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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Antiquing we have gone

I’m not a big fan of verbing, but I’ll do it here for the sake of simplicity. As I said in a previous entry, until maybe a year and a half ago, I had no interest in antiques at all. Until then, I might have gone into half a dozen antique stores in my entire life. If any of you are interested in antiques, get ready to laugh at my ignorance. I don’t mind. I laugh at it myself!

So Adamstown basically consists of a highway with antique shops on it. Sometimes a restaurant or a drug store, but not much else. Many are Pennsylvania Dutch-themed, by which I mean, their names, not their contents. One was called German, and there was nothing especially Deutsch about it. Maybe they ran out of clever local-themed monikers. Or maybe they are sick of the phrase “Pennsylvania Dutch,” because these people are not Dutch at all; they are ethnically German. And they don’t sell antiques, they use them every day.

To backtrack a tiny bit, when I first ventured out in search of vintage glass, I was puzzled by the set-up of most antique stores. They are a series, sometimes a seemingly endless one, of little tiny-three sided booths. Each booth, I discovered, is owned and operated by a vendor, who pays rent and administrative costs for it. Vendors often take turns guarding the merchandise for one another. They wear big bunches of keys to open the locked glass cases and you can always locate them easily. In these stores, someone is always watching you, and I think this must have been learned over the years by trial and error, due to breakage and pilferage. A lot of old things are small and fragile. Go figure!

So when you enter you see all these rows and rows of booths all looking totally random, because they are. The closest thing to organization I saw was toys, books, and Christmas ornaments. All other booths are a hodge-podge, and except for those few specialties, what you are looking for can easily be spread from one end of the place to the other. If the venue is a single shop in Plant City, for example, you can tour around and maybe finish a twenty-vendor store in an hour. In Adamstown, they are called antique barns, malls and warehouses for a reason. You stay there all day.

Then there’s glut. So many things all jammed into one place. You don’t know where to start. We tend to go counter-clockwise, like in a supermarket. And there are rooms on rooms and plenty of two-story-buildings, and unless you want someone on your heels to show you, say, every WW II German pistol in the store, you have to look for your stuff yourself. And Joyce likes to carry stuff around and compare things, so we always have to keep track of where we got stuff, or where we left it, because if you pick something up and walk two feet, there is a vendor ready to take it up front for you. So I would check an entire store without picking anything up, until I was certain, and then I would back-track. Totally different method from Joyce. One other caveat: I stink at taking pictures of things. So if I want to show you something, I’ll find a link to one like it on line. It will save tons of bother.

We drove out and turned right, and went until we found the first open antique place. I can’t remember all the names but this wasn’t as large as some. Even so, after wandering around and around, we were ready to buy something. Here’s another funny practice: Everything is automatically ten percent off. You can try bargaining if you wish, but I am not at all good at that, so I leave it to Joyce. She always gets more off; I never do. It was in the first place that I found my slag. Slag is one of those odd things that is rare, in fact, unique, and worthless at the same time. It’s a mix of types of glass from cleaning out the molds at the end of the day, and every piece is different. By rare I mean, you will see 500 pieces of “normal” milk or Carnival glass before you see one piece of slag. Until this trip, I had never seen one. Here’s close to what I got:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/271179419862?lpid=82

Once again, I tried to make a link, and in fact the URL just disappeared, so I have to put it in as plain text.

Later in the trip I saw a few, a very few, other pieces of slag. I was glad I grabbed this when I saw it. And it has subsequently disappeared into a hidden gift cache (each of us keeps one of these for the other) to reappear on a special occasion. We shop for gifts year round. Reduces stress.

So after one store, we were both exhausted! Again! Yes, even though we were no longer staying at the Tsetse Fly, some of the effects lingered. We were both running out of energy quickly, which Joyce blamed on the stairs and I blamed on my weight. So we went to a diner we had spotted while grocery shopping. Joyce is a big fan of family-owned businesses. Did you know you can get chicken livers Italian style? Me, neither. And baklava as well.

After lunch we went to one more place, and it was so big we didn’t finish it, but decided to return later in the week. It was here Joyce started hunting for gigantic glass vases to house her kitchen tools so they are easy to reach on the counter. And interesting containers for the top of her new desk, to keep crap in. This is good! It gives me plenty of time and leeway to get what I want if she can get whatever she wants. I found this and convinced her it would make a great Valentine’s Day gift.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/FENTON-ART-GLASS-HEART-SHAPED-HUMMINGBIRD-BLUE-CARNIVAL-GLASS-TRINKET-BOX-/281207294945

Joyce thought it was beautiful amd wanted me to get it then, but I wanted to see more, and these places weren't crowded. No worries, I did go back and get it, but not at this price. Holy moly, I can't justify that much for one piece. Later on, though, I got a piece she finds incredibly ugly. And I bought it anyhow, damn it! I have no intention of returning to this area in my life, let alone any time soon.

And here's a picture of foliage we took while wandering around the countryside. As usual, overcast, if not raining.

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