I grew up in a family which dealt in antiques, every trip to the countryside often resulted in a purchase as did our vacations as well. This is a photo of my Dad at a major antiques show in London called The Grosvenor House Fair, held at the hotel on Park Lane in London in the ballroom, unfortunately the show is no longer in existence.
I did not want to be an antique dealer, I joined the British Army and went to Sandhurst, our equivalent of West Point after high school. But I had injured my back just before I went and I got medically discharged when it became apparent I could not continue with the training. My plan had been to be an officer then go into business as a management trainee. Plan one sunk.
Plan 2 go to college and train in hotel management. Well all the universities had started, so I had to fill my time for a year. My mother made that abundantly clear. So I applied for a job as a management trainee working in the city writing aviation insurance. I stuck it out for a long time, but it was not what I wanted, stuck in an office.
So, I went into the family business and I was good at what I did. When my father died suddenly I took over our gallery in London and traveled all over the world purchasing inventory. My brother was already in the USA and ran our gallery here.
To cut a long story short...we ended up splitting up the business, I moved my family to America in 1990 and lost everything. Our visas did not allow us to work here, other than for ourselves and we were in a Catch 22 situation as we had not been here long enough for any banks to feel comfortable lending to us for business purposes.
We won the Green Card Lottery and got green cards and that allowed us to work, Trudy became a Realtor and I carried on in the antiques field, selling advertising for an art and antiques magazine in Europe and working privately as a dealer. That came to an end when I was headhunted to manage a new antiques show in Florida. I moved down to West Palm Beach but things did not work out as planned and I moved home 6 months later having sold out the show and became a Realtor as well.
But to remain connected to antiques and the world of art I offered my services to a local charity, Surrey Services for Seniors which helps seniors to age in place. They provide a host of services and have lots of volunteers. I helped them establish an antiques show which runs every year in the fall and is one of their main fund raising events. I have been involved from the beginning and took over as chair and managing the event about 7 years ago. It has become established as one of the leading shows in the area and it has many dealers who travel from the mid-west and New England to participate. It takes lots of planning through the year, but it allows me to help a charity I believe in and stay in touch with a field I love. Over the weekend of the show from the Wednesday evening when we begin building the walls of the booths to Monday morning when the carpet is rolled up and taken away till the following year I probably walk about 24,000 steps a day according to my fitness tracker, covering many, many miles. I am always exhausted but on Opening night I see the transformation of this gymnasium where the show is held now at Cabrini University into this glittering wonderland, filled with people and wonderful objects that make you gasp with wonder.
Tickets are complimentary for the general admission, October 7 & 8 this year and can be obtained online, or book some for the Opening Night Party on October 6 it is a great evening and lots of fun for a worthwhile cause as well, book at www.MainLineAntiquesShow.com. You will not regret it and it will help us reach our goal for this year of raising $140,000. Last year we raised $130,000 and we want to exceed that this year. So book now.