Thrift Store Mondays & Mom: Missing you both!
May 13, 2012 12:08 pm
Updated: May 25, 2012 4:32 am
I can't even pinpoint the exact date that these days started. At best guess it was the late '90's and it began with my sister. She had Mondays off and she was the good daughter. She would drive 45 minutes to my Mom's house and they would go shopping and
out to lunch. My sister could get her errands done and also check up on our aging, widowed mother. If anything needed to be done on Mom's house or in the yard, she would arrange for her husband and his father to take care of business. I want to say I had a
hit or miss attendance in the early days but really started taking my Mondays seriously around the time my son started school in "98-99. Back then it was a luxury to have a full day to get my errands done, find some bargains and go out to lunch. It was always
hopeful on the bargain part but ever so worth when I did find them.
Yes, indeed, I am talking about hitting the
thrift stores. Back in my college days there weren't any thrift stores north of the river and the only one I had ever gone to south of the river was not a place I would ever want to go back to, yuck! After my dad died my, my Mom started going to a little
hole in the wall store called "Nearly New". It is a non-profit store and has expanded since way back when. Me, I rather scoffed at shopping at a thrift store. After all, I had grown up with hand me downs.
Why would you go to a store on purpose to buy them? I had a cool sled which I thought was mine till it was reclaimed. I must have started my bicycle days by riding one of the oldest Schwinn bicycles ever. For heaven's
sake, it was hanging in an old chicken shed when it was bought back to life for me. It must be in a museum now.
So why go to a thrift store to look through other people's stuff? Oh, because you can find some of the most excellent bargains. And that we did. We hunted so well in our little pack. Me, my sister and Mom. We knew each others color preferences, sizes and possible
needs. Before anyone ever got out of the car on those thrift store Mondays, this question was always asked, " Do you need anything in particular or are you just out for lunch and along to look?".
Here are just a few of my favorite things that I have found over the years with my pack. Or should that be pride? :) The shelf was a find by my fellow hunter and sister. The plant at the bottom my Mom found at the thrift store where I find the best buys on
The flowers are in a vase I liked because of the color.
So the tree didn't really come from a thrift store but it along with 2 others were purchased on a thrift store Monday excursion, with one of the stops being K-mart back when those trees were so much cheaper. I love this Japanese maple for its color in the sun.
I used to bring Mom a bouquet of my flowers for Mother's day. I dug those peonies from my grandma's farm and that lovely purple iris from the
DH's great aunt's house.
I'd have to say my attitude changed 100% towards thrifts when I was pregnant and money was scarce. Being able to get things that I needed for little was extremely important to me then. My sister and mother had already scoped out lots of the thrifts that were
springing up north of the river. If ever there were two more discerning women about the quality and condition of things, it was them. Both of them could give bloodhounds a run for their money. If a place smelled bad or their stuff was dirty that was it. They
did not go back. Mom's favorite was always "Nearly New". It was the first she started going to. It was close to home and I think it gave her something to do after dad died. She also said one of the volunteers who
OK'd items told her one time that "if I wouldn't take it home neither will anyone else." That meant something to Mom. And still to this day that is one of the nicer stores to go to. Sadly, most of the volunteers who
knew us by sight and expected us on Mondays are gone.
Those Mondays weren't just about the potential of finding bargains either. These were the days we all got to get dressed up, see each other and go out to lunch. Going out to lunch was a big deal because we weren't saddled with any men who could only eat at
certain places. Depending on which direction we were headed gave us the choice of restaurant for that day. And on special occasions, like birthdays, we would head up the highway to the mall (when it existed) hit those thrifts at that end of town and eat at
Red Lobster.. Hey, I know it isn't the greatest place for seafood but what can I say? We are landlocked here and it
was fancy for us. And whoever's birthday it was didn't have to pay because the other two took care of the check! Sometimes we would miss the actual birthday and Mom would announce before heading out, "Don't
we have a missed birthday and shouldn't we head towards Red Lobster?"
On really special occasions we would be joined by other relatives and friends. Maybe it was a day off or a holiday but those days were so much fun. More girls to talk to and catch up with. More to share the thrill of the hunt with! And, of course, to make memories
with. Like the time my sister's daughter came with us. We had taken Mom's car with my sister driving because letting Mom drive would have driven us all to have a liquid lunch. We had finished a stop and were heading to the next. I was riding shotgun. Suddenly,
I hear a strangled "Wait!" from the back seat. Evidently my sister had failed to see if all her passengers arms and legs were in the vehicle before proceeding to back up. My niece, while laughing hysterically, was trying alert
her mother, part of her mother was still hanging out of the car! What can I say? My sister is pretty focused when shopping but after that she did at least start looking over her shoulder and asking the back seat passengers
if they were in the car before taking off.
I can't say each and every Monday was perfect. Some of those days Mom might not be so lovable or one of us might not be in the best of moods. In the case of Mom, she was getting older. First, it was her hearing. She started saying "what did you say more often"
or missing some of the conversation. Then her blood pressure became a problem. We didn't know the breast cancer was already at work then but I wonder if Mom did. There is one day in particular that I so remember. Mom was getting on my sister's nerves. I always
looked at Mom and spoke distinctly because I knew she wouldn't understand me that was until my sister convinced Mom she had to get hearing aids. That was a tough sell since Mother always thought she couldn't understand her elder daughter because of her teeth.
On this day Mom had said one too many times she couldn't understand whatever my sister was saying on the count of her teeth being crooked. For once I heard my sister snap at Mom. Hey, that was the good daughter and quite the surprise. Me, I had always been
on the receiving end of Mom's criticisms. On that day though, maybe it was the maturity I was finally achieving, I thought to myself these days are numbered so why snap at the little old woman exasperating thought she might be? Some day there will be no more
Mondays. Even if each day wasn't perfect I was determined to enjoy it even if I had to grit my teeth. Which I did on more than one occasion.
I'm glad I did because it has been 5 years since those days ended. Another Monday approaches and there is no one to go to the thrifts with me. My sister is retired and travels so she doesn't really need anything even when she is here. More importantly there
is no one to catch up or share the daily life news with. Even if I go by myself, which I do sometimes, no one will ever start the ride with "what do you need or are you just looking today?" No bits of gossip shared in the car or "did you see where"'s either.
I'm still missing you, Mom, and those thrift store Mondays but I am sure glad that I had all the ones I did!
And to my anonymous AR gifting angel, I hope you enjoyed this story and I thank you for letting me share it. This month I was going to have to invoke my LVN rule (luxury vs. necessity rule) as my AR
membership was due to expire. Afraid it was looking like the luxury side was winning and I have to cut back on those right now, so thank you again for your gift.
Would you please tell me how to get my daily emails of recipes, though? Darned if I don't miss those :)(: !
Happy Mother's Day! I hope everyone enjoys their day!