By Judy Garrison
There is a story to how Debbie and Bob Abbate happened to amass their glass and pottery collections, some of which are now represented in the delightful pop-up store at the back right at Paisleys at 75 Main Street in Andes.
So here—entwined with a bit of personal history—it is. When Deb was a sophomore and Bob a junior at Deer Park High School on Long Island, they were introduced to Depression glass collecting by a married couple who were family friends. They traveled together to the famed Brimfield, Massachusetts, with its miles of fields set up with antiques and collectibles dealers as well as to other venues in New York, Pennsylvania and New England. “It was so enjoyable combining our friendship with something we all loved to do together. Afterwards we were excited to share our special ‘finds’ and treasures,” she says. It became a hobby and pastime this boyfriend and girlfriend (and later married couple) loved to do together. I suspect that Deb, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) was primarily driven by the design and aesthetic aspects and Bob by the hunt for rare pieces.
Featured at Transfer in Time:
- Depression glass: by the piece or set
- Vintage & mid-century ware
- Romantic & courtship prints and postcard prints
- Collectibles for the table
- Occasional pieces of furniture
When Debbie and Bob became engaged to be married they also started buying antique furniture, with a focus on country style oak from the same era as Depression glass: the late 1920s through the 1930s. Once their collection had become substantial they joined the Long Island Depression Glass Society, a time in the mid-late 1970s that coincided with an antiquing mania in America. TimeLife Books decided to publish an Encyclopedia of Collectibles and contacted the LIDG Society in order to feature one of their members. Bob and Deb were chosen, not only for their collection, examples of which were photographed for the multi-page article, but because the editors loved their story: They were engaged and collecting together!!
Deb remodeled her kitchen in the early ‘90s and developed a new collecting focus, on transferware (originally hand painted scenes that were transferred by machine print and which was now undergoing a revival), particularly the blue and white English transferware depicting pastoral scenes. Life offers new adventures, and collecting took a back seat to family once their children were born. In 2003-4 they started up again and now could afford to purchase rare pieces.
At the end of 1987, living in Sayville on the south shore of Long Island, they bought a vacation house and property in Andes. Their daughter Tiffany was 5 in 1988 when son, Ryan, was born. The whole family loved Andes and immediately started to spend most weekends and all of their vacation time here. Deciding this was where they wanted to retire—Bob, a corporate accountant and Deb a dance teacher bought another home, just up the mountain from their original cabin on Kovba Road and settled here permanently in 2013. They are both very involved in the community. Many know Debbie from the ASHC Thrift Shop where she has volunteered for 10 years.
Because Debbie and Bob are ready to let much of their collections go at this stage of their lives, things are priced very reasonably. Debbie enjoys sharing stories and information (including through the reference books on hand for customers to consult) and someone with a particular interest can call her at home to arrange a time to meet at the store. Otherwise, store hours are weekends and holiday Mondays, 11-5 as long as Paisleys continues to be open. Debbie offers that having an antique store has been a life-long dream since she graduated from F.I.T. Her shop here may not relate to her fashion education, but it certainly does to her merchandising background. For my part, I am thrilled with the enhancement to my store’s space, the spark Debbie’s presence adds, and the ease with which we are able to spot each other when the other one is absent.~