminded me that poetry is about more than words. It’s about connections and a friendly, welcoming smile. It’s about family. It’s about the ability to embrace each day, even after a tragic loss. Yvonne’s husband (the younger Yvonne’s father) died in a foggy December morning crash when another vehicle ran a stop sign at a rural Wisconsin intersection and slammed into Gordy and Yvonne Cariveau’s van.
I hugged the elder Yvonne the afternoon of my visit as she worked with family to stage and photograph items in her antique store. She possesses a remarkable strength and grace. And that, too, is poetry.
FYI: April is National Poetry Month, a celebration of all things poetry. Seek out poetry in your daily life. It is everywhere. In a blooming crocus, in a baby’s smile, in asparagus clipped from your backyard patch, in a cardinal’s call, in the words you type…
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling