Thompson continues working every day at 83

Published 1:11 am Sunday, March 7, 2010

NATCHEZ — At 80 years old Addie Thompson wasn’t ready to stay at home.

So in August 2007, shortly after moving to Natchez, she opened Addie’s Antiques Mall on Franklin Street.

“I needed something to do, something more than staying at the house,” she said. “I’ve had stores before so it just seemed natural to try one here.

“It gives me something to look forward to each day.”

The store, located at 631 Franklin St., sells antiques and other knick-knacks and gift items, but she also rents space to other smaller antiques dealers. She sells refurbished furniture and accessories, many of which she has repaired and refinished herself.

She said she can see beauty in things even when they are broken or falling apart. Often she’ll stop on the side of the road to pick up chairs, tables or other items that have been thrown out because she knows there “is life left in them.”

“I see past what it looks like,” she said. “People come in and say ‘that was trash?’ after I’m finished, but I knew all along it could be something pretty.”

Thompson said she done “crafty-type projects” for more than 60 years, and in her store she just gets to display the work.

On top of running the day-to-day operations of Addie’s Antiques Mall, she also makes one-of-a-kind draperies, bedding and upholsters furniture behind the main store space.

Thompson said she began upholstering furniture out of necessity after her grandson drew on her leather sofa with a marker.

“I tried a lot of things and spent a lot of time and money trying to get that marker to come out and it didn’t budge,” she said. “One day I was looking at the mark and thought ‘If I can put that cording on a purse, why can’t I just make it a little long and use is to re-do this couch.

“Almost immediately, I had that couch turned upside down, pulling it apart.”

After that Thompson did some projects for neighbors and friends.

“It caught on pretty well then, when I was living in north Mississippi, so I started doing it here, too,” she said. “I like to have one or two pieces in here and one waiting to be brought in. That keeps me pretty busy.”

Thompson has been sewing for more than 50 years and has been sewing seriously for more than 30 years. She said having something to occupy her time and thoughts has helped her through some rough patches in life including a two-year battle with colon cancer that spread to several other organs.

“Almost 12 years ago the doctors gave me no more than three weeks to live,” she said. “But, God healed me. There were some times that I was very depressed, but having something to do helped me through that.”

Addie’s Antiques Mall is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. She can be reached at 601-807-7633.