By: Humans of Calvert County

 “It was probably our second or third date. And I was on the farm and we had a pond and about 40 ducks and a huge snapping turtle was eating them. I was trying to get ready for our date and my two nephews came running up the hill, ‘get your gun, the turtle’s back, the turtle’s back!’ So I go grab my gun, put my waiters on, water boots and I go down and I shoot this turtle. I then had the gun over my shoulder and the turtle by the tail and in pulls Jeff! And I thought, ‘ohhhh, oh shit!’ He was so impressed. He said, that’s my woman. He tells everybody that story. That was so funny, I just thought, ‘oh boy, he’s a goner.’

We met at a Christmas party. I was a single mom and went to a Christmas party and met him and he kept following me around all the time. When he asked me for my phone number, I took my name tag off and stuck it on his jacket. It didn’t have my number on it, but he found me. And we’ve been together 22 years. He has two daughters and a son and I have two daughters. 

When I met Jeff, I had no intention or interest in meeting anybody. I had my girls, I had my business, we lived on the farm and I really didn’t have a desire to meet anyone. It was a full life. And then Mr. Right came along!

A friend and I had a decorating business up until the economy pooped. And then I started painting furniture and I painted for Gypsy Vintage and Gypsy Faire. And then two years ago, this came on the market, and I kept saying to Jeff, why don’t you buy it, why don’t you buy it? And he turned around, put his hands on hips and he said, why don’t you buy it? And I said, oh, okay, I will! And I did!

I make islands and tables, I paint furniture and we buy a lot of the accessories. We try to carry things that are different from anybody else. We built a barn in the back to use for weddings and parties. We have Camp Salvage! Now we’ve expanded and my daughter does a painting demo on Saturdays and we sell the paint that we primarily use. And that was the idea, that people could look at her demo and buy a small piece from Camp Salvage that they can take home and play with. I wanted people to see that they can do it. I like the idea of people learning. And my daughter is so good at teaching.


And we rent out space. That was the whole idea. I didn’t want the whole store to be myself. I have some great tenants. They have to be creative.

When I paint, I think about everything! I think about how the rest of my day is going to go. What I have planned that week, where I want to go next. My sister and I, were five years apart but everybody thinks we’re twins. We just get in the car and go! We pick a spot once a week and just go and see what we can find. We go to Atlanta, to Florida, to Pennsylvania, Delaware. Both my daughters and my sister work here. One of us take a piece and then we sit on the floor and we giggle and chuckle.

It’s called Destination Shopping. And the idea behind that is it takes us all month to get ready for the next month. It really does! This way we can travel, find the stuff to fix up, paint it.

I love to create! My mother was a quilter and an excellent seamstress and she was very creative. I’m not much on cooking. And growing up on a farm, my father never let me think there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. Each one of us. He taught me how to use tools and he was an engineer, so I guess I got part of his brain.

We try to make things better than we get them. Repurpose.

I jump in with both feet! With everything I’ve ever done, I have jumped in with both feet. I just do it. There may be fear, but I always end up doing it. And if I fail, it’s okay.

It’s a learning experience. I have failed. But did it knock me down? No. It just makes you stronger. It makes you say, okay, well this didn’t work, what did I learn from it?

It’s very nice to go through life working at something I love. This is the perfect thing. This is me.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...