My mom and her sister love to prowl thrift stores. So do I. When the three of us hit a thrift store together, we split up and keep our eyes open for things on each other's want list. For instance, last Thursday I found some of the Correlle mugs my aunt has been looking for, and my mom has has sometimes spotted pieces of my aunt's cut glass pattern and has snatched them up for her. (You have to act fast in our favorite thrift store. Some of the women who shop there are like sharks. They circle the workers who are bringing out new merchandise from the back, darting forward to snatch hot items from the carts before the employees can even put them on the shelves. Others use more devious techniques, chumming up to the workers in hopes that they'd covertly slip new items to them.)
Most recently, my aunt discovered a handmade quilt and passed it to my mother with instructions to show it to me in case I might be interested. I was in another part of the store working my way through old sheets, curtains, and lengths of fabric. I always hope that someday I'll get lucky and discover some vintage fabric or maybe even an old quilt top. Suddenly, it was my lucky day. I found first one, then another quilt top made from fabrics that were pretty clearly from the the '30s and '40s. They were very homey pieces of work, and I was admiring them both when it occurred to me that I'd better work my way through the rest of the section as quickly as possible because There Might Be More!!!!
And there were! I sped through the racks pulling top after top into my cart. I didn't dare stop to examine them closely lest our thrift store nemesis, a woman whom we suspect of owning an antique store, nip ahead of me to snatch up a yet unseen treasure. At last, when I'd been through the whole section, I paused to catch my breath and examine my loot. My mother finally found me as I was weighing the merits of each top.
"Look what Aunt Gloria found," she said. "Do you think it's handmade?" I gasped and began to hyperventilate.
"Yes, Mom," I said, "This is definitely hand quilted. This is exquisitely hand quilted. Look at the technique! Look at these incredible prints! Where did you find this?"
"With the bedspreads. There were more, but this was the best one. Of course, this is too expensive to buy, but I thought you'd like to see it."
I put the quilt firmly into my cart and said, "Show me the rest!"
It seemed to take forever as I followed her to the other side of the store. Yes, there were more quilts. Yes, this was the best one. But I wish I could have taken them all home. Most of them were damaged in some way -- split seams or particular fabric patches that had disintegrated over the years --and were overpriced for their condition. But what wonderful fabric prints they had! Alas, for the beautiful Double Wedding Ring that had been used (and loved) to death! With judicious folding, it and its companions might still have had a second career as decorative objects in a quilt lover's home. But the thrift store doesn't accept credit cards. (In fact, I strongly suspect that they require even God to pay cash.) I hadn't brought much money with me, but my mom loaned me the contents of her wallet (selflessly returning her intended purchases to the shelves) and I withdrew the maximum allowed from the in-store ATM. I thought it would be enough.
But at the register we discovered that I'd forgotten to include sales tax in my mental estimate of the total. My aunt loaned me a fiver while my mom and I dug frantically through our purses for loose change. But I was still short. Finally, my mom volunteered to withdraw an additional $20.00 from the ATM.
Still shaking with adrenaline, I bore my new treasures to the car. Then I took my mom and aunt out to lunch at the local Thai restaurant -- using my credit card.
(Tomorrow I'll post pictures!)