I loved flea markets too. We would travel to an old drive-in movie theater that converted to an outdoor flea market nearly every weekend.
Auctions were even better -- but as a child I was often a little fearful of even scratching my nose, in case the caller thought I was bidding on something. Sometimes they had flea market finds for sale too. I liked those. No bidding involved -- no potential for nose-scratching-accidental-purchases.
Once, I bought an old cigar box that had tiny seashells glued to the cover. The old man selling it looked at me quite seriously after my purchase and said, 'Now you take care of that box, honey...'
I felt responsible for that box. This man had entrusted me with something that had been special to him -- now I was the keeper of the box.
I had that box for years. It held trinkets, pens, anything small enough and special enough. I got a little nostalgic when I finally realized I no longer needed it and should just give it away. I thought about what little girl might buy it for a dollar at Goodwill and what she would decide to store in it and then I happily added it to the 'giveaway' pile.
We never really went antique shopping though. Antiques to me symbolized people who had money... and we didn't. It would be years before I realized that while many antiques are worth a small fortune, there are plenty to be had within budget -- many of them can be found at those same flea markets and thrift stores, disguised under the label: 'junk'.
Nowadays, I love to poke around antique malls and stores. This past weekend, a friend and I spent the entire day wandering through endless shelves of old stuff.
There were old toys...
And much more.
I walked away with a few vintage hankies, a sock darner, some refrigerator pyrex I had been on the hunt for (more on that later...) in addition to a few blisters. The Sailor had warned me that the boots I put on that morning probably weren't made for walking. He knew his prophecy to be true when I came home and crumpled into a heap on the sofa.
Sore feet aside, I also scored these fabulous 1940s dish-towels:
Perfect for my often mismatched and rather kitsch kitchen.