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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Thrift Store

IMG_1558Since I’m hopping all over the globe, I thought I might as well hop in topics, as well.  In this jet-lag induced state, I won’t notice any lack of continuity, and therefore, you shouldn’t, as well.  I’ll come back to Israel, don’t worry.

It was while we were engaged in archaology on Virginia’s Eastern Shore that I spied a thrift shop across the street from our site.

“You really need to go visit,” others enthused.  “You DO go to thrift stores, don’t you?”

Apparently, this was a part-time hobby with many.

“Well,” I stammered, “we take a lot of our kids’ older clothes to Goodwill and the Salvation Army….”

The archaeologists and volunteers explained that this was not an establishment to be missed, about the only business in the small town of just over 200 inhabitants.  Yet, the second-hand store always appeared to be closed.

“Are they ever open?” I asked.

“Well, that’s the catch,” they laughed.  “They’re open on Fridays and Mondays, 9-12.”IMG_1440

It was now Sunday afternoon.  I pointed out that our work day lasted from 8:00 am till 4:00 pm, and our lunchtime lasted from 12:00 to 12:30.

“Just sneak on over,” the archaeologists suggested.  “It’s not like you’re on the clock.”

There were benefits to being a volunteer, but, conscientious soul that I was, I vowed to make it a quick five minutes.  It was now nearing 10:00 am and for the past hour, a steady stream of customers headed into the unassuming shop.  Dressed in my archaeology/ rain gear, I pulled my Indiana Jones hat low, and wiped my mud-caked boots at the door, as my face blushed and my heart raced.

Three older white women manned the front desk… which was… an old desk near the door.  They seemed to be DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) types.

“Good morning,” I greeted them cheerily, hoping they would not notice my personage very much.

imagesOld books and glassware cluttered the front shelves.  My eyes darted over the items, wondering if perhaps there were any “finds” among the merchandise.  Noting nothing of much interest, I moved toward the clothes, as an elderly black woman haggled over a price with the powers that be.

“The price was marked 30 cents,” she protested unsuccessfully.

“No, the prices are clearly marked.  Blouses are 50 cents each,” they would not budge.

I made my way towards the ladies’ jackets and two immediately caught my eye.  One was an Elie Tahari raw silk skirt suit, a lime and beige plaid affair with fringe at the cuffs and hem, very sophisticated and a bit retro, Mashenka’s favorite green color.  Her birthday was coming up, and it was her size.  If new, this would easily retail for over $500.

Looking for the price, a small tag attached with a safety pin stated:  $7.

Oh my.  Was that correct?

Nearby, another jacket, this time in solid lime looked to be Sashenka’s size 4.  It was also raw silk with cute gold P12337075star buttons down the front, on the two chest pockets, and on the fold-back cuffs, made by Carlisle.  This would be in the same price range as the Tahari, if new.

Glancing for the price, my eyes fell upon masking tape attached to the label:  $4.

Apparently, this was where the local society ladies unloaded last year’s wardrobes.  At these prices, I could take a gamble on the girls liking the styles.  Heading to the front desk, I spied a wild, vintage tie that one of the guys might like, and added that to my pile.

Asking the ladies to hold my things, I needed to run to the car and grab my wallet out of the trunk, explaining that I was with the archaeological team across the street.

“Now, dear,” they counseled, “you’d best run and get it now.  We can’t really hold items, and these will go quickly.  That will be $12 altogether.”

“Thank you, I’ll be right back.”

And thus my five minutes turned to ten.  They wanted to meet my son, so I ran and brought him in.  The ladies were in on the fact that we had snuck away, but still wanted to discuss the archaeology of the area and get any hot tips on why we might be excavating on their town green.  They had bagged my purchases, so I paid the $12, and away we went.

Within the next hour, I saw them close-up and head out, perhaps 25 customers having visited the ladies that morning.  Back at our hotel, I showed off the purchases, only then realizing that the $1 tie never made it into the bag.

Ah well, maybe the ladies had decided that the wild tie did not at all go with the style and refinement of the other items purchased.  Maybe they were right, I chuckled to myself, considering it a $1 donation to a good cause.

What a wonderful, small-town find!



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