Our individual careers and passions throughout life have included:
- ancient history teacher
- architectural historians
- English teacher
- graphic artist
- multicultural art teacher
These experiences have added a rich dimension to our abilities, helping us gain a better understanding of the context of each treasure we discover.
Some personality characteristics and skills, however, grace a person's life from the time they are young children...
How This Business Really Began
The foundation of our business really began back in 1955, when Chuck began collecting treasures in his little red Radio Flyer wagon, wearing his official Davy Crockett Rodeo Boots.
Chuck would walk his familiar Fresno, California, neighborhood- wagon in tow- pausing every now and then to carefully examine marching ants, wriggling caterpillars, or fluttering butterflies.
That kinship with wild creatures is something Chuck inherited from his maternal great-grandfather, Charles Colwell, an orphan who was known for conversing with and feeding wild crows in Pecos, Texas, as they trustingly perched on his shoulder.
From the time he could walk, Chuck has been Hunting and Gathering, 1955 style.
That primal skill is still strong within Chuck.
Now, instead of pulling a red wagon, Chuck can be heard returning from his Gatherings by the tell-tale crinkle of plastic bags acquired during his circuit of Thrift Shops.
By the way, Chuck's instinct is definitely genetic.
Here is his mom, Bobbi, proudly posing with him in our Disneyana booth at our very first Serendipity Show in Fresno.
A True Story
Back in the late 1950s, Chuck and his buddy, Steve, often explored the neighborhood together.
One day they discovered an impressive, towering piece of brass sticking out of the dirt at the house on the corner. It's purpose was a mystery, but clearly, the object was worthy of excavation.
What a prize that would be- surely their parents would be suitably impressed.
The boys dug and they pried, finally freeing their treasure from the grip of the earth.
Well, automatic sprinkler systems in those days were virtually unknown, so the boys had no idea they were actually dismantling the pride and joy of their neighbor's landscaping project- a brand new gleaming brass automatic sprinkler head, including the pipe and elbow that connected it to the irrigation system.
Chuck was a scrapper* from the start.
*Scrapper: one who collects scrap metal and sells it for a profit
After proudly presenting the bronze artifact to Steve's suddenly horrified mother, who immediately knew what it was, Steve's dad was called in to patch things up with the disgruntled neighbor.
Even that mishap did not quell Chuck's love of exploration and discovery.
Judith O'Donnell had a penchant for being a business entreprenuer since the age of about eight.
Establishing two bank accounts of her own in 1967, Judith was known to loan money to her older brother, John, whose clandestine purchases of cigarettes while technically still a minor frequently left him "strapped for cash."
She typed up legal contracts for him to sign, kept duplicate copies made with carbon paper, and charged him interest if (when) he was late with payments.
Unfortunately, she did not have a make-believe Collection Agency lined up for enforcement.
Pretty soon, Judith expanded her dynasty by pretending to be the owner of many imaginary and some real businesses, either as a sole proprietor, in partnership with her little brother, or most often with her best friend, Janette.
These endeavors included:
- J & J's Realty Company
- which happened to foretell the Real Estate Boom in Manhattan Beach years later
- J & J's Beanery
- serving up imaginary breakfast, lunch, & dinner to willing family members who were presented with a detailed check at the conclusion of their pretend meal; they often left a tip
- J & J's Babysitting Service
- profits from this lucrative venture actually compelled them to open a joint bank account to safeguard their fortune
- J & J's Dishwashing Service
- Hours spent washing stacks of dishes for the ladies who lunched at The Neptunian Club proved to be one of the most successful enterprises of all. They paid in cash. It was a good arrangement.
- J & J's Dog Walking Service * (See Note Below)
* (Note) The quick demise of this company coincided with a harrowing adventure involving a hyperactive dog that immediately broke loose from his leash and ran away at breakneck speed up the infamous "Laurel Avenue Hill".
(Which, at the time, was shaded with towering Eucalyptus trees and littered with their pungent, slippery leaves and fragrant seed pods)
Other ventures with her little brother, Kevin, included:
- J & K's Car Washing Company
- J & K's Detective Agency
- mostly spying on brother John; pretty much a full time job
- Lemonade Stand
- the beginning of her life-long interest in sign-making and effective display and advertising
- Fresh Picked Cherry Stand
- hastily incorporated after a family trip in the VW to the cherry orchards in Julian. A plethora of Queen Anne cherries elicited hopes of making a small fortune
Chuck and Judith- each one exhibiting inherent qualities which would later enable them to embark on a business adventure called "Antico."