Whoever thumbs their nose at flea marketeers like me are more than welcome to do so, because unlike them I have no qualms whatsoever about wearing other people’s stuff. Weird? Perhaps. But then, I’m a historian and hack metaphysicist (see Smoke That Fattie, Yo Ho Ho) with a penchant for preservation, so why wouldn’t I be so?
Today I trolled the aisles of a wonderful place, the location of which I hesitate to share, because when it comes to a find as spectacular as this one, I am hard pressed to be magnanimous. In a single afternoon, I found a dress, completely mint and circa 1928-1930 with only the smallest of tatters around the hem. It wasn’t the bead work or heavy panel inserts that drew me to it; it was the name on the label that provided the piece’s provenance that got me: London—Magical, wonderful London, which I’d never been to, yet now held a hint of, in an incredible garment that buzzed with history.
Do you catch my fascination now?
Two aisles over, located between a mountain of spinning wheels (?), oil lamps and mono record players were the costume and not-so-costume jewellery cases that offered everything from every age, real, fake or frothy. And all these could be mine, so long as I had the dough and the knowledge to spot brass from filler.
Oh, Mylanta! What I found for $9.99; an Italianesque link bracelet of such weight, color and quality as to
leave me gasping—so much better than the worn and faded Sarah Coventry that I could not put out of my mind until I found this beauty. And real brass too.
But that wasn’t all. Many vintages ago, my old mum bought me a hand knit sweater at a fall fair for an astonishing amount. Because of the exalted price and genealogy of the giver, I wore that sucker until it fell to pieces never to be replaced.
The last aisle, which offered Elvis LPs, an original Marilyn Monroe Playboy—one of her many fine covers— and genuine shooting scripts from movies of considerable stature (My Fair Lady), also had racks of sweaters of the kind that brought the nostalgia back in Kleenex supported waves.
And all for the princely sum of $35 Canadian.
I love my sweater and my old brass link bracelet not just because of the price, but because of the time and distance required for them to find their way to me. Because like the vintage dress that I also bought, the owners of these fine articles may not be around any more. But I feel them, ya know? And why not a little shared human experience across the ages?
Adult, unapologetic and cognizant, I wish you good Monday. Let’s stay above it.