While on our travel’s around Hartford County this weekend we stopped in at an Antique Shop in Collinsville, CT called Antique on the Farmington. The shop is located in an old factory and takes up both floors of the building. Chockfull of a variety of antiques from furniture to clothing.
I love going to Antique shops and on a few occasions we end up getting lucky and finding the perfect item at the perfect price. The husband and I had split up because he wanted to take photos of some of the old building surrounding the antique shop.
Eventually, he made his way back into the shop and I had pretty much just decided to hang out on the first floor and wait for him before heading to the second floor to check out what they had.
While we were up there we ended up splitting up again because I got sidetracked with one of the vendors who had a stack of old diaries dating from the 1930’s and 1940’s and we started to read them. Some just numbers others illegible and a few beautifully written in script. Eventually, after wandering around a bit looking at some amazing old stuff, we found each other in one of the back areas and we both looked at each other and almost at the same time said.. “Did you see the old Doctor’s bag????” at that moment we knew it was a find and we needed to take it home.
We headed back to the vendor space with the bag picked it up and walked off into the sunset.. or so you’d think.
The bag in all it’s beautiful glory was dirty and smelled old and musty but we took it home and opened it up to find an old photograph of a man and a dog. The dog’s name is Pal and according to the note on the back of the photo he was 9 weeks old and was a “Wild Indian but adorable in spite of his abominable manners.”
Although it was filthy and smelled the bag was intact and in working order. So I decided to make some leather cleaner aka vinegar, olive oil, and lavender oil and got to cleaning up the bag.
As I was cleaning the inside of the bag I came across a name written in marker R.B. Thayer, Jr. MD.
I snapped a picture and sent it to my husband who suggested I do a search and see if Dr. Thayer was still alive. So off I went in search of Dr. Thayer with no real expectations of finding any information on his life. But to my surprise, I not only found the information I found a lot of information on Dr. Thayer.
Dr. Ralph Bruce Thayer Jr. Born in 1922 died in 1997 at the age of 75. He was the Senior Vice President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Connecticut. A graduate of Yale University he was an Army Vet serving during WWII in the Medical Corp as a Captain.
Dr. Thayer served as a family doctor from 1949 to 1968 and one of his platforms during his lifetime was his goal of keeping medical cost low. Dr. Thayer had a wife, two sons and a daughter all survived him although one of his sons who was an award-winning photographer passed away in 2015. A lover of the arts, Dr. Thayer built his son a dark room in their attic when his son developed an interest in photography during elementary school the two worked together to develop the photos. I don’t have much information on his other two children although I assume they are both alive and well.
I’m not sure if Dr. Thayer is the man in the photo holding the puppy but, I have developed a new appreciation for this bag as it was the property of a man who clearly cared for his patients and his family.
It’s always an awesome feeling to find something and actually find a story behind it. I can imagine Dr. Thayer walking around the Enfield and Somers area carrying his bag and attending to his patients in their homes. Dr. Thayer thank you for the beautiful story your bag will be well cared for and you will be remembered.