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Friday, February 10, 2012

Friends and Artists and Thrift Stores

An artist friend from the past, Joyce Koskenmaki, once defined a true friend as "someone you could go to thrift stores with." So true, dear Joyce, though I haven't seen you in almost twenty years--or even heard from you in nearly ten.

In fact, it is with a twinge of sadness that I realize that I don't currently have a thrift store friend, though Miss Em and I have become a great team on the too-seldom occasions when we are in the same place.

Still, thrift stores are the sites of relationships, albeit usually superficial ones. For years, I had seen an extremely tall woman at the thrifts. She was usually accompanied by a very short older woman. A few years ago, we broke the silence. I mentioned that my daughter liked her handbag, avery beat-up funky leather one.Then last year, we met at the linens and she showed me some nice things she didn't have a use for. Some of which I bought--with thanks.

After that, the boundaries came down. We exchanged first names (though it took me a while to remember hers). I learned that she and her husband owned a horse farm. I learned that the short woman was her 90 year old mother, who is in splendid shape, both mental and physical. We would show each other things we thought the other might like.

We haven't met for a while, since Goodwill moved to a new location. Yesterday, I ran into her (and called her by the wrong name!!! Shameful!!!). She was so happy to see me: I'm trying to get rid of stuff and I've been carrying that purse your daughter admired in my car. Wow!

I asked for her address so Miss Em could send a thank you note. She gave me her card and divulged that she had a website where she sold jewelry made from bits and pieces of things she finds. She also revealed that she is a jewelry expert of sorts: good stuff just falls into my hands, which is the exact thing I say about clothing. I would rather have magnetism for vintage silver pieces than for cashmere sweaters, but I suppose one has to accept the gifts one is given.

So she gave me her card so I could see her website. Check it out! Shades of Joseph Cornell.


Jane W. said...

Did someone say Joseph Cornell!?!!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Jane--A teeny bit??? Do you think?

Shelley said...

That was certainly kind of her to hang on to the bag for your daughter. Her jewellery looks interesting. Do you tend to go shopping other places with friends but just not thrift stores? If not, perhaps it's just shopping buddies that you don't have.

Duchesse said...

As a newcomer to my city, I am attentive to how friendships start, and casual conversation at a location where like-minded people gather is a prime opportunity.

Is it like here, thrifts are mainly populated by women customers? The only men I see are young students looking to pick up a flannel shirt or jeans.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--Actually, I prefer shopping solo or w/ my daughter, but I DO wish I had a thrifting buddy.

@Duchesse--I've never started a friendship at a thrift (other than very superficial ones).

Anonymous said...

I love this story! I mostly thrift with my husband or my daughters, but I have discovered camaraderie with other women my age who are out thrifting. It's great that she remembered Miss Em's desire!

Diane said...

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing it. One of the reasons it's nice to have a thrifting buddy is that you can talk about the experience with each other. Not everyone savors thrifted stuff, stores, and the people involved.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Diane--Thanks! Maybe I can find virtual thrifting buddies!