Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Thrill Of The Hunt

Here's the scenario.  Someone gives you, let's say $1000, and tells you to go shopping.  You don't have to pay it back, and you can't give it to someone else (if it makes you feel better, we can say they will also make a charitable donation in the same amount to the charity of your choice).  It's just for you.  You can choose any store(s) you want and buy anything that your heart desires.  Where would you go and what would you buy?  Me?  I'd head straight to one of my favorite flea markets or antique/vintage/junk shops.  I'm not sure what I would buy because you never know what you'll find in one of those places.  And, for me, that's what makes it fun. 

I'm crazy about all sorts of antique and vintage things.  I have a particular weakness for candle holders, old books and kitchen items.  They don't have to be rare or especially collectible, either.  I'm not too wrapped up in the monetary value of the things I buy.  I just have to like them.

To be honest, it's just as much about finding the treasures as it is about owning them.  While I'll gladly browse through an upscale antique store, I don't enjoy it nearly as much as picking through a messy junk shop.  The high end stores are always clean, well lit and organized.  If you ask about a particular item, they usually know whether they have it or not.  Where's the sport in that?  For me, it's like shooting fish in a barrel.  My favorite places always look like someone stood at the front door and threw the merchandise in.  Things may be coated in years worth of dust or stored in water stained cardboard boxes.  If there are piles on the floor, all the better.  It's the thrill of the hunt in a place like that.  My own version of a safari, if you will.

We used to have an antique store (junk store may be more appropriate) like that in town.  It was a huge place that was filled to the brim with everything imaginable.  You could find delicate hand painted china at the bottom of a bin of vintage plumbing supplies.  Nothing had price tags and everything was negotiable.  If you were really brave, you could venture into the back room which was about a thousand square feet and lit with only one or two 75 watt bulbs.  Everything back there was lumped into piles, awaiting whatever sorting method they employed, before being moved to the equally unorganized front rooms of the store.  There was always a lot of just plain junk, but every now and then, you'd find something really great.  Talk about an adrenaline rush!  The store went out of business a few years ago and I still miss it.

Yesterday, my husband and I had some errands to run, so we stopped by one of our favorite "treasure hunting" stores.  It's not super messy and unorganized, but it's got some great stuff.  We rarely leave the store empty handed, and yesterday was no exception.

We had been talking about inscriptions in old books while we browsed around.  I told him that, if I'm unsure whether I want a book, finding a personal inscription inside usually seals the deal for me.  I adore the charming, old script they used and I love reading the messages.

Near the front of the store, there was a display of assorted items from other countries.  There were some Asian knick-knacks, some dishes from Mexico and a few things from Germany.  In the same display was my treasure du jour, a book called The Little French Girl (published in the United States, I guess it was there because it had "French" in the title).  I was attracted to it because it looked old and I loved the gold stamping on the cover.  As soon as I opened it, I knew I was going to buy it.  It is inscribed "To Miss Hahn From her Parent Teacher Assoc." and dated Dec. 25, 1924.

It's not a rare book and it wasn't expensive, but I love it!  I don't even know what it's about.  I'll probably read it when I'm done with the book I'm currently reading.  I'm sure that every time I pick it up, I'll look at that inscription.


No one handed me the hypothetical thousand dollars to go shopping yesterday, but, like I said in the beginning, I'd have my spending spree in flea markets and antique/vintage/junk shops.  How about you?  Where would you shop and what would you buy?  


***Holly*** said...

Hubby and I love to wander our local used bookstore and love finding inscriptions inside the books. I also like it when I find other personal things like an airline ticket stub or a to-do list.

thamesarino said...

I think this might be cheating... but I would squirrel it away. (I can't really imagine just spending that much in a short amount of time, without it going to something boringly practical like into one of our cars or debts, but this should be a fun task so....) I would put most of it away and have maybe $50 or $100 in my purse at all times, and whenever I felt like getting something silly or not practical, I would just let myself. If my kids(again maybe cheating) asked for the overpriced stuffed elephant at the zoo... this time I'd just get it, instead of thinking of all the the things that the money would be better spent on. And while we were at it we'd all get one of our own stupid expensive $4 ice creams that we always share even if we do splurge!

I would let it buy me some frivolity in our day to day lives... which is sometimes sorely needed around here! : )

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

I don't know why, but it's really hard for me to spend money on myself now that I have kids. I love vintage/antique shops, too, and I've always loved shopping for purses and shoes- so maybe in those areas.

I also love old books, my mom has a collection of them, some are over 100 years old. That book was a great find, I love it!

Holly said...

I would probably spend my 1000 in the same way. I used to hate garage sales and thrift stores, but now I can think of no place I would rather shop for treasures. Our dump has a store and it has the best cheapest stuff. I do like the really unorganized junk stores...they seem to have more treasures. That book is fabulous. I adore old books.

angeltastic said...

Gosh, if I couldn't spend it on someone else, or twards repairs on the house, I don't have any idea what I would spend it on. I hardly ever shop for myself. Maybe a weekend trip?

lisleman said...

I would spend it at Norton Sales
Here's my post on that place.

Heidi said...

I love old cookbooks with handwritten notes in them and old recipe cards that are well used tucked in them. I can't resist those!

ChristineM said...

I love junk shops too! We have a lot of antique shops near here - plus the big Brimfield Flea a couple times a year - but they tend to be too pricey. One of my favorite things to browse through was old postcards - ones that had already been written and mailed. I used to think I would pick a few interesting ones, take them home then write a story that incorporates them.

A friend of mine is into "anything paper" - old money, books, stamps, personal papers, time he bought a box of "stuff" from an antiques dealer, and inside he found a series of letters written to a Boston schoolteacher during the WWI years - her students would write to her, often from the field, and often including their renderings and doodles about what they had seen, as well as very descriptive letters. It was a fascinating find!

Betty said...

Those look fantasic!
Trying to catch up on your great blogs!
I've missed you all!
Hoe you have a wondefrul and peaceful Sunday!
Big Hugs!
Betty xx

Chicago Mom said...

I would have to take that $1000 and head to Target to restock the medicine cabinet, get new sheet sets for the beds, new towels for the bathroom, new dishes for the kitchen,... you get the idea. Boring, but very much needed.

We love old junk/antique shops too. We are always looking for the Depression glass pieces we collect.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

...stopping by to say thhanks for leaving the kind words at farmhouse about Buddy and Teddy...

as you might imagine...this just took me out...i wondered if i would ever be able to breathe again....

thanks for thinking of means alot...

sending love,

Greatma said...

I am with you, I'd rather shop at the local thrift, or antique shop where everything is in a jumble, that's where you find great treasures, also the local flea markets!!!!!!!! I look for old books for my granddaughter who writes stories and poems.
Antique Rose