Who doesn’t love 5¢ taffy or the penny bubble gum that came wrapped in a cartoon? Today you pretty much need a second mortgage to buy a chocolate bar. And when you finally sidle up to the checkout to pay for your treasures, you are greeted by a modern-day cash register that is so complex it doubles as a launch platform for the Space Shuttle program.
Welcome back to The Hollow today, my friends, where we continue our photoblog series “The Antiques Toad Show” by showcasing images we captured when we visited the Metchosin Pioneer Museum on Vancouver Island last fall. Being related to folks who share the same passion as you do can sometimes open special doors, as was the case on this great day when our best friends Dad, heretofore known as The Curator, allowed us private access to the museum after hours for an extended photo-shoot.
Growing up as a little tadpole on the Canadian plains, I have vivid memories of me and my sister taking our allowance down to the corner store to buy a certain treat. To be honest, we just missed the age of 5¢ candy, but with that being said all the items we used to love so much were all well under a quarter. The trip itself to the corner store on foot or bike itself was part of the adventure. We’d find ourselves stopping frequently to partake in some side-adventure…
By the time we made the journey to and from the store, we felt like we spent the day on some wild Indiana Jones style adventure. Sure, we didn’t have to battle a pit full of venomous snakes, but that Garter snake we found in Mrs. Jones’ backyard was fun to chase around for a bit.
The day we visited the museum, I found myself drawn to this antique several times. It was as if it beckoned me to photograph it, like it thought itself very beautiful and wanted to be shown to the world. It was my pleasure to capitulate.
The rust, weathering and smudged dirty glass all serve to add character to the scene. Whose hands had danced about this register, ringing in various candies, treats and sundries over the years? Today’s modern registers make their presence known through a cacophony of bells, whistles and beeps. These old antique varieties made their own distinct noises; the keys being depressed, the numbers popping up in the view screen, the opening of the door… all actions that produced their own, immediately recognizable sounds. To me, all these sounds were comforting for some reason. Perhaps that direct connection with our past is somehow personified in the music that comes from such a wonderful old machine. I don’t really know for sure.
As I was busy taking in the scene and composing our shots, these two items were on display right in front of the cash register. These antique containers all have the hallmarks of years of love and use. Gentle wear marks and stains pepper the outsides, sharing a little of the stories that are held within. We don’t see many tins cans like this any more, and as I encounter things like this on my travels I tend to gravitate towards them. Do items like this hold a little of the energy of those who once owned them? In many cases, I feel they do. Not all items will readily share their stories, preferring to keep their secrets hidden within. But some items not only share this energy, we find, but in some cases they want to sing their song from the highest of mountains.
It’s all there for us to hear and enjoy, if only we open our minds and hearts.
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