I took a trip to a Wichita antique mall this past weekend to check out some aging Peabody memorabilia that might be suitable for the upcoming Peabody Main Street benefit auction where we sell all manner of things related to our community. An antique dealer friend contacted me in the fall and said he had been picking up items here and there and he thought I might be interested. I assured him I was.
Apparently he had several people on his list of buyers of Peabody merchandise because the collection was a tad short of the list he originally gave me. However, that was OK. I understand the game. I know that antique dealers are most loyal to the person who is there first with the money in hand. I was running a couple of months behind, so I could hardly expect the prize items to be waiting there with my name on them, right?
As usual, there were things I had seen before and things that were of interest because they were uncommon. The condition of his merchandise varied from pretty rough to like new. His biggest cache was a stack of sizeable business advertisements cut from a large canvas curtain. All the businesses were from the Burns, Florence, and Peabody back in the last century; probably from the 1940s or 1950s. Imagine that!
It turns out my dealer friend had purchased pieces of the stage curtain from the school house in the Summit district between here and Burns. School board members of the district sold advertising to businesses to pay for the stage curtain and hired an artist to paint the ads. In the small world category, I have to note that selling the contents of the Summit school house was one of the earliest auctions The Mister and I did after we started our auction business, and I remember the curtain.
I didn’t purchase any of the advertisements for the upcoming Main Street auction. However, I thought about it long and hard. That country school stage curtain with local advertisements is surely the last — there will never be anymore. That is a great selling point. Sadly, most of the ads were in poor shape for the asking price and most of the names on them were no longer pertinent to the people bidding and buying at the benefit auction.
However, I must tell you that it was painful to walk away from them. I hope someone somewhere stumbles across these pieces of history of a rural area that had all the hopes and dreams of being a thriving prairie community. I hope that person purchases them and treasures the history they represent.
— SUSAN MARSHALL