Lauren said while growing up in Athens, one of her favorite things was taking art classes on Saturday mornings at her neighbor Joseph Whitt’s house.
“I’ve been lugging my ‘masterpieces’ around for nearly my whole life,” she said.
Once she got her driver’s license, her homegrown love of Limestone County grew.
“I liked to drive around and around, especially out near the river in Cairo,” she said. “I would stop at Sportsman’s Park and get a sandwich or something from that little gas station.”
She also enjoyed entering old, abandoned and dilapidated farmhouses.
“I still have the photos some friends and I took of some of the windows, roof lines, architectural accents, things left behind,” she said.
Lauren also remembers her days spent in antique stores with her mom. One in Decatur stands out because she remembers it had an upstairs.
“I specifically remember walking around by myself as a kid and feeling this totally groovy, spooky-in-a-good-way feeling,” she said. “I couldn’t quit thinking about.” She wondered, who bought this stuff originally? When was it new? What is that smell? What did the store look like? How much did they pay for it? Why did they want it? Why did they get rid of it?
She believes that is why so many people can relate “American Pickers.”
“We all have things we love,” she said. “Things we wish we hadn’t given away. Things we’ve lost and now want to find again. Or, a kooky neighbor who has too much stuff in the yard. There are so many stories behind a thing.”
One of those “things” Lauren held onto is a “really old” four-blade metal fan she bought from a multifamily yard sale on U.S. 72, traveling toward Lucy’s Branch. “I remember I paid $5 for it, which seemed like a lot at the time,” she said. “It’s been on display in every house and apartment I’ve lived in.”