The Wallpaper Store

The old sign from the Wallpaper Store

The old sign from the Wallpaper Store

I remember when my grandmother had a business selling wallpaper from the building across the street from her house on Main St. in Lodi. It wasn’t a store as much as it was a place where ancient wallpaper was stored with a sign on the door that said something along the lines of “If you want to buy some wallpaper, come across the street and knock on the door and if I’m there I’ll sell you some wallpaper.” I do remember someone arriving at the door once with such an intention. It was probably in the 80s sometime.

My grandmother’s wallpaper business was something she inherited from her father. He ran a bigger operation out of that building back when wallpaper was more ubiquitous in home decor. She also ran a millinery business in the same building before the wallpaper business. Why someone would give up fashioning stylish headpieces for boring old wallpaper I’ll never know. Maybe it was at the end of the hat era.¬†Last summer we found some ancient records from the wallpaper business among the piles of artifacts and other stuff.

Before the building’s incarnation as a wallpaper store it was accommodation for hired men who worked on my family’s farm. This is going back to the early part of the 20th century when my grandfather had a large commercial farm with crops and livestock. This building was given some cosmetic upgrades by my uncle in the 90s, but still has no indoor plumbing, as it dates back to the outhouse era.

In most recent history, the Wallpaper Store was my uncle’s art studio. He was an artist and art teacher at the Massachusetts College of Art and Designin Boston for 40 years and retired to Lodi in the mid-90s. Since my uncle’s passing about 3 years ago, the studio has become storage for his artwork as well as¬†accumulated furniture and stuff from the various properties.

This weekend we needed to ask a friend in Lodi to go in and turn on the heat in the studio because we don’t want the cold to ruin all of my uncle’s artwork or anything else that’s stored in there. The items stored in here now may not be valuable in the monetary sense, but precious in terms of our family legacy.