Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Pinterest Icon Twitter Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video

The Shopkeeper

The Shopkeeper

Lady Hannah Rules
Past and Present at Paces Ferry Place

Plans - what plans? Leaving Bloomingdale's and New York City was not well thought out. My departure was an impulsive reaction to work burnout. Although I gave ample notice, I did not strategize my next steps. I was a do-then-deal person: a significant character flaw. It was not uncommon for me to allow an emotion to simmer, then bam - do it! And if I landed in chaos, it was my responsibility to navigate towards a sound resolution. Migraines, angst, and tears were a part of my life.  

Where do I land? Atlanta, Georgia. 

I arrive for an impromptu visit with my older twin sisters Carolyn and Marilyn - never did I consider moving there. New York City was my home. However, if I were to move anywhere, it would be Paris. I lived there before NYC and loved it.

My life in and the exodus from France is a story in itself and for another time. 

I am with my sisters driving slowly throughout Buckhead. It is spring, and the beautiful landscapes seduce me. We enter a quaint European-style shopping complex with a cobblestone hardscape tucked peacefully away from the main roads. I see a charming space that screams my name. I easily conceptualize my new world Past and Present: 1990-2006.

I sign a lease, travel internationally for merchandise, and promptly open. Creating specialty boutiques and transforming environments were part of my responsibility at Bloomingdale's, so the birth of Past and Present naturally evolves effortlessly. 

If only I remained Past and Present at Paces Ferry Place. What if this were my umbrella from which everything operated? Looking back, I love the idea. Did I expand too swiftly? Yes. Did I have the infrastructure? No.

It is normal to dwell on past mistakes, but overall, my business was a success. Oddly I think more about the original quaint 1800 square foot duplex shop than the expansion to international showrooms and boutiques in other cities. 

As for the special standout memory, it was Wine in the Window on Friday evenings. Lady Hannah, the shop's mistress, would lay comfortably nearby our gathering on top of a stack of three antique down-filled Aubusson pillows. I purchased each exclusively for her at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen. Was she spoiled? Absolutely! 

As I remember Past and Present, I have one main regret. I let a dear devoted friend and valuable employee leave the company. I listened to unfounded gossip rather than researching and understanding the facts. Until the day of his departure, he helped me grow the company. Had he stayed, we could have become partners in time - only I was blind to this possibility - He was not.

While I mourned his absence and the many possibilities we could have created, he moved on to new ventures and triumphs. Yes, I cheered for him but berated myself for my lack of wisdom and empathy. 


A Vignette Featuring: The Madura Daybed
Antiques and One-Of-A-Kind Decorative Accessories

In Memory of Pat, who died of Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS)

  • Post author
    Debra Levine

Comments on this post (6)

  • Nov 04, 2020

    Another beautifully written memoir.

    Our lives are frought with could have beens. Hopefully we grow from their lessons.

    — Muffy Lutzin

  • Nov 03, 2020

    Dear Debi,
    Growing up, old, or whatever we call it gives us perspective. Keep sharing your thoughts,
    in prose and poetry. I remember Bob!

    — Louise

  • Nov 02, 2020

    I love this memory. I loved that space too. I also love this picture of you and your little fur baby. It was the perfect place for you to lay new foundation. Yes, hindsight allows us to SEE the bigger picture.

    Sending lots of love your way.❤️

    — Marilyn

  • Nov 02, 2020

    Deb that was a beautiful shop!

    — Natalie

  • Nov 02, 2020

    Lessons learned…Wisdom gained 💙
    MM was the fly in that ointment…. 😌
    I love you and respect your astute
    Reflections on life and affirmation.
    Stay well and keep up the good work.

    — James con Kreuzberg

  • Nov 01, 2020

    Thank you for this opportunity to know you better Debra;
    You are a creative life-force and the world needs more exactly like you.

    — Heather Carey

Leave a comment