The Milkhouse Story

Our house was the last on a long road out of town. There was a barn, a Dutch colonial style house and near the driveway was an old milk house. The building housed my mother’s budding antique business, back in the early 1970s. My father, who happened to work in the milk industry, had the idea to name the business Milkhouse Antiques. I became my mother’s assistant on weekend excursions to yard sales and antique shows, perusing the want ads and navigating from house to house across the county maps.

My mother, a meticulous notetaker, kept volumes of handwritten journal entries of her inventory. I was never much of a notetaker but always there to help organize or pack for shows. When she was in the final weeks of her life, my mother and I would sit together making entries of recent purchases or sales into her inventory journal. She was quite a storyteller, and every object I held, she offered up some tiny nugget of insight into where it was made, who had owned it, or what it was used for.

I was in graduate school at that time, delving deep into my art and photography making and discovering what was meaningful and needing expression. In a moment of wanting connection, I asked my mother if I could take over her business she had built over 30 years. Her answer was an emphatic NO, and then she blessed me with affirmation that I am an artist and not meant to be an antique dealer, that this is just a vehicle we had for joyful connection. The entire contents of Milkhouse Antiques was sold in a estate auction over a weekend in 1997.

Now, many years later, I am delighted to bring forth the name and legacy of my mother. The stories of my family have been source material for my writing and art making for almost 20 years. It is my deepest desire to share the tools I have learned and investigate what matters most through writing and art. My mission is to co-create opportunities for others to cultivate creativity in their daily lives.
 

It is my deepest desire to share the tools I have learned and investigate what matters most through writing and art. My mission is to co-create opportunities for others to cultivate creativity in their daily lives.

—Lauren Rutten

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