on January 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Family ties her to ultimate love — antiques

The feeling of nostalgia incorporates several emotions. For Mary Alice Rawson, her love for antiques started at a young age, after the loss of her mother when she was just five years old. She stayed with grandparents and aunts for the majority of her childhood and remembers feeling that sense of comfort when she walked through their homes. The love of her family was certainly present, but there was something else.

“To me, the things in their homes meant love,” she said. “I’ve always liked the old things.”

And that appreciation for the “old things” hasn’t gone away. Rawson is 84 years old now and continues to run her beloved antique shop located two blocks from Pendleton Square. It was important to her and her husband, Bob, that they have a store connected to their house. That’s exactly what they got.

“I don’t charge myself rent,” she joked. “We moved from Iowa and have been here since 1980. We visited after seeing my son, his wife and my grandbaby Summer in Brunswick, Ga. I absolutely fell in love with Pendleton.”

The idea to open the antique shop occurred while they were still living in Iowa, she said. A church bazaar was planned, and Rawson and some friends began visiting local Salvation Army and Good Will stores to hunt “antique treasures.” From there, her collection grew as did her clientele.

“I had a great friend in Iowa who found us a home with a little shop attached while we were still living there,” she said. “He had an open house to introduce everyone, and people were interested in buying. I never in a million years thought that would happen, but we were open for 6 years before moving to South Carolina.”

Her business has been slowing a bit, with the bad economy, but she remains positive and happy to have her hands in something she loves so deeply, just like her family.

“My son James and his wife Margaret live in Greenville,” she said. “It’s so nice to have them close.”

Her granddaughter Summer is a fifth-grade teacher in Travelers Rest, and her other granddaughter Katie is attending Emory for her PhD. Now all grown up, Rawson remembers them as children with a knack for antiques just like she had.

“Katie would be in her high chair and say, ‘Grandma, I won’t want to use these dishes today. I want to use …’”, she said. “I love my dishes and place settings. If I were to ever move, I would need a dining room because I love the linen napkins, the dishes and the joy that takes place around the table.”

The collection in her antique shop reflects her passion for dishes, as there are numerous styles and sets to choose from.

“Katie would point to a certain set, and I would re-set the table with the style that she liked on a specific day,” she said. “Her dad would say I was spoiling her, but grandparents can do that.”

And even growing up during the depression, Rawson was determined to learn more about antiques. When she was 9 years old, she would mail out penny post cards to the Spode and Wedgewood china companies.

“They always advertised that if you mailed a postcard, they would send you free brochures of their products,” she said. “Everything was so pretty.”

Today Rawson competes with eBay and is learning about a generation that is getting older and not interested in collecting any more.

“It’s a different time,” she said. “But still, we remain a popular place for people to visit when they come for football games or are passing through from Florida.”

Rawson shows no signs of stopping any time soon. She is eternally grateful for the support of her own family and the many friends and families that continue to visit her and her antique shop throughout the years.