As a volunteer for more than 20 years at the Miriam Switching Post, I have loved seeing the evolution and growth of both the store and Miriam’s mission to help children. What keeps me volunteering every Tuesday is both my love of antiques and people. It has been very rewarding!
I first began as a volunteer here in 1993 after retiring from the Defense Mapping Agency where I worked for many years. I was also the first women to serve as a board member for their credit union for 14 years. I knew the manager at the store in Clayton on Forsythe Blvd. who originally asked me to volunteer. My adventure with Miriam began some 24 years ago and I have no plans to retire anytime soon.
My duties over the years have included everything from pricing and research, to estate sales and helping customers. In the days before the Internet, we did all of our research from books and we had our own library to help us.
I am always amazed at the incredible donations we get and what people buy. Once we had a huge wing back chair that I didn’t think would sell, but one day a very large man walked in and bought it on the spot! You just never know what is going to sell and that’s what makes it so much fun.
I have been at three locations of the Switching Post including the store in Clayton, the Big Bend store in Maplewood, and now our store in Brentwood. This location gives us the space we need and customers can easily find our merchandise.
I just love the mission of Miriam and how we help children at both the Miriam School and the new Miriam Academy high school. The students really get the attention they need at Miriam.
Over the years, I have collected some wonderful items and my home is full of great buys from the Switching Post. One of my favorite things to collect is chairs. I have at least eight chairs from the store including my kitchen table chairs which perfectly match my table. I also collect elephants with the trunks up (for good luck) and costume jewelry. I am wearing (in the photo) one of my favorite necklaces that I bought at the Switching Post some 20 years ago.
At 86-years-young, volunteering at the Switching Post keeps me moving, along with yard work and planting flowers, going to the theater, and my family and friends. I have made some wonderful long-term friendships through the Switching Post, and I love the volunteers and customers too. It’s truly a special place!
-Ellie Mandel, Miriam Switching Post Volunteer