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Dairyland Antiques: Documenting a disappearing treasure

It’s hard for me to say how long I’ve loved this place. Since high school, at least. I would wander through looking for vintage scarves, bags, and costume jewelry, admiring furniture I had nowhere to put and no money to buy.

I once dragged Chad through it, stopping to show him a ring I really loved. We were 18. “I think this would be the perfect engagement ring,” I told him, totally without agenda.

He went back to Dairyland the spring I was in Spain, with his parents. The ring was still there. Marked down by now, just waiting. He bought it and brought it with him the second time he came to visit me. He carried it with him from State College to Philadelphia to Madrid to Salamanca to Granada to Barcelona, where he gave it to me. I then carried it from Barcelona to San Sebastian to Madrid, back to Philadelphia, and with me ever since. That was almost six years ago.

Later, I went with my mom to Dairyland during a winter break. She hadn’t bought me anything for my birthday yet, so I asked for a $17 full-length vintage wool coat. It’s still one of my favorite pieces of clothing. Some of the jewelry I found there is among the most-complimented things I own.

A few months ago, a fire broke out in part of the building. The antiques were all okay, but there was structural damage to the building and the owner decided to demolish it. The antique co-op’s last day is December 15.

I made it home a couple weeks ago and spent some time in the musty old space. I plan to go again over Thanksgiving.

It is huge and inviting. It used to be packed full of old things, but looks more sparse since the announcement. If I’m able to manage to tune out Rush Limbaugh’s incoherent babbling in the background, Dairyland is a totally delightful, almost meditative experience for me. I’ll miss it a lot (but not so much the talk radio that the vendors listen to all day).