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WATCH: Legacy List helps one couple find deep family connections from their myriad collections

Legacy List S3E4 Anoia In house
jay paul
Homeowners Nick and Wendy Anoia discuss a wooden bowl item with host, Matt Paxton (Photo Credits: Jay Paul, Jay Paul Photography)

Nick and Wendy Anoia love collecting – especially collecting items with a history that can be repurposed for the home Nick built on their sprawling Virginia Beach property.

But after collecting for several decades, the couple found their house, garage, and sizeable barn filled to the brim with unique collectibles – all of which held special meaning.

“Being a former history teacher and Nick a former antique dealer, we have always enjoyed adding historical items to our house,” said Wendy. “These items represent people's stories beyond Nick and I.” 

So, when the couple decided to sell their home of 30 years, they were faced with the dilemma of downsizing not just their furniture and personal items, but also the history and stories that permeated their home.

Legacy List’s Matt Paxton is often quoted as saying, “Keep the memories, lose the stuff.”  But if everything is connected to important history and family memories, how do you let go?

On Legacy List with Matt Paxton, his team demonstrates exactly how to begin.


“I think it’s super important to hold on to some items from the past when you downsize,” says Matt. “But you need to leave space in your new home for new items and new memories.”

The Anoia’s collections ranged from oil lamps to fishing lures to salt-n-pepper shakers to hornet nests. Many of the items were gathered and curated by Nick during his lengthy and varied career.

When Matt asks the Anoias to narrow down their choices to a few items to keep for their “legacy list,” it’s not surprising they chose pieces that had the deepest family connections.

“I asked Matt and his team to find my great-grandmother's clock,” said Wendy. But in addition to the clock, the team dug into the history of her great-grandmother’s arrival to the United States. They discovered the Vanderland ship manifest with her great-grandmother’s name, her age, and her only possession – ten dollars in cash.

“Knowing she was only 19 years old and traveled across the Atlantic Ocean alone in February, 1906 was amazing,” Wendy added.

Nick sought items that connected him to his father and his twin brother, both of whom had died in recent years.

“The cash register was most symbolic,” said Nick. He and his brother worked at his father’s barbershop as boys – their first entrée into the business world.

“Dad opened his barber shop in 1966 when Pembroke Mall first opened. Haircuts were 75 cents,” continued Nick. “Dad was able to provide a great life for his family and put three boys through college. That's a lot of haircuts.”

But that’s not all Matt’s team found. They uncovered Nick's Boy Scout badges – including his Eagle Scout Badge which he and his twin brother earned together. For Nick, the badge represents hard work, fond memories and valuable lessons shared during their teenage years. 

As Nick describes those moments with his brother, he becomes emotional. The badges are a touchstone for their close and caring relationship and the legacy that remains.

Learn what else the Anoias have on their legacy list as Matt and his team organize their myriad collections and provide this family with a tangible way to keep their memories and lose their stuff. Watch their episode embedded in this article or view it on VPM when it re-airs this Friday at 9:00 p.m.

Tune in to new episodes of  Legacy List with Matt Paxton Mondays at 9:00 p.m. on VPM, or stream them from the  VPM website.

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