Sunday, November 5, 2017
Everything we own is from the thrift store. When I look down, everything I’m wearing is from the thrift store. It’s good stuff, and on a half price Wednesday or Saturday, you can get everything for about $1.50.
What are we going to do now, because the shopping center was bought and is being remolded by greedy land hoggers. The thrift store that has kept my family clothed and entertained by wandering a lazy Saturday, or looking for Halloween costumes, or stocking up for Santa’s workshop, the thrift store, our living room up the street with the dirty carpet but the good merchandise – it’s over.
When I heard they were closing for renovation and maybe never opening again because the rent would be doubled I froze in shock and then felt burning sick. This was not just a regular gross thrift store. This is our main store. We know all the faces that work there, and they know us. There’s this one lady that is always there on Wednesdays at half price Wednesday, she speaks like dutch or something, she’s always smiling at me and we talk about how big the kids are getting, this has been maybe 10 years. I never knew her name, we didn’t want to know our names, just knew each other as this place, as bargain hunters across the racks. Where will she be now on Wednesday? Released to the wild with the rest of us?
I had a dream that they turned the thrift store into a dollar store, with clean floors and bad lighting and no random surprises like the time I wished for a unicycle and there it was the next Wednesday. No more of the kids riding bikes through the store while I shop, where am I going to find $1 pants, or the various bags I like to buy to attach to my saddle for trail riding. Luckily my kids are big now, and we made it through 14 years, clothed by the thrift store. The kids learned to look for a brand they like, a price they like, and they learned to like surprises. Not every time. But mostly.
I don’t even have a picture of us shopping there, or what it looked like, because that’s like taking a picture when you’re at the dentist, or the grocery store, it’s just part of your fabric and would be slightly confusing to celebrate, say, your daily trip to the bathroom with a photo, even though these are the places that know us, silently support us, shoot us out into our day as better people. Our blood stream, another place we haven’t photographed. Who thinks to take pictures of sturdy reliable? Contentment?
I hope the lady who shops on Wednesday, and Rene from the back, and all the shoppers who went there for fun and not necessity like us, I hope we’ll all find our way at a probably more expensive thrift store. I hope ours will be back. Where will I buy the giant underwear that Gramma Susie tried on at Soup Plantation. Or the little brown dog with the red ribbon that Lilly sleeps with and calls “Ribbon.” Or what about my kids who went from 4 years old to 17 there. From below the racks to seeing over the top. I’m not that good at the background changing, I like the background, it’s important and familiar. It’s there so you know you’re somewhere, so you can keep going on being you.
You can’t get attached to property, a brusque military landlady told me when we had to move out of our tiny riverfront cabin in Maryland many years ago. Apparently she had never loved or been moved by anything. Never felt the trees guarding the house, or seen the water reflecting the light differently each day. She had never seen her baby ride a big wheel under a rack of clothing while clutching a sword and fighting off thrift store dragons. Or found the pillow shelf and covered herself in a thousand pillows because all forts should be made of pillows. Or found a Hollister sweatshirt brand new for $2.99. And take half off, because it was half price Wednesday. That is the trick of life, enjoying the floating downstream, because eventually at the end we all get dumped out, a drop in that big cosmic ocean.
Attention shoppers, the morning madness sale is now over. Please start making your way to the front to receive your discount and leave all your hangers on the rack. Thank you for shopping Sun Thrift.