By RENΙE JEAN
Peggy Dreiling's first antique was something simple, maybe even something pink.
She had a friend from Wichita who was into that particular line of Depression era glass. They often would go "junking" together, chasing the next elusive piece to complete the set.
Finding new pieces for her friend was a fun challenge, and that's what lured the lifelong resident of Garden City into a hobby that has spanned 30 or more years. These days, her junking habit has slowed considerably, Dreiling admits, but that's not due to waning interest. Far from it. She has simply run out of space for more pieces.
And that is what has led her to open an antique store at 201 S. Main St. in Garden City, in a house she believes to be more than 100 years old. The store Loving Treasures opened Friday.
At first, Dreiling had thought the little house was just an inexpensive if dilapidated storage unit. But she soon noticed how beautiful the trim around the doors was, and how beautiful it would look with a fresh coat of paint. There was also an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling shelves in the kitchen she thought would look stunning painted and filled with Depression era glass.
That's when she realized she had not bought a storage unit after all. She had purchased a store a store that would specialize in Depression era glass and a few other odds and ends she's found along the way.
"Since the kids didn't want any of this stuff, I told my husband, Don, that I would just sell them all so I would have money to go buy some more!" she exclaimed. "I'm recycling!"
Her husband, she added, is good-natured about the venture.
"He collects fishing lures himself," she said, "so he can't say much."
She tapped her son-in-law to help her restore the house and breathe new life into it. They fixed the wiring, the plumbing and painted it in soft pastels, preparing it for a new life. They didn't, however, take away any of its functionality as a home. The kitchen is intact with a fully operational sink and stove.
Items have been arranged in the rooms you'd expect in someone's home. There are Mason jars on the kitchen shelves now, along with dark blue drinking glasses, decorative plates and more.
In the sunshine room, there's a dining table spread with a light-catching array of golden Tiara glassware. It looks like a complete set.
Dreiling reckons she comes by her collecting bug naturally. Her father, Burl Loving, has been featured in The Garden City Telegram for his own collections of beer cans, license plate tags and yard sticks.
"He always had a very colorful garage," she said. She named her store after her father, who turned 87 Friday the store's opening day. He was present for the occasion, and Dreiling invited family and friends to stop by and wish him a happy birthday.
Dreiling believes the house she has rescued may have quite a bit of history, and that junking urge has her chasing it down. She asked her dad about the property and learned that back in the 1940s he used the cedar tree planted out front as a marker because it was the tallest thing around in that part of town.
She's also talked to family members of former homeowners about a merry-go-round that people remember once sat out front. It was constructed by the father of the household for his children, and is still intact.
"I'd love to refurbish that and put it back out in the yard," she said.
Dreiling found a few items in the attic that may lead to more insights on the history of the home. One was a yellowed and crumbling newspaper dated 1912 The Yeoman Seninel out of Des Moines, Iowa. It was addressed to one Burtis, Arthur H. of Garden City.
There was also a stash of old letters, photographs of women and a nearly disintegrated corset. She's contacted family members of a former occupant, the late Sue Johnson, about those. "I think it should go to them," she said.
Dreiling is giddy and excited about her new venture. Opening the boxes of her junking treasures has been like Christmas.
"I don't recommend people box their treasures away like I did, though," she said. "You need to display your treasures and enjoy them!"
She recommends would-be collectors read up on the subject and begin to get knowledgeable about what is out there. "Find out what you like best and do whatever you enjoy," she said.
She believes finding something particularly valuable is just a matter of being at the right place at the right time, and knowing what you are looking at.
She's run across some particularly interesting items that way. That's how she found a $50 McCoy cookie jar she gave her sister, who is also collecting. She found the bottom a glass basket at one yard sale for a dollar, and eventually, at another, she found the lid for a dime.
Voila, a complete set, and a wonderful gift for her sister.
"That what makes this fun!" she said.
While Dreiling feels comfortable valuing her own items for sale, she does not plan to do appraisals for others. She's happy to look at yard sale finds for others, however.
"I love looking," she said. "Bring them by. I will be happy to help as much as I can."
She might even buy the item, she added, depending on what it is and whether it sparks her interest. She's also not opposed to selling a few items for folks on a consignment basis if there's room in the store.
Her hours are going to be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for now. She may change them in the summer.
Patrons of her new shop should not expect she'll be out of merchandise any time soon for consignment sales, however. She has two barns full of more stuff to move in as current items sell, and she's pretty sure she'll be out "junking" again before too long now that she's found the perfect way to make more room for new treasures.