Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dear Victoria,

I've been reading your blog for two years now and have often found myself green with envy. The stuff you find at op shops (thrift stores, for us American readers) amazes me. What goes on in Australia that you have this endless stream of bounty? All those cross-stitched red mushrooms with white polka dots, the circa 1974 issues of Family Circle, the souvenir tea spoons, the ineffable jar hats?

Maybe I'd have better luck at thrift shops if I went more often--so much of thrifting victory has to do with serendipity, it seems. But all the good stuff seems to have been snatched up when I go to thrift shops. My thrift zen has never been all that good.

Until this weekend.

We were in the mountains, in a fairly remote, but still reasonably populated area. The boys were getting squirrelly, so I suggested a ride down the mountain. When we passed the Rainbow Thrift Shop in downtown Spruce Pine, I just had a feeling that what I needed was right inside. And when I saw two whole shelves devoted to chicken statuary, I knew I'd found thrift heaven.

Victoria, I have the greatest respect for your ability to find amazing op shop booty. I bow down to you. And yet ... if you can top a statuette of a rooster perched on a rock gazing at another rooster--in fact, a tiny version of himself--ensconced in a snow globe, well, I will permanently take off my hat to you.

How many hours could one spend pondering the philosophical and spiritual implications of Big Rooster gazing at himself in that tiny, snowy world? Does he even know that the tiny rooster is his spitting image? Do roosters have mirrors? Do they know what they look like? Is this narcissism at its extreme? Maybe the rooster is contemplating how long it would take to peck through the glass ball to free the little rooster inside. Maybe the snow globe is actually a crystal ball, in which Big Rooster is looking into his own future, in which he is much smaller and lives on a farm where it snows all the time.

I hope this rooster will serve as an inspiration to you and all my op-shopping friends. The Sublime is out there, slightly used with a tiny crack or two, and it only costs two dollars. Hunt it down, girls, hunt it down. It's what makes life worth living.

Your Friend,


Danielle said...

I am in awe of your magnificent mountain op shop chicken. I would like to point out that only a rooster would gaze at himself in a snow globe. Never a hen.

The Pauls and Zimmermans have a long history of hiding at the host's house WVA black coal tchotchkes that would rock your world.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

"WV black coal tchtchkes that would rock your world." See, Danielle, this is why you should have a blog. You need to be documenting this stuff!

Victoria said...

The rooster and his self is glorious.
That is such a deep deep find - with meanings on so many levels, I hope you treasure it forever. Having had roosters my self I would say it's also very correct for their personality.
Confession: I get a lot of credit for having magical opshop skills and going with regular commitment. But here is the truth - I live in a very small town in the country where, SERIOUSLY, NO ONE wants any of the stuff I like at out two opshops. No one wants vintage fabric, no one wants the tchotchkes that would cost $10 at a Melbourne opshops and are 30 cents here, no one wants anything hand made (except maybe a passing antique dealer). So, it's always all their for me. Okay,there are actually two other people in the town who recognise the good stuff - but one is busy and she doesn'y go in that often although sometimes she gets stuff that I would have bought, and the other is young so goes in but sometimes doesn't have enough money on her - for example when I bouht a patchwrok quilt and she saw it on my couch she said "I was going to buy that but I didn't have enough money on me, and I KNEW you'd buy it before I went back." So, thereis a constant supply of fish in my opshopping sea and most of the time I am the only fisherwoman.
Moral of the story: Living in a cultural wasteland has it's benefits.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

This is so interesting, Victoria, because I feel like my situation is the opposite of yours, and maybe that explains my poor op shop (it's so much more fun to say op shop than thrift shop) showings. I live in a place where there are bunches of colleges and two major universities, and lots of artsy fartsy types in general, and they all get to the good stuff before I'm even out of the door.

But up in the mountains, it may be more like where you are--there was reams of good stuff everywhere I looked and it was like NO ONE ELSE WAS INTERESTED. How could that rooster snow globe even be up for grabs? Was it possible I was the only person who knew how cool it was. Yes, it was very possible.

Still, I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit for your unerring eye. You are the Queen of the Op Shop, my friend, whether anyone else in your town has the good sense to recognize it or not.

phoeberae said...

I love quirky op shop bargains but unlike Tor I lack the ability to put them all together to look interesting, arty and deliberate like she does. Mine end up just looking like junk! How she beautifully puts together playmobil animals, retro tea cups and knitted toys to come out looking so cool is beyond me. I too take my hat off to this lovely lady who I have had the pleasure of knowing in person.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Hi, phoeberae--I wish I had the pleasure of knowing Victoria in person--she's certainly one of my favorite blogland friends and is no doubt queen of the op shop! Thanks for stopping by!