The closing of Golden Past Antiques.

My Aunt Elaine has operated an antiques barn in New Hampshire for nearly five decades. It was tucked into the winding roads of Wolfeboro, in a rustic barn that doesn’t even show up properly on a GPS. Basically, you follow Route 109A until the urge to buy something unique hits you – then look to the side of the road, and there’s the antiques store.

That was Golden Past Antiques. All sorts of collectibles and treasures – everything from china to chairs, farm tools to fine art.

I’ve been there several times … in fact, if I’m involved in any emotional relationship with someone, I make it a point to bring them to Golden Past Antiques so that they can meet one of the few relatives with whom I still hold an emotional attachment.

My Aunt Elaine, holding up a recently acquired artwork from a nephew of hers.

Unfortunately, Golden Past Antiques is no more. And I’m bummed because of this.

The building itself – an old dairy barn – was in poor shape. And the building’s owner could no longer obtain fire insurance for the property. So at the end of the 2021 season, the building’s owner called it quits, and my Aunt Elaine was summarily put into retirement.

Ugh.

I have to say this. My Aunt Elaine did a helluva lot with that business. You don’t survive 47 years of national economic ups and downs, COVID and everything else without at least some idea of what you’re doing. And she made it through all those struggles.

But in the end, without some sort of fire insurance coverage, there was no way to properly protect that building. And it would have been too difficult to relocate the entire business to another property, although from what I understand, some of the inventory went to an auction house, and some other inventory is now on sale at a nearby community thrift store.

And I know my Aunt Elaine isn’t a happy retiree. It’s not like she planned to retire. She probably had a goal of operating Golden Past to her last living day. That being said, at least she had a support system in place for her new journeys in life.

I just hope that in those 47 years, anybody who ever shopped at Golden Past found something that brought them joy and happiness, whether it was a plate or a knicknack, a piece of jewelry or an old piece of furniture.

If we get to do what makes us happy – and we do it for as long as we can – then truly, that’s all we’re able to do in this crazy world.

I hope my Aunt Elaine enjoys her retirement.

Even if it wasn’t the type of retirement she expected.