You know you are old when your childhood is being resold in antique malls. And younger people are buying it and leaving with pieces of it.
Embarrassing moments seem to follow me around on an occasional basis. Dropping surprise and unannounced visits on my life.
This happened this weekend after a visit to the large antique mall.
When I say large, let’s just say that several cow barns from the state fair could easily fit in this warehouse space stuffed with antiques. Along with the poultry barn. With space left over for some venders to sell turkey on a stick, hot elephant ears doused in powder sugar, and fresh lemonade.
Row after row of square and rectangular dealer spaces are lined, stacked, and littered with stuff. Bookcases weighed down and overflowing with items. Hutches, doors wide open, stuffed with things. Peg boards hanging with objects. Fitting one more item, say one saltshaker minus its partner-in-taste, might involve a contortionist to wiggle their way inside the booth to clear a tiny spot for this treasure.
We hadn’t been down many rows when I told hubby that I think I had seen most everything that populated my childhood home and the homes of friends. It was like a walk-through-familiar-landscapes I had once visited and resided in.
“Does this mean we are antiques?” my husband asked.
I saw Corelle dinner ware that still sits in my mom’s cupboard (that’s the problem with unbreakable dishes, you don’t have an excuse to get new ones). Covered Pyrex casserole dishes that looked familiar. Cousins and siblings of our push button phone we talked on. Books I had read in the quiet of my bedroom. Glass lamps sporting painted flowers that had appeared in the homes of friends. Boxes of records. Typewriters. And VHS movies in bulky vinyl cases. Rickety chairs and tables. Even a push lawnmower (which requires no engine, but you), which thankfully we never owned.
The urge to buy any of it, was not even sparked. Nothing.
There was stuff older than me. Butter churns, broken enamel gas stoves, fancy hats with wispy veils. My grandmother’s china pattern she served dinners on. Stemware the adults drank from on holidays. Doilies and a bedspread seen at the home of relatives.
There was even new stuff they were pawning off as old, like a wooden trough with new nails, cut with a bandsaw, but a tag that said antique.
I remembered we could use a new lamp in the family room. So, I focused on finding one. There were handmade lamps from antlers, PVC pipe, steel pipes, copper pipes, organ pipes, but none from bag pipes. There were big lamps, small lamps, hideous lamps, and ridiculous lamps. Even homemade ones from electronics my dad might have seen on his one cruise aboard a Navy vessel.
There was only one lamp that I stopped and considered. It was double what I would have paid for a new lamp, and it needed a new lampshade, so I passed.
Most of the people shopping where middle aged or older, but I did see some teens and young people grabbing up occasional items from my childhood. I guess it’s new stuff to them. They have no memories of these things the first time around.
It was fun to look, but I kept thinking, “most of this stuff is junk.”
Some of you may enjoy antique hunting and getting bargains, but it reminds me of my childhood home where most everything was second hand and already years past its due date. There was no “Quit using the couch cushions to build another fort or for a pretend floor trampoline,” screamed from the adults, because there was nothing precious about our couch when we got it at Goodwill. It was already expired (like most things in our house), so my 5 siblings and I could use it in all kinds of imaginary ways beyond what it was designed for.
Our house was utilitarian and used in all sorts of ways besides sleeping and eating. We ran races; practiced jumping hurdles with cardboard boxes; made elaborate forts with blankets, couch cushions, and encyclopedias; and put on impromptu dance routines in our specious living room. For a short while, my younger brother rode his tricycle on the wood floor (after we pulled the rugs up). We marched around the house with makeshift instruments while Spike Jones boomed in the background. Until mom finally hid Spike Jones and we had to pretend something else.
Every once in a while, I like to remind hubby how blessed he is to have a wife like me. So halfway through our perusing of once used and now-resting-clutter-from-others, I told hubby that he was lucky I didn’t collect things. Like pie bird vents and funnels. Coconut shell candy dishes. Plastic back scratchers. Deer antler lamps. Or pink miniature bud vases. However, seeing all these things was giving me ideas. (He is almost a minimalist, so having decorative pillows on the couch is already getting cluttered.) He rolled his eyes and said not to get any ideas.
I did find a cute tangerine and off-white sheath dress with a floral lace pattern and stiped cutwork for $5.00. I couldn’t try it on, so I took a risk and bought it.
That night I tried it on, and it fit quite well. I promptly decided to wear it the next day to church.
Now I blame hubby for this part, because if he had not been looking at his phone, and had instead been looking at his lovely wife, he might have noticed as I walked across the garage and out into the bright sunlight to cross the driveway, that my dress was quite see-through. Despite being lined from shoulder to knee.
Unfortunately, he’s not as observant as he could be.
We went to church. I marched up aisle for communion. I talked to some people in the parking lot. After dropping hubby and son off at home, I went to the grocery store, as I was making a meal for a sick friend. I marched around the store, got a few looks and several hellos from men, and then arrived back home. That dress and I made the rounds.
It was only in the bathroom, as I stood with my legs apart looking in the mirror, that I noticed my new dress was quite see through. The lining was not near as effective as it should have been.
My saving grace was that I had worn flesh colored underwear.
Because if I had worn my navy-blue ones with bright pink flowers scattered across my backside, they surely would have competed quite unflatteringly with the tangerine lace flowers from the dress.
I’m thinking next trip to the antique mall, I’ll start collecting salt and pepper shakers. Retro sheath dresses made of lace create a little too much excitement.
(That’s the dress!)
Thanks for stopping by.
Remember slips are worn for a reason.
Listen to my embarrassing story and hear how Joanne finds a lesson in my predicament on Fancy Free Podcast Episode #121
May link up at Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), Anita Ojeda (#inspirememonday), InstaEncouagements ((IE Link-Up), and Jeanne Takenaka (#tellhisstory).
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My Life in Our Father's World says
I can see myself parading around in that adorable dress without a slip too…yikes!! Yes, we’re old when thing from childhood are considered antiques. BUT that just makes life more interesting!
Theresa Boedeker says
It is fun to see how people combine the antiques with the modern. It can look quite smart.
Lauren Renee Sparks says
I love this story so much! Not only because I do enjoy antiquing or “junking” as my mom calls it. But also because sometimes we just need to laugh.
I welcome a good laugh. Even if it is at myself. So glad you found this funny. That was my intent.
Theresa, I enjoyed this post so much! I have had those very thoughts when walking through an “antique” mall; mostly looks like junk to me! I, too, am not a collector of anything-quite the opposite. My husband on the other hand…anyway, the story about the dress was side splitting humor for me. I literally had the same thing happen one time. Oh I think we need to learn to laugh at ourselves more, thank you for making my day!
That’s the way. Opposites getting together. For years I thought my husband and I were so alike. Now I see just how opposite we are in many ways. And yes. We need to learn to laugh at ourselves. Took me years to develop this trait.
Pam Richardson says
Theresa, I love your story telling. The dress story is hilarious. Unfortunately, I am a collector.
Theresa Boedeker says
I love looking at people’s collections. For years I subscribed to Country Magazine and enjoyed looking at the collections people had. Sometimes I even wish I was one. I just don’t know what to collect. Except flower pictures! Although my husband did look in my closet and ask, how many ankle boots does a woman need? 🙂
Jennifer Smith says
Ah, thank you for sharing your story! It is a classic…and I enjoyed such a good laugh. I used to be enamored with antique stores and all the “stuff” piled, stacked, stored and stashed there. Somewhere along the way, it pretty much has turned to “junk” in my mind. Kinda sad, actually. Glad a new generation can come along and perhaps appreciate, enjoy or at least marvel over those Pyrex dishes:)
Thanks Jennifer. I did stop and ponder over the Pyrex casserole dishes with lids. They are so cute and I think they may be useful. But then I think, I would have to find a place for them. And would I really use them as much as I think? I always decide I don’t need them. My goal is to get rid of, not acquire.
Anita Ojeda says
I’m so sorry that happened to you. But, oh well, what we can’t re-do, we can laugh about :). My students have 80s Days for Spirit Week and I can dress for it quite easily–I still have a few banquet dresses from back in the day ;).
Theresa Boedeker says
Yes, all those 80’s clothes we hung onto may just make us the most in style ladies when they all come back into fashion again. And yes, laughing helps us accept our mistakes with greater ease. While giving us some good endorphins.
Love the dress!!
I remember mom calling our short pants “peddle pushers!” Can’t remember what we called them back then and now they are back again!
Mom used to say, “There is nothing new under the sun.” And now that I have given away all my ti-dye and high-rise 1990 something jeans, guess what is back in style? So the question with clothes is this…. Keep until back in style or give away and buy again? Ha ha ha ha!
Theresa Boedeker says
That is the million dollar question, Bliss. Maybe we should have a few closets. One for each decade. Then we can just grab and go from the one that is currently in style. And yes, after finally giving away all my high rise jeans, now they are back in style again. 🙂 Funny how they never call the same style the same name. Pedal pushers became capris and are now called ???.
Joanne Viola says
Theresa, I am not much of a collector either but I enjoy walking through antiques. They always spark the best memories. And now your lace dress has made a new memory for you and all who read. I love this story as it surely tells us not to take ourselves too seriously. Your photo with the dress is such fun as your smile is wonderful!
Theresa Boedeker says
Thanks Joanne. Yes, to new memories. And not taking ourselves to seriously.
It is so much fun browsing antique markets! I’m not a collector of things as I don’t have the room but I very much enjoy looking. And that dress is adorable, so can see why you wanted wear it the very next day after purchasing it. Often it takes us to ‘wear’ something new to discover what is ‘underneath’. I am sure your legs are lovely! 🙂
Theresa Boedeker says
It is fun to see all the things in the antique mall. I even enjoy watching PBS Antique Road Show. Look and not buy. It was a cute dress and I could not believe how well it fit. I had to laugh at: “Often it takes us to ‘wear’something new to discover what is ‘underneath.'” 🙂
Barbara Harper says
I’ve only been in a few antique stores, but did notice that most of it wasn’t what I’d officially call antique. I didn’t know enough about them to know what was legitimately an antique and worthy of the inflated prices, so I eventually stopped. I do tend to be a collector–I even stopped going to the thrift store because I kept bringing home decorating stuff I didn’t really need.
That’s hilarious about the dress! You wouldn’t think something lined would be see-through. Your husband’s lack of observance reminded me of a time in early marriage when I asked my husband if I looked okay before leaving the house. He said, “You look fine.” I pointed out to him that he had not looked up from what he was doing to see what I looked like. He said, “I’ve never seen you not look fine.” I appreciated the thought–but it didn’t help me evaluate my readiness to meet the world!
Theresa Boedeker says
Oh Barbara, the story of your husband is so classic. Sometimes on a fashion question from me, my husband will say, “I think you better ask someone else.” Luckily with cell phones, I can take a photo and ask a friend with a better eye and a little more fashion sense the question and get some pretty quick feedback.