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Renaissance Marie Austin "My Story"

            My name is Renaissance Marie Austin and I have finally built up the courage to tell my story. But first, let me lay the groundwo...

For Sale | I Am Parting Ways with this Antique Steamer Trunk, but first the Story of Ms. Josephine Holloway

This true story begins with Ms. Josephine Holloway. By the time my family moved next door to her, she already seemed elderly in my 6 year old eyes. Because my father was a single father, and adamant about me spending time with upright female figures within our community, I began a journey with Ms Josephine Holloway, that started with the patter of my little feet exiting the front door of my home, crossing our driveway, and entering the side door of her home, which led to a small dimly lit kitchen. She treated me with orange marmalade pie and sometimes fried chicken. No matter the treat, I listened to her talk about life for hours. 

Her home was always clean and untouched, reflective of the early 1970’s. While I do not remember much of our conversations, I will never forget the years of crossing the driveway into her home, morphing from a little girl, into a teenager, then young lady. As a busy adult our correspondence turned into “hellos”, through her side kitchen window, which faced our driveway. Whenever we pulled up in a car, and she was clinking dishes around in her kitchen, we would sing, “Yooo, Hooo!”, and she would come right to the window to greet us. My father had a tradition of purchasing pretty brown bottles of Brandy for Ms. Holloway every Christmas. After his passing, I continued that tradition for some time. When she began forgetting who people were, I delivered the bottles of Brandy to her son Walter. When her condition progressed, Walter eventually moved in to take care of her. This was very difficult for him. He could not believe that the woman who birthed him could no longer remember who he was. We all watched him go through emotional stress taking care of Ms. Josephine.

Early one morning when the rain was just starting to fall, through my front window I caught Walter frustratingly dragging a vintage trunk out of his home and placing it on the curb. Because I watched The Antiques Roadshow regularly, I knew that the trunk possibly may have been of value. But also, I loved vintage items. I told him to bring the trunk over to my porch so that I could have it. He brought it over and said, “Here, it’s yours”. From there the trunk became the love of my life. I have had the trunk for almost 20 years and have used it vertically and horizontally as a magazine table. This trunk traveled with me to every city I lived in, my office, and boutique. It has added character to every space I have utilized.

This research project has been a great and fun learning experience. I tell you, I’m nerdy and fell down the rabbit hole of trunk land. So far down, I had to stop myself. When I initially received the trunk, the obvious was present. Upon examination I saw that it was an R.H. Macy’s & Co. Trunk. There was a shipping sticker on the trunk with the name of Edward E. Gurian & Co. The trunk had been shipped to an Alvarado address in Los Angeles. This information was all I understood about the trunk at the time. Now that I am praying for a good home for it, my deep dive has brought an interesting history connected to this trunk. Let’s get into it.

When I started researching, I realized there were some things I overlooked. I went back to my storage and examined the trunk a little closer. I could not believe that I never realized how important the locks and brass fixtures were. When I zoomed in, I saw an engraving on the main lock that read Everlasting Lock Co. D60. I learned that the number on the lock is the matching number on the key to the lock. While I do not have a key and the lock is not functional, a quick Google search landed me on an Ebay listing that had the exact numbered key that would potentially open my lock. Unfortunately, the most difficult part was me trying to find ample information about Everlasting Lock Co., which seems to be non-existent. I found that Everlasting Lock Co. was mostly attached to a Long or Atkinson & Long Trunk and Lock Manufacturing Company. Most vintage key and lock listings I found read either Atkinson & Long Everlasting Lock Co. or Everlasting & Long Lock Co, or Everlasting Atkinson & Long Manufacturing & Lock Co. I know. It’s so much right? Well, let’s break it down.

If I were to use the information I have and my intuition, it seems to me that it all began with the oldest company, Everlasting Lock Co. A small data find states that Everlasting Lock Co. was one of the top lock manufacturers of the mid to late 19th and early 20th centuries. Two inventors, Wallace E. Atkinson and Allen T. Long, both of Petersburg, VA, the businesses Virginia corporations, and whom I cannot confirm were ever connected to Everlasting Lock Co., seemed to rework this business repeatedly, interchanging the names between Everlasting, Long, Atkinson and Long, eventually becoming the Long Manufacturing Company who finally went out of business in 1995. Quote:

“Here's a lead on the history of the long lock mfg co of Petersburg Va and to the origins of your trunk from a 2015 story in 'The Richmond Times Dispatch'

The factory dates to the early 1900s when it was run by Rogers & Madison Trunk Co., a trunk maker, Jordan said. Long Manufacturing took over in the late 1920s or early 1930s, making trunk locks and keys primarily for the Seward Trunk Co., also in Petersburg and once one of the nation’s largest makers of steamer trunks and luggage.

The buildings for Long Manufacturing have been used for storage since the business shut down in 1995.”

Everlasting seemed to operate under these names up until around 1928 where the name Everlasting was phased out. After 1930, Atkinson & Long Trunk Manufacturing & Lock company continued operating well into the 1940s. From 1928 to 1936, one half of Atkinson & Long, Allen T. Long began filing patent applications for various kinds of locks. From trunk locks, to briefcase locks, foot lockers locks, and more. The rabbit hole gets deeper! Moving into the 1970’s and 80’s, the Atkinson & Long Company allegedly becomes the Long Manufacturing Co. who was then being assigned patents by none other than the other half of Atkinson & Long, Wallace E. Atkinson. It is only an assumption, but it is possible Atkinson may have been getting up in age and ready to back out of the business completely. From the 1950s to the 1970s Atkinson continued to assign nearly all but two of his patents to the Long Manufacturing Co.


This link talks about the Everlasting Lock Co. 1860 - 1900. https://picclick.com/Antique-Flat-Top-Steamer-Trunk-Coffee-Table-Storage-253722002851.html 

This link leads to two antique twin keys that have the same exact engraving of Everlasting Lock as my trunk lock has. These two keys are the only items I have found that are an exact engraving match.

Vintage Pair Of Everlasting Lock Co. T4552 Trunk Keys T4552 Similar To Long Co for Sale - CopBlock.org 

This link contains a full alphabetical list of all key manufacturing companies and their key numbers. Under the E section you will find that certain keys were solely manufactured under Everlasting Lock Co.

Antique Vintage Flat Keys (islandtrunkshop.com)

Let’s discuss Edward E. Gurian and Co., the company printed on the shipping label.They were based out of Chicago, Illinois and manufactured radio parts and car accessories. The company was started by two brothers some time before 1959, Meyer Gurian and Edward Gurian. One of the wives of the brothers helped create the policies for the company. The address the trunk was shipped to was an apartment building on Alvarado Blvd and it is still standing today. I am assuming that the trunk was shipped to Los Angeles for the Pacific Electric Trade Show, a three day event. This event was covered in Western Aviation Magazine, of which Edward E. Gurian & Co. was an exhibitor. The trade show occurred in February of 1962. It would make sense that the trunk came to Los Angeles in 1962 and the apartment on Alvarado is where they may have stayed. However, I cannot confirm this.  Unfortunately, Edward E. Gurian & Co. got into some trouble with the labor unions. This link will send you to a trial that took place between Edward E. Gurian & Co. and The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (August, 1960). I must say, it is a great read.


In 1969, we find another case between the company and an employee, Robert Gertz, who in 1963 entered into an oral employment agreement with Edward E. Gurian & Co. This is a good read as well and can be found here: https://www.casemine.com/judgement/us/591495c8add7b049345d50e6

The easiest find of all is Macy’s Inc. R.H. Macy opened his door in 1858 and soon after moved to Herald Square, NY in 1902. I ran across an R.H. Macy’s & Co. Inc. Herald Square edition trunk which I believe came before the other trunks. The Herald Square versions more than likely were manufactured after 1902 and before 1920. Perhaps these trunks are commemorative of the move. The department store operated as R.H. Macy’s & Co. Inc. for many years until the R.H. was dropped and Macy’s began operating as we know it today. Federated Department Stores was the Macy’s holding company which acquired many department stores that were started across the US in the early 20th century. While the R.H. was dropped it still covertly existed on paper as a corporation until Federated acquired it in 1994. Today, what was Federated department stores is now Macy’s Inc.


Finally, the National Genuine Hard Vulcanized Trunk Fibre label. This trunk emblem was the key determining factor that helped me date the trunk as accurately as possible. This link https://kennettcollaborative.org/stories/the-material-of-a-million-uses-the-history-of-nvf-in-kennett-square/ led me to an amazing blog post specifically about the National Vulcanized Fibre company which officially formed in 1922. It is safe to say I can at least date my trunk to around 1922. To summarize, the National Vulcanized Fibre Company was birthed out of the American Vulcanized Fibre Company, started by the Marshall brothers of the prominent Marshall family of Kennett Township, PA. I also discovered that the red symbol on the label is the most prized keystone symbol of Pennsylvania, better known as the Keystone State.

This link https://history.delaware.gov/2020/11/20/am-fibre-company-listed-in-national-register/ will lead you to information about the old American Vulcanized Fibre Company’s manufacturing site in Delaware before it became the National Vulcanized Fibre company. Overall, the company operated for about 100 years. 

This link will lead you to an amazing report about the National Vulcanized Fibre Company and the history, process, and manufacturing of vulcanized fibre.  https://digital.hagley.org/08040170_history_national_vulcanized#modal-close

My one conflicting thought about the National Vulcanized Fibre Company label and the Everlasting Lock engraving is that the dates do not seem to coincide. It is possible that the lock is older or taken from an older trunk and became the replacement of a broken or missing lock. Perhaps this is why the Everlasting lock does not perfectly snap into the closure and there is no original key. I cannot confirm this information, but it makes sense in my mind. To have an Everlasting Lock engraving with no attachment to Atkinson or Long tells me the lock itself may be older than the trunk.

Currently, I have no way of connecting how the vintage trunk came into the possession of Ms. Holloway. There is no marriage data. Only the address I have always known her to live at. I have never known her to have a husband or man around her house. She lived her life in solitude until her son Walter moved in with her during her bedridden years. A simple Google search showed me that she may still be alive and is 99 years old! I did not find death records or information.  Imagine spending time with an elderly woman from the age of 6 to the time of the passing of my father at age 14 and not really knowing anything about her at all. She never shared anything personal about herself and to this day remains a mystery to me.

Here is a little gem. The first time I ever opened the trunk I discovered an old newspaper with some interesting articles, of which I have misplaced, and this beautiful handmade skirt and jacket. A quick Google lens search indicates the skirt and jacket may be Haitian felt embroidery or a garment of Mexican or Afro-Mexican origin dating around the mid 1960s. I will be contacting the Craft and Folk Art Museum to find out more information about it.

I am now selling this antique R.H. Macy's &  Co. trunk, now 100 years old, for $300 or best offer. The report I have written will be printed and accompany the trunk. Please email me at renaissance.cornela.austin@gmail.com with offers or inquiries.

Thank you for reading!

P.S. I will just leave this one a mystery. Anything look familiar to you? Come on Everlasting... I mean Everlast, what is really going on here? Thoughts?


Renaissance Marie Austin | A New Job Offer and a New Me | Life Transitions and What Doja Cat Said

You should know that I was THAT girl who believed I could never be gutsy enough to cut my hair all off. For those of you who are used to wearing short hair all the time, this is perhaps a style preference. 

For me, it is not and it is no secret I started the year with a strong intent to heal from all of my trauma. I have been doing well, working hard to stay focused and the blessings have been more than I could have imagined! That includes the new job offer I accepted which puts me in a transitional state again. 

Part of that transition is the lesson I learned just a couple of days ago when the high stress points of my head went haywire. I have always had issues with thinning and thickening at times, depending on my stress levels, which I try hard to balance due to a chemical imbalance. My gut urged me to just chop it all off and to my surprise I was ready, willing, and excited about this! 

My brother was not, and suggested I try to restore my hair but there was no saving it. The water out in the desert literally ruined my hair making it crunchy and dry. Much of it had snapped unevenly. I had already cut 3 inches off in June but still. 

Finally he got his clippers and began shaving, and what a feeling of freedom. With each pass the stress left me more and more. Then I chuckled and said I look like Nia Long. She's always been my girl crush. Lol. By the end I was looking at a person I never thought I would see and I felt amazing.

My most recent lesson during this transition is this: Life and death cannot dwell and function successfully together. My living body stressed out and yelled at me to pull the plug on hair that was on its death bed. I released to began renewal and restoration!  This is not just about hair though, right? I let go of the last 2 years, the desert and its bad water and dry wind. I closed a final chapter to make room for the start of a new one. For change, growth and preparation for what's to come. 

For me, the head chakra is the most important. Life and health should dwell there both physically and mentally.

After cutting my hair, I ran across a You Tube short of Doja Cat talking about why she shaved her hair off. What she said about the gym, the braids, the wig cap, the wig, the beanie, all of these efforts just to look nice while working out hit home. We as women, do so much sometimes to stay on point, while men do not have to do so much in regards to their hair. I sense that as the world continues to change and constructs are broken, more of us will continue to become free and empowered. I feel amazing and like a queen.

Love, Ren

My Goodness. How Long Has It Been? I am Back and I Have a Lot to Say!

Like my new photo? I am smiling these days. Where do I even begin? First, don't laugh at me. I forgot I even had this blog. I know, I know. Crazy right? Well, currently, at this juncture, I am finally in a position to start writing again. It's an important time of major transition and I am back at my brother's house on the couch. But before I even talk about that, let me talk about the events of the last 7 months of which I will take subject by subject, as there is so much to talk about and in detail!

Let's start with healing from trauma. By now, perhaps, most of you have read my life story. It's featured right here on my blog. It may need updating. Nonetheless, it clearly outlines the trauma I have experienced from the age of five until now. Things have turned for the better though, because enlightenment has come to me in the most interesting ways and just in the past months alone. 

It all began January 1, 2022 after a series of events that took place over the holidays. Let me explain. My sister lost her mother between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2021. It was my first time spending the holidays with my her and niece as they had gone vegan because of me and over the course of the year we'd been spending time together, considering my sister was working from home and my niece was in the same position I was in, collecting aid from the state due to the pandemic. The three of us had been quite inseparable. They even added me to their podcast. The understanding was that when my sister's mom transitioned I would then move in and the three of us would continue on and thrive accordingly. That did not happen and it's all I am going to say about that. 

Want to know how to truly change your life and get a handle on your emotions and thoughts? Intention. There is more to the science of this intention of which I will write about in another post, but at the top of the year I made a very intentional decision to finally and fully heal from all the family and workplace trauma I had experienced over my life, and what happened over the holidays was the last straw for me. When I tell you I needed time, I NEEDED time. Time to process everything. I started with a 30 day hiatus from people and the world, to evaluate that particular situation as well as reflect on all that had happened to me. The good and bad.

It seems to me that if you are the type of person who strives to continuously improve from within, at some point in your life you will get to a place where letting go becomes uberly the most real it has ever been. Come January 1, 2022, I landed in that place. I was done with trying to hold on, feeling disappointed, angry, and being in denial about who and and what everyone truly was to me, both friends and family. I mean, I am telling you, I was tired. This was the finality of tired, of which I could not continue another year. Letting go meant that I was not going to cry or feel sad about what should or could have been. I was not going to allow past hurts to dictate my future plans or interactions with people crossing my path somewhere down the road. So, I got serious about my affirmations. I had been listening to them previously, but with distraction. This time, I set a goal of immersing myself deeply into my affirmations for 30 days giving them my full attention, and boy did I really see the power of energy, which is another subject I will talk specifically about another time. This goes to show that if there is no true intention behind something you are doing there may be no real results. I want to make sure I reiterate that I only saw a change in energy when I got focused, serious, and removed all distractions. 

Daily, upon waking up, throughout the hours, and during sleep, I played affirmations. I have very specific You Tube channels I follow because, again, energy is specialized. It is important that if you are going to involve yourself with affirmations and learn meditation you must first research hertz, sound frequency units, and have some knowledge of the ins and outs of meditation. You should know what you are doing. Fortunately, I learned sound frequency in music production in college and this knowledge was a gamechanger. Scientific data shows that sound frequencies biologically affect the human body in both positive and negative ways, which usually takes place through music consumption. Have you noticed how much sound baths, vibrations, calming and soothing music has grown in the past decade? You Tube has always been an outlet, but now we have apps and various tools to help positively charge our environments.  My goal was to raise my frequency by one, taking a break from listening to commercial music, including Billie's music. Lol. Yes, yall. I actually took a break from Billie. And two, taking in instrumental triumphant music in the mornings. This type of music made be feel mentally strong and victorious. I felt as though I could tackle the day with confidence and without worry. Thirdly, I consumed I AM affirmations I could either only listen to or repeat them out loud, although I found that most times it was best to just sit (I like standing) in silence and listen to the I AM affirmations. There is a time to repeat them, but I would say to listen to your gut on that one. Sometimes, we can distract ourselves by talking out loud. Another important factor about I AM affirmations is to make sure they match where you are mentally and spiritually at the given moment. You could write your own, but sometimes a person is not in the proper mental state to write their own while in the midst of healing. Besides, there are plenty of amazing I AM affirmations out there that will fit perfectly with where you are and take you to where you need to be. You need to search for what is right for you and create a playlist. I found that I AM affirmations gave me much focus in completing daily tasks, making me highly productive, and taking away feelings of frustration. Then finally, at night I would focus on deeper sub-bass frequencies that were soothing for sleeping. It is important to be mindful of the major and minor here. For me, I stuck with the major because it is lightweight and more positive, even at a lower hertz. Minor is usually sad and sultry. Great for a fire song, but not for the practice of healing. Truthfully, gaging various frequencies will help you become more aware of the energies that circulate throughout your system and the world. Look, if you are listening to a sound that makes you feel uneasy, find another sound that makes you feel good and stick with that one. Not everyone knows what they are doing and some people are purposely putting out dark frequencies because, well, we live in a world of dark and light and that's just the way it is. So, you will also learn how to differentiate between dark and light energies and hopefully operate in the light. One final note about my healing, is that instead of being sucked into the current state of world events, I wanted to be sucked out of all that was and still is happening. As an empath, I was overly affected by all that was going on and to save my mind it was important for me to literally rise above the fear and sensationalism of the world we live in. I will talk about this more later as this is a very detailed subject matter.

The affirmations had a positive affect on my daily life. I noticed how when I operated in peace and calm, I was treated differently. People waved at me and came up to me to tell me they noticed me and wanted to simply say hello. I smiled at people, made conversation, and focused on the current moment I was in. I noticed how blue the sky was and how pretty the clouds were. I people-watched and contemplated positively. I did not think ahead nor did I worry about the future. I kept up this practice daily without being deterred or shaken whatsoever. Then, fourteen days into January, something amazing happened. I received a text message from Support + Feed, the organization founded and started by Billie Eilish's mom, Maggie Baird. See, I had completely forgotten that I planted a seed sometime in October or early November when a text message went out calling for new volunteers. With no fear or expectation, I filled out a form and sent it off. Perhaps, it was two or three months that had gone by, but by January 16th, 2022, I was on a Zoom call hosted by Maggie Baird. Now I have already signed an NDA, so there's not much to share, really. I just want you guys to see what faith, harvest, and supernatural orchestration looks like. Now, this last statement is an essay within itself and I will be writing more about it later. For now, I confirm that I have been a Support + Feed volunteer since January 2022. A dream fulfilled. 

Let me conclude with this. We live and operate through circulating energy within and without. It is much deeper than you know. You and I have the ability to act and react according to energy. Not everything is in our control because we are here to experience lessons that help develop our spiritual being. We do not chose to be born nor do we choose the family we are born into. And don't get me wrong. There are some great families out there that have done right by their offspring for sure, but my story is my story and I am here to tell it. Hopefully, what I have to say will help someone. The letting go is just that. Whether someone is your blood relative or not, you have to let go of any and all strongholds no matter where they come from. If you do not, you can not move forward. I believe that my very intentional choice to heal and let go of what I believed my immediate family and friends should be to me, helped opened up the door to the this opportunity because I was engaged in a mental reset and preparing myself for the year's blessings. Keep in mind that even though I planted the seed, does not mean that I would have ever been contacted. I could have been completely ignored. It happens all the time. I believe it was meant for me to be contacted. I have now moved into a different phase of life because I chose to detach from what was keeping me stuck. Just know that the minute you become serious about healing, people act strangely funny. The truth is it was inside of them all along and they have always known the greatness inside of you hoping YOU will never know the greatness inside of you. Once you do, there is nothing they can do about it. Most of the family and friends you thought you knew will be long gone and you will be pushed into a new community of associates. 

Finally, I am excited to share more with you about all the happenings that have taken place over the past several months. I know I do not allow comments on this blog, but if anyone wants to privately share their thoughts about anything I write please feel free to email me at renaissance.cornela.austin@gmail.com.

Love, Ren