Antiques are not new to Long
By By LYDIA GRIMES Features Reporter
Some dictionaries define an antique as something old or from another era, while others qualify antiques as being either 50 or 100 years old. Whatever the meaning, some people just call them old, and in some instances, junk.
Most people over the age of 50 have grown up with "antiques" although they have been unaware of it at the time.
Valerie Long is an exception to this scenario. She grew up in a time when everyone she knew was surrounded by old things. They probably never thought of themselves as collectors of antiques. It was just a way of life to start off with cast offs from preceding generations.
Although she has had no formal training in dealing with antiques, she freely admits that she reads everything she can on the subject and has schooled herself very well.
Long was born in Brewton and grew up in this area. She began her education by attending Boykin Elementary 16 miles out of town. After the second grade she began attending Piney Grove which was located on the Southern Normal campus. After the sixth grade, she attended Southern Normal and entered the tenth grade at T.R. Miller High School. She graduated from there in 1973 and attended Jefferson Davis Junior College, earning an associate's degree in science in 1975. She then went to the University of Alabama, but dropped out when she was needed at home to look after her mother who was ill.
Long came back to Brewton and continued her education by reading. She went to work at Plain Value in the old K-Mart Shopping Center. She was assistant manager there until the business closed. One of her neighboring stores was Revco Drugs and Tom Henderson, a pharmacist there, asked her about working at Revco. She stayed there for a while and then went to work next door with Pic-n-Pay Shoes in 1982. She worked there as manager for 11 years.
During this time she met her husband, James Anthony Long. They were married in 1986 and she became the instant step-mother to his son, Carmichael. They then had a daughter, Lauren, in 1987.
Her grandmother became ill with cancer and Long looked after her during this time and was a stay-at-home mother to Lauren. After the death of her grandmother, and some other family members, Long found herself the owner of a lot of old things, or "antiques." Her hobbies of collecting old coins and family photos combined with the antiques led her to her present position of being the owner of "Longevity Antiques" located on Douglas Avenue.
She began dealing with antiques in 1995 working from her home and for a while enjoyed the benefits of both the home and the business world. In 2000, she joined the staff at A.J.'s Antiques as assistant manager and held the position for about u year until the health of the owner failed and the business closed. Long opened Longevity Antiques in the summer of 2001 with a partner and 10 months later became sole owner.
Long is an active member of Baptist Hill Baptist Church and stays busy with her business and her daughter Lauren, who attends T.R. Miller High School, where she is a member of the color guard.