13 September 2005

self portrait tuesday #6

I really thought (with every fiber of my naive little junior high self) that I would grow up to live in a modern-day palace filled with all the coolness the eighties had to offer. I pictured myself lounging around on obnoxiously sleek couches and imagined tables and chairs in pastel colors with lots of sharp angles and chrome and lucite. (of course, now this sounds like a psuedo new wave nightmare only the set designers of every eighties music video would dream up). I wanted nothing to do with antiques, no part of what I thought of as dusty and brown and old and so NOT MODERN.

but I grew up with antique lovers, lovers of old stuff. my mom loved primitives and my grandma was a dealer who had a house crammed full of such ancient lovelies. I remember her occasionally holding auctions in her backyard. I was mesmerized by the man with the microphone and the weird rapid-fire voice selling off boxes of china and armoires faster than what seemed right. once, she let me pick out something from the tables to keep for myself and I chose a picture of ginger rogers in a vanilla-colored art deco frame (which I have saved). still, I swore up and down and all over the place that everything I would have as an adult would be modern and new.

and then my mom took me to the fleamarket when I was 14 and gave me ten bucks to spend however I wanted. that cash was destined to be spent on new clothes (from the nearest mall, natch) until I happened onto a table piled impossibly high with vintage clothing. old beaded dresses and satin slips and trousers, three pieces for ten dollars! I had so much fun digging through that pile and really, that was it for me... thus, began my habit. I started to see old things with new eyes and could not get enough of vintage clothing, hats and jewelry. when I was 16, we moved from a small southern illinois town to cincinnati and all of the sudden, I had direct access to an army of thrift stores. my mom had been taking me to yard sales and antique stores for years but the lovely underworld of thrifting proved to be exceptionally seductive. twenty years later and I'm still not tired of it. I'm up and down with it but never, ever done with it.

that's me in the disco ball up above (duh) and I am at the lakewood fleamarket. been happily making the monthly trek there for a decade now. I'm not really into traditional antiques and don't even really collect vintage clothing anymore. naturally, my taste has shifted. these days, I am on the hunt for old world globes, pull-down school maps, mid-century modern pieces, souvenir pennants, vintage purses, old signs, wood/metal printers blocks, 50s/60s lamps, letters and numbers from signs, various ephemera, and (of course) old photographs. and whatever else looks good and fun.

(take a gander at the rest of last week's fleamarket goodness here)

everytime I dig through a crusty old box and drool over the kitschy beauty of some forgotten thing, I eat my junior high words a little more. ha. words proclaimed by a 7th grader with such drama and absolution are for eating.


  1. ah yes, it was your mom who introduced me to thrifting too! great photos!

  2. can i just say you almost killed me with all that amazing stuff! i'm soooooooooo crazy with envy right now - you just don't understand, you just don't understand...

  3. thanks, folks.

    jan-- add this to the list... why it's just too bad (and so sad) that we don't live closer to each other. we could be hitting the fleamarket together!

  4. andrea - it is sad as i know it would be so fun!

  5. Fantastic! I love those lamps. I've honestly never given flea markets a fair try. I do thrift store a selectively, but there is nothing like a second hand book store to get my juices going.

  6. oh have you hit the nail on the head.... it's the search that is just as good as the find, huh?

    LOVE the portrait [duh!]... i used to have mini disco ball earrings... the rocked the house!