Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I’ll Show You Vintage

The only non-edible item I’ve ever bought at a flea market is a hand-carved pedestal that was meant for toilet-paper-roll storage. I use it as a nightstand.

I’m no flea-market fanatic. I’m not a member of the sizable demographic that banks on gleefully strutting away with chandeliers and antique candelabras from these places. I saw a chandelier booth at the flea market I wound up at the other day, off to the side of table upon table staffed by surly vendors hawking Pez dispensers; beat-up coin purses; dusty, broken-handled coffee pots; back issues of obscure Central European magazines. Hustlers heaped rumpled old clothing onto oversized card tables and stood back, watching hyped-up Manhattanites tear their way through. “It’s vintage, it’s vintage,” they barked.

Sizable demographics need to be tapped into.

My dad is gradually de-cluttering his suburban house. That’s sure to take some sweet time. There’s the clutter that should be thrown out vs. the pieces (my inheritance) that can be reused – after they’re each sold off to the highest bidder. The basement alone is home to a saleable stockpile. Just call it vintage, they’ll bite. Say hello to my unborn daughter’s hoity-toity college fund.

Enough with all the gently used merchandise I donate to charity. What am I, a saint? The Goodwill Industries outposts I’ve been to appear to have clutter/surplus problems of their own.  

I donated approximately 15 books to my local library last year. By the following weekend, my donations sat on a cart by the library’s front door, getting peddled out for a profit (theirs, not mine). Those books could have been added to the family flea market inventory that everyone else in the family has yet to learn of.

The second-to-last time I was back home, I found a ceramic bowl that had been boxed up in my childhood bedroom and handed it over to a friend before we left for lunch – free of charge. It’s vintage! You think Pier 1 still carries that model in stock? 


  1. Being the sentimental sap that I am, I find it hard to part with certain things...even if they're of no use to me or other people anymore. When I need to make some room and de-clutter, it can become a day long stroll down memory lane!

  2. If I were "alone" in the world, I would engage in savage downsizing. As it is, I live with a husband who really NEEDS twenty cabinets of old papers dating back to World War II. I have a daughter who no longer lives in the apartment, but, because her own apartment is the size of a handkerchief, really NEEDS for her parents to keep her stacks of CDs and books and papers dating back to first grade (and even some clothing of the bulky coat and boots variety.) Oh, and then I have to look at myself--I really NEED the piles of old photography magazines I wrote articles for, just in case a prospective employer might like to see them one day. (Yeah, sure.)And then there's my clothing, mostly dating back to the 80s--you know the kind of wardrobe--in three sizes: thin, medium, and chubby--mustn't throw it away because you'll never know which size you'll be in six months.
    When I was younger, I swore I wouldn't let my life be drowned in "stuff." If we ever have to move out of this apartment, we'll have to hire a crane to get it all out. There's some despair in this write-up, but also some humor. At least, we've lived a full, rich life while collecting all this "stuff."

  3. LOL It all reminds me of that old movie with a young girl on a quest to rescue her baby brother from dastardly muppets (the junks is already gathering!). She comes upon an old being with a hay-stack of flotsam attached to her stooped spine. The old thing begins to absently pass things to the young girl, reminding her briefly of it's value from the past, and thus begins another challenge for our heroine.

  4. There are a few things I'll come across in a flea market where I'll think "Oh em Gee, that's amazing". For the most part, I find that most of the stuff being hawked is just rubbish. What is is about other people's rubbish that intrigues us so? In any case, my Mother likes filling her spaces. I love emptying them ;)

  5. Very clever. Vintage is certainly the buzz word lately. :) I have been known to resell books on Amazon that other people were giving away. Why not? ;)

  6. I think it feels like a treasure hunt, searching through a pile of old stuff for the perfect little gem at a bargain price.