My Sincere and Total Love of the Salvation Army Thrift Shop in New Rochelle, New York

Things around here were getting so boring. So I had to go thrift shopping.

I do loves me a good Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Especially when there are so many thought-provoking objects on display.

Are these chairs supposed to be faux-pony or faux-Holstein?

Better yet, they swivel, too. Oh, dear faux-pony/Holstein chairs, why were you forsaken unto the Salvation Army thrift Shop? Did the lady of the house change the decor from hipster-faux-hipster to wretchedly-sincere? And wouldn’t you have made the transition just fine if given half a chance? Oh, dear faux-pony/Holstein chairs, the world was not meant for ones as beautiful as youse.

And if ever there was a couch whose upholstry referenced Paul Klee, it’s this one:

Get it, Get it, Get it, the hamsters in my brain are shouting at me. Not to sit on. It doesn’t look as if providing a comfy seat is one of the priorities of this piece of furniture. Just for looking at, and admiring my taste for acquiring it.

This was hard for me to pass up this…

…given my love of vintage Paint by Number art. But the mountains did not hint enough of Scotland, and there wasn’t a horse behind the fence, and the season wasn’t Fall. So I talked myself out of buying it.

It was also hard to not grab these immediately:

The season is right (Fall)…

…and the landmarks are iconic (Sacre Coeur)…

…and the weird geography is wondrously dreamlike (The Arc de Triomphe does not have a sidewalk full of cafes running anywhere near it).

But the set was over priced at $23.00 and I can not, can not, can not start collecting ironic French stuff becauseI’m trying to live a de-cluttered life . So I paid no attention to the hamsters in my brain, paid no attention to the hamsters in my brain, etc.

Except when the hamsters went go crazy for this:

Somebody loved this little dog statue very, very much. It’s  eight inches tall, and made of ceramic from a company called Tilso (the label on the base also says “Handpainted – Japan”).

I know that this little object was beloved because for one, it was spotlessly clean. Usuallywhen a piece as old as this turns up at a thrift shop it’s coated in a film of grease and grime from having been overlooked in an old person’s house for decades. But no, this little dog had been cleaned regularly, so someone loved it very much.

Also, there was nary a chip of the most vulnerable bits — the flower petal and the ear tips were in tact, another indication that someone cared deeply about this object and protected it. Probably gave it the place of honor somewhere in the living room, or boudoir.

I don’t find this dog particularly cute but I could not bear to see it languish in the Salvation Army Thrift Shop, where it might get brushed off its perch by a passer-by or shoved against the old lamp next to it, shipped or cracked or smashed, an ignoble end after all those years it spent as an object of desire.

So for $6.00 I rescued this little dog, and until I can find an obsessive collector of Tilso knick-knackery, it will have a good home with Top Cat and me.

I also brought home another piece de resistance.

No, not the groovy vintage floor-length Summer frock:

I found a hand-sewn fully reversible jacket, made of a pomegranate-toned batik material on one side:

And a very 1980s patchwork purple corduroy on the other:


You can’t tell from these photos, but this jacket is beautifully made. Someone went to a lot of trouble to sew this.

Oh, dear wearable art project of unknown provenance, why were you forsaken unto the Salvation Army thrift Shop? Did someone not wear you to the big Duran Duran concert after all?  Did you get pushed to the back of the closet when grunge became all the rage? Or was your exuberant sense of style too embarrassing when your owner went goth?

If only corduroy could talk.

10 Comments, RSS

  1. Deborah

    Light snow predicted for today here in the Louisville area, so the Thrift store tour was perfect timing! Thanks.

    I’ve always wished I could have a separate house (or maybe just a separate wing of a house) that I could decorate with kitsch to my heart’s content. That couch would be there, for sure, but the chairs, not so much.

    That lil statue looks like a cat to me, sans tail.

  2. Janet

    You reminded me what is so fun about shopping in thrift shops — it’s discovery. Like you, I always wonder who had the thing that appeals to me and why they let it go. The afternoon I spent in a thrift shop on the Big Island several years ago is one of my favorite memories of that trip. Why did someone bring in that beautiful maybe-worn-once batik dress that I saw in a store for $300 and could now be mine for only $3? Or the hand-painted wooden fish pin for 50 cents? Or the white blouse with delicate embroidered flowers and lovingly worn (aka comfortable) white cotton pants I pulled from the top of the free box? Perhaps it was the rarified vacation air that made my bargains a notch better than if they had come from the local Goodwill. All I know is when I put on any of those treasures, I am instantly back in Hawaii, smelling plumeria blossoms and enjoying a cocktail with an orchid on the top.

  3. janet bellusci

    stores like that one are, for me, the only true type of “retail therapy” ~ i love finding treasures among someones castoffs, AND repurposing/recycling at the same time! but lately i am more in a PURGE mode, so my connection is more contributer than buyer. still, such fun to browse!

  4. Oh, how I envy your Salvation Army store! We live in a poorer rural area, I still find many treasures but our store is pretty small and drab compared to your hunting grounds.
    You’ve got a super place to spend hours…..

  5. Rachel

    Yes, it looked like a cat to me also, but I am trusting that Vivian knows a cat when she sees one. As for that bookshelf, just fuzzy enough not to be able to read the titles, are those perhaps the Brambly Hedge Books on the lower left hand side?

    That is a classic Sally Ann store, and looks like a delight to visit. Ours has gone upscale with a separate *boutique* area with higher prices. But always a delight to visit. I too am in deaccession mode and need to *stay out of those places.* Hope you get at least one last good snow before spring. 🙂

  6. Shelley

    You definitely have a cream of the crop Salvation Army store…and a great knack for finding fascinating things.

    Love the jacket, especially the batik side. I hope to see it in person on your next book tour! I would definitely have not been able to resist the floor length summer frock, but then wild colors are my thing!

    My Mom loved doing Paint by Number kits. I have a series of horse prints that she painted, and I’m sure one must be a Fall scene…if I can find it (stored in the basement), I’ll send you a photo…


  7. Nadine

    I LOVE that couch! I wonder how long the owner lived with it. That much visual stimulation from one piece of furniture would confuse me. Did it look lived in? What kind of person would be able to live with that?

    The mind boggles.

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