Can I get that wholesale?
Growing up in a place nicknamed “wholesale city” where finding a “good deal” is a point of civic pride, thrift shopping has been part of my life since childhood.
As well as being a fun hobby, since I’m grateful for my own blessings and resources it’s also a way I can help others, along with practicing the 3Rs, reduce, reuse and recycle, to help the environment too.
I started with vintage out-of-print books, and my late mother and I spent many happy Saturday afternoons scouring flea markets and charity sales to add to my collection.
Oh, the thrill of discovering an early Louisa May Alcott story beneath old magazines, or beautifully bound Victorian and Edwardian hardbacks amongst dog-eared paperbacks.
Along with historical fiction, my love for the art and craft of book design began with spending my allowance (pocket money) on books still on my “keeper” shelf today.
Student life and beyond
At university on a student budget, “thrifting” was both necessity and way of life. From party dresses to kitchen items, buying used helped my money go further.
When I moved to England, I not only found a second home but a new world of charity shops too.
From more vintage books, many inscribed in gorgeous penmanship from a vanished age, to a Victorian tea set I use each Christmas, many memories of my British life have links with “charity.”
When I now return to the UK on holiday, the trip isn’t complete without visiting a favourite charity shop in the village I called home.
More than any tourist site, to me it’s integral to the “real” England I love and miss.
My small-town life
Nowadays, my small Canadian town’s thrift store is still a wonderful place to visit on Saturday afternoons, and I browse seasonal displays, chat with friends and nab a bargain—or two!
The vintage “Hollie Hobbie” mug I use as an organizer on my writing desk came from there as did my similarly vintage front porch rocking chair.
But perhaps the most special “find” is also the most recent.
This cake plate in Royal Albert’s long-discontinued Petit Point china pattern is one I remember my mother having.
When, after her sudden death, I had the sad job of readying my childhood home for sale, I searched for her plate without success.
So my new-old plate is a special reminder of my mom.
And when I use it, I like to think she’s with me in spirit and maybe still enjoying our shopping expeditions too.