... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

9 Husbands, 15,000 Pitchers, and 1 Mean Dog

Recently while exploring the South, I found myself for the first time in Chattanooga.  I had a day to myself, so I jumped an uber, destination unknown, as I asked my driver for suggestions. I got dropped off at a quaint restaurant across the street from a beautifully renovated Victorian house, the Houston Museum.  So after lunch, I wondered in.  I was greeted by a kind, senior lady and volunteer, Ms. Caroline, who told me for $9 she would take me on a guided tour.  Seeing that I didn’t need to return to the hotel until 4, I readily agreed.  I love antiques, my home and furnishings are filled with them, and I enjoy exploration of our past, so I was intrigued as Ms. Caroline shared the life, legend and legacy of on Anna Safley Houston.

Ms Houston was born in 1876 of extreme poverty always had an eye for the finest things in life.  I chuckled and said to Ms. Caroline, Anna sounded a lot like my mother. My sister and I often ponder how our mother knows the difference of vintage wares to fine collectibles.  In actuality, Ms. Houston was a hoarder with a discerning eye and as we toured through the turn of the century home, I saw many collectibles that my mom has – from Imari China to Wedgewood, and Lalique Crystals.   As anyone visiting this bounty, I  marveled that Anna Houston collected over 15,000 pitchers and in the midst had 9 husbands, but her steady mate for life was her mean side kick pooch.  Her collection alone is thought to be the largest in the world.

I learned about pickle jars, as no proper woman of that era would set a tables without the ornate holders.  I saw Tobbaco jars, locked sugar containers to keep the help and youngsters from indulging in the sweet stuff.

It is said that Anna Houston had the hardest time parting with her collectibles. So much so that during the last 15 years of her life, she lived in virtual poverty, sleeping on a cot with only her dog for company. When purchasers would inquire about buying items, she often refused.  When she died,  at age 75, she left behind this bounty and this important message: ‘Love many, Trust Few, and Always Paddle Your Own Canoe.