I drove across the Whitestone Bridge today to go to my favorite thrift shop In. The. World. It used to be such a dump that you never knew what you’d find in the piles of junk — vintage cashmere and mink sweaters for $8.00, 1950′s era tid bit trays, opalescent cocktail glasses, blue jay statues, etc.. Then the old manager was fired for skimming from the cash registers and the new manager was a maniac for clearing out floor space and cleaning out the clothes racks and sorting the glass ware from the old shoes and not challenging the shoppers to find what they were looking for. But I never know what I’m looking for when I go to a thrift shop so for me, such neatness makes thrifting a lot less interesting.
I was happy to see, today, that it looks like things are slipping back to their old low standards. What a relief.
Here are some of the things that I considered buying, but didn’t: 1950s novels with their original dust jackets:
I already have too many books. But oh, how I love love love those 1950s Authors Photos:
I used to collect old books just for the author photos — this is why I insisted on having a BIG author photo on my own book, and why it’s in black and white, and why I dragged props (suitcases from my thrift shop collection of vintage travel accoutrements) to the photographer’s studio: because YOU, dear readers, deserve an author who (like these ladies) cares enough about YOU to go to put on a show and look her best for the Author Photo. No crappy little (and I mean little: have you seen the postage-stamp size of most Author Photos these days??) “casual chin-in-hand Author Photo” is good enough for MY readers, right? Right?
But I don’t know if I did the right thing, leaving those books to fend for themselves…if I don’t rescue those books, who will?? And, will the right people (not me) rescue these jackets?:
The swirly-black print one was a beautifully made heavy silk with front zipper ($6.99) and the one on the right was a brand new patchwork of buff-colored suede stitched loosely together with some kind of matching crochet thread with covered buttons up the front ($29.99) that looked like something that Sheryl Crow would wear on a first date. I couldn’t imagine where you’d wear the balck swirly-print silk jacket, but it’s sooooo me.
Unlike this Nolan Miller number with the spangles on the sleeve which I got a strange, soooo not me crush on:
This photo gives you no idea how much those sleeves glittered, even in the low light of the going-downhill Secret Thrift Shop that I love. Some days, I really miss the ’80s.
THIS is the kind of thing you only find in a really fine thrift shop:
A Betsy Johnson tuxedo-cut denim jacket for $6.99. If I wasn’t sure that wearing such a jacket made someone my age look totally idiotic, I would have bought this immediately.
I’d already been browsing the messy aisles of this thrift shop for half an hour and I hadn’t found anything to rescue, and I was beginning to fear that I’d have to go home empty handed.
Never fear, however: FATE always leads me to the right stuff in the nick of time:
This, my dear readers, is a Jackie Gleason LP to add to my excellent collection of Jackie Gleason LPs from the late ’50s – early ’60s.
Jackie Gleason albums from the late ’50s – early 60s all have the best covers ever. My scanner can’t handle the whole cover, but this gives you an idea of what to expect when you paw through the dusty bins of vinyl records in a thrift shop and find a gen-yoo-ine Jackie Gleason album from the late ’50s – early ’60s.
Years from now, children will come across this Jackie Gleason album in a museum and they will ask, “Mummy, what’s that lady doing?” and it will be necessary to explain to them that once upon a time, ladies recevied certain kinds of letters (a whole other museum exhibit) that were tied up with ribbons for safekeeping which, when re-read while wearing an evening gown, would throw them into reveries worthy of a Jackie Gleason album.
This one is called: The Torch With the Blue Flame.
A delicate spindrift of marimba tones, the glow of a solo trombone and whispering strings, blending in a mist of sound…soft, dream-provoking Gleason sounds that sing with a flickering, haunting light…The Torch With The Blue Flame.
Oh man, some days I really miss what I never had.