Maple leaves and witchy windows and wonderment—oh the joys of harvest time in Carthage!
Tough the parade has come and gone around our courthouse and down the hydrant-decorated Maple Leaf route, Tammy Wilson and her farmers market colleagues are still reliably appearing all bundled up and friendly to offer us autumn’s bounty gleaned from local crops and storehouses. They come to tempt our palettes and satisfy our cold-weather-hungry tumpkins, before we make our final stop to stock up on just one more bag of sugary Halloween candy.
All the while shop windows ringing around our historic Carthage square are bedecked with bewitching art as vibrant maple leaves mingle
While we lay in stores for trick-or-treaters and the small and youthful citizens of our community are getting costumed up for school parties and going from door-to-door down Grand Avenue, some are mindfully beginning a three-day observance of Allhallowtide—the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithful departed.
What better way to remember those passed over than to tell their stories? Yes, this is a storytelling time of year when we pass down family tales both fact and fiction—headless horsemen and folks-a-flyin’ all bound up with lace-encrusted ancestors and cracked photos of nameless children posed in most peculiar settings! Our local shop windows remind us of such carrying-ons, especially at Screen Door Antiques, aka Oldies and Oddities, Curiosities Unlimited on the Square’s west side at 331 South Main.
Come with me now and I’ll take you into this enchanting downtown venue owned and operated by Dana and Gary Reed with the help their family. With love for artistic aesthetics of color and texture, Dana brings in the design talents of her more than two dozen vendors and consignors.
Passing their story-filled, bewitching windows, we walk into a really good, living, breathing, bigger-than-life storybook overflowing with countless enchantments and wonders. Taking time to have a visit with Dana is one of the best wonders of all!
Raised in the Carolinas in an arty family of five, Dana as a very small girl dreamed of growing up and having her own magical shop—like the romanticized ones she saw in movies—filled with curiosities and collectibles. At age twelve she climbed onto a school bus with her music-minded parents and adventuresome siblings and their two cats. Off they went on their meanderings. Unlike the bygone “grand tours” that covered Europe in a year or two, their “grand tour” followed the coastline covering the southern states over several annums as they stretched out to Arizona then circled back to mid-America and Missouri. Kansas City then Springfield were their chosen ports of call.
While living her own road story (a genre favored by Dickens), Dana read voraciously. Throughout our conversation favorite authors kept popping up and dropping in—Poe and Steinbeck and Dickens among them. With her love for literature and language and story to know Dana became a teacher is no surprise. For twelve years while raising her family, she taught school.
Somewhere over her traveling miles and through her child-rearing years, Dana’s shop keeping dream faded away and was almost completely lost. Eventually she and her husband Gary leased a warehouse on Route 66, filled the space with vintage antiques and sold them. One day on the square in 2016, she pressed her nose against the plate glass window of the Screen Door’s storefront and thought, “I wish I had a shop like this”. They bought the store and then in 2018 they acquired Oldies and Oddities, Curiosities Unlimited (opened originally in 1991) and blended the two ventures.
Late one night, working alone after store hours while setting objects in yet another display installation, Dana realized, “I had a dream when I was a little girl. My dream has come true. I’m living my dream!” Walking into the Reeds’ store is like walking into a dreamy book. There’s so much to see, to discover, to investigate and study. The vast space is set up with nooks and crannies, each a different chapter, each leading to the next and somehow related as they go forward and backward and sometimes veer to one side or the other. They cover many genres: primitive, mid-century, farmhouse, reclaimed and repurposed, vintage, antique and even shabby chic, home décor and gift items.
Dana and Gary and all their staff aspire to be open and friendly, helpful and flexible—the best antique store in the four state area with price points and something special for everyone. They’re succeeding beautifully! I’m bewitched by the art of their windows and by their art-making of Dana’s childhood dream.
Don’t forget: “The Art of Quilting” exhibition remains on view at Hyde House through November 18th.