Re-purposing passion over 70

re-purposing passion over 70

Happy Friday, friends.  Today, I want to discuss with you re-purposing passion over 70!

In the post, MYTHS ABOUT AGING, we had a lengthy and excellent discussion about our lives over age 70.

The majority of us agreed that we are not done at that time, and can still pursue and enjoy our passions.

So, I thought it might be encouraging to meet someone who is re-purposing passion over 70!

Meet John.  John is my youngest son’s father-in-law and such an inspirational man.

At age 70, he still works his long time career in public relations.

However, his love for antiquing and gardening are being re-purposed from after hours passion projects to full time passion as he nears retirement.

I love his story and find encouragement in it on a couple of key areas.


re-purposing passion over 70

So, sit down with me and John today and let’s talk passion.

As a teenager in the 60s, John would spend his summers with his maternal grandmother in her Texas home.

Maddie Mae was a strong, active woman… passionate about gardening, antiquing, her friends , family and home.

The joy which filled her spirit and her desire to never slow down served her well into her 90s.

re-purpose passion over 70 

Many times during those summers, Maddie Mae would call her best friend, Lillian, and load John into the car for “picking.”

He recalled times when they would actually stop at abandoned farms to go through the potential treasures left behind.

“Everything has a re-purpose,” Maddie Mae would teach her young protege.

She would take tin plates and graters, add a little spray paint and Christmas color and turn them into Christmas ornaments with lights.

Through his grandmothers’s passions and loves, John discovered his own love for antiques and how re-purposing is a cool thing.

This part of the story really hit me about the impact we can have with our own grandchildren to assist them on their own paths to passions and careers.

I hope at least one of the eight will desire to be my protege and hang out with Gigi.


re-purposing passion over 70

About twelve years ago, before pop-up shops were cool and trending, John started his own.

He called it Gathers No Moss (great name, right?) and would pop-up in other places around town to share his antique curating skills and gardening knowledge.

He was even invited into Pottery Barn and West Elm to discuss ways to use their own wares with flower arranging and selections from home gardens.

Home owners began to reach out to him and ask for help with “picking” for their homes.

It has all been part time, but gradually is re-purposing to a full time passion over 70.

re-purposing passion over 70

He now has his own space within a larger antique shop called Armadillo Antiques.

But, his shop is called Little Cabin in the Heights…and for now, I will not share the story behind this name.

He and his lovely wife, Jamie, can be found often on trips to curate treasures.

“The picking community is a fun group and a close one,” John shares.  “We stay in touch and help one another out.”

These relationships keep him from isolation, and encourage kindness throughout the community.

For full disclosure, some of the photos today are not just from John’s area but also from other places within Armadillo Antiques.

re-purposing passion over 70

John has many reasons why his re-purposed passion will live on past age 70.

He acknowledges that passion is important at all ages, but especially for those of us rapidly going through life for these reasons:

  1. The importance of needing a next goal when chapters begin to close.
  2. We feel more alive when we pursue our passions and goals.
  3. It keeps us moving and shaking…with a reason to get up every morning.
  4.  Continuing to generate income is very helpful.

With the first grand child on the way, John admits his passions will be focused on being a grandfather.

But, who knows, perhaps the new little one will one day be his protege…picking throughout Texas.

John laughed at the end of our time together and said, ” I will definitely keep going past 70…as long as I can.  Life is not over and maybe just beginning.”

I completely agree.

re-purposing passion over 70

If you are shopping in San Antonio, stop by Armadillo Antiques and see what treasures John has in his area.  

See you tomorrow, friends…until then…


re-purposing passion over 70

(I just might re-purpose this lamp to my house!)

By Pamela Lutrell

A special thank you to everyone who shops with my SHOPPING LINKS…your support is everything!

re-purposing passion over 50


  1. What a fun place Armadillo Antiques and what an interesting story about John and his upbringing. My Mr. B and I do enjoy wandering through antique stores although we rarely buy anything. We are old enough that some items we received as wedding gifts 55 years ago are now considered antiques. The social aspect of meeting people through this endeavor, in addition to John’s enjoyment of antiques and their picking, is the first thing I’m sure you know for your brain to not decline as one ages. I sometimes have to push my Mr. B to go somewhere just to get him out of the house, and he will always say he’s glad I made him go. Remaining active, engaged, physically moving are all part of staying “ young” so to speak as we grow old.

  2. I agree, Celia! Keeping our minds active and doing things we love and that fuels us is so important. John is going strong and Ibwant to as well!

  3. Paulette, again I have no idea why that happens to some of you…but if you would like to email it to me, I will post it for you. He is interesting and so talented. Thanks!

  4. What a great story! I have many happy memories of antiquing with my late husband. I miss those days. Thank you for sharing.

  5. What a beautiful story and an interesting man! This is what life is all about. I want to come to San Antonio RIGHT NOW and visit that store.

  6. Come on, Marcia! San Antonio is full of hidden treasures…in retail and in people like John.

  7. Oh, what a lovely story! That painted drop-leaf table in the first pic reminded me of my grandparents’ table where we would eat casual meals and play board games. Wandering through little antiques shops can be so wonderful for provoking a little happy nostalgia. Personally, I make a beeline for old linens, even though my cupboards runneth over. ☺️ This 1940 cottage of mine is graced with old table cloths, and they make me so happy.

  8. I love old linens! I have several from my grandmother’s farm and Mr. B’s grandmother here in SA. Some are so beautiful, but I do not really know the best ways to use them. I will need to ask John that question. Thanks for sharing, Connie.

  9. Lovely story! Isn’t it wonderful how our lives are enhanced and expanded by the joining of new family members, as in the case of your sharing last year your daughter-in-laws wedding preparation, with the joining of her family and yours. And here you are 1 year later featuring her father in your blog!

  10. He did all of the decorating for the wedding reception and it was amazing and inspired me so much. I am excited to share his talents with you and hopefully inspire more of us! Thanks Janet.

  11. Pam, what a great story, loved hearing about his past and current life. John has a such a fabulous outlook on life. Your son is blessed to have a wonderful father-in-law. I have no doubt that your 8 grandchildren all adore you and your husband. Over the years everything that you have shared I can just tell you leave a big impression on their hearts. Nothing takes the place of grandparents.

  12. What a lovely story. Reminded me of my late father-in-law who in his retirement found his passion in antiques. He would go to farm auctions and would buy furniture but also boxes of assorted “stuff”. Much of the furniture was in need of restoring or refinishing and became a master at restoration. He taught himself to cane and I have several of his caned chairs including a wonderful Lincoln rocker. He did not have a shop but became so well known that antique dealers would drive up from Chicago to buy from him. John’s shop looks like a fabulous place to spend a few hours browsing.

  13. I went on so many antiquing trips with my mother. Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories. John’s shop looks great. Now, you’ll have to post on what to wear on a day of antique shopping – LOL

  14. I agree, Elaine. I hope stories like this will encourage others to keep on keeping on!

  15. My youngest son at 55 has found a love for vintage and antiques. He moved to a small town in Georgia for work and moved into an old mansion that is divided into 4 apartments. He has been going to estate sales and buying pieces for his home. He loves lamps and also got a beautiful huge rug for his living room. It is a relatively new passion. He is such an old soul and loves rocking on his huge rap around porch.

  16. Thank you for sharing him with us, Sydney. He sounds like a wonderful, creative guy.

  17. Thanks for sharing John’s story. It is so great to hear how a passion actually started when he was younger and now is working into greater things.
    Where we live I enjoy going to our community arts and crafts shows. I am looking for ideas and/or buying what is a passion from someone.

  18. Your support for them is needed and plays a critical role. Thanks Audrey!

  19. Dear Pam: Lovely post and so very interesting. May I suggest that the best way to use old linens is to use them. Both cotton and linen fibers are stronger when wet than when dry, so washing them is not a bad thing for them. (Silk is the opposite: weaker when wet, so dry cleaning better for silk). Even if your cotton and linen are highly embroidered, the embroidery thread was almost always cotton. Same for the lace on the edges. If you have a couple of stains or holes, either repair them the best you can, or put a plate or glass over them. No big deal. It also helps to put a cloth under an older or more delicate table cloth when using. Not trying to be Martha here, but I love old linens and I love to use them. Also, I don’t iron anything after it is laundered. I only iron if I want to when I get it out to use it again.

  20. Thank you, Mary! I appreciate you sharing this! You have inspired me to pull some out!

  21. My son and daughter in law love that store. I will have to go check out his spot. I am also a lover of picking!

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