Emma Monaco is the owner of The Gilded Lillie antique auction house in Rahway, New Jersey. Emma is also the proud owner of the martini lamp which is displayed behind the front counter of the Main Street shop.
Of the piles of history from floor to ceiling in that building, it was the martini lamp that drew my attention.
Of course, I offered to buy it, thinking everything has a price, but as a collector myself, I know that is not true. There was no price for this lamp.
“The lamp came from a friend who gave it to me as a gift because I have an antique house around the corner that’s over a hundred years old,” Emma told me. “And every weekend we would have a little get-together, and if the lamp was in the window, they knew that the party was on so they could stop by. So, I don’t want to sell it because if I ever get back there, the lamp will be in the window, and it was martini time.”
This lamp is the reminder and a trigger for the memories she has of a time treasured in her life.
“I used to have an antique shop there, upstairs. And in the summertime, we’d be in the driveway and we’d have martinis,” she said. “That was around five years ago. I still own the house. It’s up for sale.”
When that lamp was lit in the window, “Everybody would know to come over. They would know, it’s time for martinis,” she said. “We just played music. You know? We’d have fifteen to twenty people sit around the table, outside, under a tent, and people drive by and say, ‘Oh, is this a restaurant?’ And we’d say, ‘No, but if you bring your martini you can sit and join us.’”
The building is still there, up for sale, with candles in the window now, but the lamp will stay with her at the auction house and continue to serve as a pin on the timeline that is her life.