I’m Maria and my story may be a little different than the others you have read. I’ll call it a Lincoln’s Hat cloud with a Silver Mica lining. This is a story about addiction, but I promise there is a happy ending.
People often ask if I really am the youngest of nine, the name of my business. I really am. There are 25 years between myself and my oldest sister. My father died suddenly, when my Mom was six months pregnant with me. So, it’s easy to understand that the dynamics and ties in our family may be a little different than most. When I came home from the hospital, my mother put me in the arms of my sister, Liz, who was 13 years older than me. A bond was born that day and she became my second mother. We were basically inseparable.
Liz was my hero and my dearest friend. She was the maid of honor in my wedding. For most of my life we were nearly joined at the hip. As it always does, life went on and moved forward. Unfortunately for Liz, it took a dark turn. Addiction is an ugly word with a complicated story. Liz fell into that life. Time and time again, I was there to pick up the pieces. Sadly after many years, there were too many pieces to pick up and addiction consumed her. She passed away two years ago.
Liz also loved “stuff.” She was a bit of a hoarder, but in the best possible way, and meticulously organized. She collected everything. When it was time to liquidate the contents of her home, I was at a loss. After two 5-day estate sales, there was still so much! A friend who had an antique booth suggested I get one to help sell off the remainder. I took her suggestion and ran with it. However, with all that was going on, I was struggling with insomnia. Every night, I’d wake up unable to sleep. I would get on line for hours and devour home decorating blogs. I was in love with all the painted furniture!
Last May, my husband and son took me to Virginia to a huge Antique and Home Decorating Fair. I was in heaven! There was so much painted furniture! While there, my husband and son met an American Paint Company retailer. They talked with her and bought a few sample pots of paint and a tin of wax. When we got back home they surprised me with the supplies and an old end table.
I painted that table and delivered it to my booth, and it sold the same day. By July, I was an American Paint Company retailer. Since then, I have been unstoppable. I have two booths upstairs in the Berlin Village Antique Mall in Berlin, Ohio. Usually, it takes many years to get a first floor spot in the mall, but just last week the owners opened a spot for me on the first floor. This is because of the success of American Paint Company paint and the furniture! I specialize in antiques, vintage, funky, salvage, repurposed, and of course American Paint Company products.
I have had a few careers and many jobs, but I have never been as happy, motivated, or focused as I have been since starting this business. It’s amazing how something as ugly as my sister’s addiction brought about such miraculous changes in my own life. Every dark cloud really does have a silver lining. Liz would be so proud.
Youngest of Nine Designs