It's hard to even conceptualize a time in my life when I could wake up when I wanted to (!), start my day with a run and a leisurely cup of coffee, and have no one but myself to worry about. But once upon a time, that was true. I'd cruise out to 82nd avenue where a few of the best thrift stores in Portland, Oregon were, or if I was feeling especially adventurous, 162nd Avenue. Sundays, after all, meant everything was an extra 25 percent off, to say nothing of whichever color tag they discounted that day.
I love SO many things about thrifting. I love the challenge, I love the element of surprise--what will I find today? I love the aspect of nostalgia, of coming across little things that remind me of my childhood or people who have come and gone from my life.
Every once in a while I still get the itch to go "thrifting." It's complicated because it's not the kind of thing you can rush, and the only decent thrift store I've found relatively nearby is still a good twenty minutes away. Our weekend errands are not usually what I would call "leisurely" and they almost always entail dragging a kid (or four) along on. I brought Leo and Ellie to a thrift store a few years ago and it was a confirmed disaster--we spent way too much time looking at broken and in some cases altogether scary looking toys. Neither one of them would stay in the same place and they were touching everything.
But it dawned on me that at 5 1/2, it might be time to try again with Ellie (Leo would probably be fine now too but we've been trying to give them plenty of time apart on the weekends whenever possible as we've been deep into Def con Level Nine with the sibling rivalry lately, not sure why).
So last Sunday, Ellie and I set out to Goodwill in Springfield, New Jersey.
"What kind of a store is it?" Ellie asked me from the back of the mini van.
"Well, it's kind of...an everything store!" I replied, knowing the tone in which I delivered this information was key. "Imagine a store where you can find almost anything, and you never know what you're going to get. It's sort of like...a treasure hunt!"
Ellie's eyes grew wide. "Are there toys?"
"Yes," I answered weakly.
When we arrived at Goodwill I appeased Ellie by going straight to the toy section. Luckily she was unimpressed and agreeably moved onto the clothes. She immediately began scanning the racks for me, asking me what size I was. Bless her heart, she held up one hideous skirt after the next, asking me if this one or that one was "fashiony enough?" You have to give her credit for trying.
In the end, she was the best thrift store shopping buddy I could have asked for. She was patient and kind and complimentary, albeit perhaps a bit too enthusiastic (everything I held up to myself in the mirror she pronounced "Oh Mommy that's SO pretty on you!").
And I think there was something special about sharing this little pastime from, well, my past, with one of my children. At some level, I feel like when I shop at thrift stores (OK, stop snickering) I reconnect at some level with the "Old Me," the one who had lots of outside interests and plenty of time to actually indulge myself in them. In the end, I wound up buying something for literally everyone in the house but myself (I'm not complaining, sometimes that's just how it goes when "thrifting" and you just have to be very zen about it).
But I think you'll agree that Ellie garnered the best "score."
I can't be sure of the date but I'm guessing from the look of it 1970s? I need to get a good look at the
label (Saks Fifth Avenue) and do some serious Googling.
Red is hands down my favorite color (especially on my little girls!) but it took me a while to figure out what I loved so much about this dress.
Of course! It's almost exactly like the dress worn in "Annie."
It made me extra happy that Ellie was so excited to actually wear this dress. I think she latched on to the fact that it's red and she knows that's my favorite. Lately, whenever we're in a store she'll point out the red items to me. But several times in the past I've bought things for her and brought them home, only to be met with a look of disappointment or disinterested shrug (I'm hoping that was a snippy four-year old phase--almost six years old is, dare I say...quite entertaining, she's morphing into quite a little considerate companion these days).
And this morning she practically skipped to school (the red cowboy boots were her idea) wondering aloud, "I wonder what Miss M. will think of my dress?"
Yesterday as we set off on a walk to the park she noticed a flyer on the ground by our driveway, it was a notice saying that a Goodwill truck would be in our area picking up donating items.
"Look, Mommy!" she said pointing to the Goodwill logo, "It's the everything store! When can we go back there?"
Folks, my parenting work is done.