To Market, To Market, To Buy a Fresh Flea…
Greenwood Red and I went and “did” brunch. Then we went to purchase nine (nine!) bales of very-exciting straw for my very-exciting straw-bale garden project (I hope it will look like this when it's done, only with vegetables).
So, since we were feeling all suburban and adult by doing both brunch and the hardware store on a Saturday, we thought we'd cap it off with a walk-through of the flea market.
Which was profoundly entertaining. It was a virtual feast, a garden of earthly delights, the detritus and ephemera of people's lives— plus the bizarrely and blatantly questionable attempts by someone (but who?) to make a quick buck in the most delightful and/or peculiar of ways.
Items One Can Purchase at the Flea Market, if One Should Desire to Do So:
A glass Mrs. Butterworth bottle, minus the syrup, cap, and label. This will set you back $3.00.
A piano, without strings. Or keys. Price unknown.
Ziploc bags filled with hotel toiletries, some of which also included a (hopefully) clean pair of socks. ($1.00 per. Get 'em before they're gone. Best Western soaps are hard to come by.)
Ziploc bags filled with unwanted, mixed-up Keurig coffee pods. Cheaper than any Keurig pods from anywhere else. But mostly decaf. Also, still in Ziplocs from someone's kitchen table somewhere. (In my heartless estimation, this would be a questionable purchase.)
Still in pristine boxes: the Disneyland “Monorail” board game and, its brother, the Disneyland “Frontierland” board game. These were shrink-wrapped, probably dated to the opening of the original park, pre-frozen Uncle Walt, and were $22.00 each.
A bedazzled sugar canister. (As in, someone literally took their sugar canister and hot-glued plastic rhinestones to the surface.) $10.00.
A Flowbee. Not bedazzled. Definitely well-used, but still with the original, if battered and dog-eared, box.
Pirate, sea-farer, and other-masculine-weathered-male ceramic mugs (Captain Kangaroo?). Perfect for one's morning cuppa, shared with two friends.
Very popular at the flea market: Patently Obvious Dollar Store/Tree/General merchandise: kitchen spices, feminine products, baby lotion, deodorant, gift bags, and pens. Fair warning: these cost about $1.50 to $2.00 each— because they have that flea market cachet added on now.
Miscellaneous jewelry, beads, magnets, fishing lures, buttons, and (?) in Ziplocs. (Ziplocs are very popular in the flea-market world. You can buy a bag of almost anything– a bunch of tangled anythings– in a Ziploc at the Flea Market.)
Used hats. (Prices vary. Wash in very hot water.)
Still-in-shrink-wrap but clearly aged candy– in large quantities. Like, as in, 36 packs of that gum they don't make anymore; that gum with early '90's popular font. But hey, 36 packs of old gum (new! in package!) for $3.90. Helluva deal.
Dolls. An abundance of dolls. Very, very creepy dolls.
Also, clown dolls. Even more creepy. (Greenwood Red says clowns are fun. Greenwood Red is sadly mistaken.)
A picture frame with someone's family photo still inside– from not very long ago. (This made me sad.)
A 1960 yearbook from a local high school. Reasonably priced at $25.00. (This also made me sad.)
A test missile (seriously). For $33.00.
Fine Art– actual paintings. Priced to support the artist's ego and your budget. Perfect for hanging above a fireplace:
Star Trek, Next Generation figurines (still in battered packages): Picard as Borg, Guinan, Wharf as Cowboy.
The same Lite Brite in the same box that I had as a child and that's still in my Dad's shed, waiting on me to retrieve it (Oh, I will, little buddy, believe me, I will): $30.00.
Two church pews. Not including hymnals. Sadly.
A suit of armor. (It's not real. Don't get excited. I'm an art history major and I checked it up-close. It's real metal, but it's not old; it's certainly not authentic. 'Course, the multiple-different centuries all mixed-up in one suit probably told you that.) Only $259.00 though. Not bad. Plus, it is still a suit of armor.
Samurai swords. $10 to $30 each. Also not real.
Dream-catchers of all sizes.
Chipped mugs, stained bedding, broken music instruments, sheet music, stained and matted stuffed animals. Children's clothes.
An entire corner filled with 20 to 30 vacuum cleaners. (Plug it in before you buy. All sales are final. Bonus: some of the canisters hadn't been emptied…possible treasure surprise!)
Hair clips! $1.00 each. Hot-glue, free time, and a penchant for crochet. Let no one tell you entrepreneurship is dead in America. It's alive and well at the Flea Market.
Vinyl records, cassettes, VHS tapes.
Suspicious laptops and computers. (MacBook Air for $349. Virus included!)
A shrunken head.
A circa 1901 wooden wheelchair. (This was both sad and creepy.)
A china plate with dogs playing poker painted on it. (It's possible that this came home with Greenwood Red and me.)
Salt-and-pepper caddy shaped like a horse.
The thing about a flea market: no fleas, no ant farms, no animals. (It could have used some cats, if you ask me.)
The other thing about a flea market… some of these things, these objects, you just know they've all got a story to tell. They all came from somewhere. Whose kitchen table was graced with that horse? Whose Christmas holiday was enlivened by that big felt thing with sparkles? Whose yearbook was that?
And how did it end up here, on these shelves, in these Ziplocs, jumbled together with big-eyed owl cookie jars and broken bits of clip-on jewelry, and outgrown children's clothes?
Who chose the scary clown? Who loved it?
Who sat in that chair? Played that broken flute?
Who drank from that mug and why did they pick that one out in the first place?
And do they still enjoy country music?