The Lainie Collection
When Mr. Larry Koolkin first messaged me about some vintage jewelry he needed to find a home for, I had no idea what lay waiting for me. He told me he had visited the bus a time or two the year prior, and knew I had a love for restoring and repurposing vintage things. He proceeded to tell me that his late wife, Lainie, who passed away in September 2016 from cancer, had been an avid collector of all things unusual, quirky and vintage- specifically jewelry.
I met Mr. Koolkin at his beautiful home on a quiet, quaint little street in downtown Beaufort. Upon walking into the house, I was immediately overcome with nostalgia, and some of the coolest decor I'd ever seen- so effortlessly collected and well-put together. The many items around the house were from worldly travels he and his wife had collected on their many journeys. Mr. Koolkin allowed my husband and myself to sit at his raw copper dining table and sift through Lainie's personal collection. As I sorted through trinkets and treasures, exquisite tiny pieces of wearable art, and gazed upon a gorgeous antiqued wood mirror Lainie had covered in the teeniest tiny silver Mexican charms, I could just feel the love and her spirit all around me. Have you ever had the immaculate opportunity of looking through someone's personal belongings and felt the connection that you would have been great friends- kindred spirits, even? That's what I felt that day.
Mr. Koolkin allowed me to make a mound of the items I wanted for nearly an hour. I thanked him over and over for the opportunity, and I headed home with pounds of Lainie's collection. A few days later I finally had the opportunity to look through her items again. I like to do this when I'm home alone and can really take in the entirety of the essence, and who she was. The more I looked through my new treasures again, the more I just had to know about her. I searched her name and was astounded at who she was. I began to cry and ponder the best way I could honor her; after all, I felt like I knew her and wished so badly that I could have.
I quickly messaged Mr. Koolkin and told him of my plans to release small collections with Lainie's things, and wanted them to benefit a charity that Lainie would have wanted. In lieu of flowers during Lainie's passing, it was chosen to have donations made to Friends of Caroline Hospice, a charity that I can definitely agree helps to make a difference in our small town. They were there for Lainie in her last days, and with these limited collections (each piece carefully composed with her unique finds) I hope Lainie can be both remembered and honored through their work. A percentage of each and every sale from The Lainie Collection will benefit Friends of Caroline Hospice.
"Lainie Koolkin graduated from Mt. Saint Joseph Academy in 1967, received an Associate's degree in Psychology from Middlesex Community College in 1976, a BA from Emerson College in 1978, an MA from Vermont College in 1982, a PhD in Behavioral Psychology from Northeastern University in 1996, then completed a post doctoral fellowship as a pain psychologist at Boston's Spaulding Rehab Hospital.
Lainie met Larry Koolkin in 1973; they were married in 1978, and lived together for 43 years in Massachusetts, Texas, Bermuda, and Vermont before retiring to South Carolina in 2014.
As well as a career in private practice as a Pain Psychologist, Lainie was also a teaching and clinical faculty member at both Harvard Medical School and Tufts Dental School. In retirement she remained active; volunteering with Main Street Beaufort, as co-founder and president of the Sage Society, and doing what she loved; reading, traveling, camping, and crafting. She was smart, eclectic, and stalwart."
Lainie was an artist, a traveler and obviously an intelligent woman. I hope you will enjoy these very, very special pieces of her collection, and will remember to find the Lainie inside of you.
Love + light,