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As I got into the car  with friends Patsy and Lena, I told hubby we’d be gone all day, “antiquing.”  “Painting furniture?” he said, squinting at me in concentration.   Closing the car door and buckling up, I sighed back, “No, I only wish it were that easy.”

I’ve never been a saver  – but as I’ve gotten older, I’m pretty sure I’m catching the antiquing bug since my friends no longer have to twist my arm to go along on these all day excursions.  Then, when I realized I was also being ecologically and politically correct, I justified the whole thing,  also considering that sooner or later, we’d have to stop to eat.

Poking around  antique stores and malls, hitting the flea markets and yard sales has to be the ultimate recycling experience.  Whether it’s primitive, Victorian, or art deco, why buy something new, when the almost new will do? You can find something you’ve always wanted, never wanted, always needed or never needed, or skip to the end and resell it for a profit on eBay. 

We drove  to one of the towns that have morphed themselves into an antique village , avenues of storefronts; some are individual Anti-Qute Shoppes, some  have become mazes of unique home-made booths; others are forsaken Sears and J. C. Penny stores, re-habbed into rabbit warrens of trash and treasures, from the basement up to the second and third floors. 

Patsy was thrilled  to find some Swanky Swigs   in the first shop we hit.  She remembers these little glasses from the ‘50’s holding Kraft cheese spread, then recycling them into juice glasses – see, nothing’s really new.  Is it too late to start hoarding aerosol cheese cans?

I can’t tell the difference  between cut, pressed, Fenton, or Fostoria, but Lena quickly spotted her collectible Marigold  Carnival  glass three aisles over. 

Lena keeps this stuff  in an eight-sided glass curio cabinet under halogen lights in her living room,  where I’m sure it doubles as a night-light / security system for her entire house. 

We found a restaurant  in one of the fancier shoppes and while trying to decide what I wanted for dessert, I learned a new word – “epergne.”  That’s “e-pern” in French antique-speak.  As in – just go over to that fancy, silver and glass, multi-armed centerpiece  and help yourself to mini-torte.  Sort of.  

After lunch,  because it brought back memories of Nora in a peignoir set, pouring coffee for Nick, while Asta lay at his slippered feet, I bought a vintage vacuum, two bowl, carafe style coffee brewer-percolator for $25, in a down and dirty secondhand store, where the guy behind the counter, handed out flashlights to customers – all the better to see with, my dear.

While before lunch,  I saw the same coffee pot in a carpeted store for five times as much; the pricing of this stuff baffles me.

We found ceramic dogs  from $50 to $500; pottery signed McCoy that may or may not be “the real”; and a very gaudy, very colorful, Majolica, (Mah-jell-eye-kah), open-mouthed fish pitcher priced at – oh, whatever – would you drink something coming from a fish’s mouth?  Ugh. 

But, just in case  there really is a market for everything, I’m gonna’ be prepared.  I’m stocking up on things to buy and sell and save: fancy vases, little glasses, luminescent dishes, big, colorful, gaudy ceramic animal pitcher/vase figurines, and complicated coffee pots that take  a mechanical engineer to clean and reassemble and that only lasted a month or two in my house, ‘cause it was way to much trouble and way to expensive dressing in gossamer gowns and satin mules, when my norm is cotton football shirts. 

Now, about those  aerosol cheese cans…