Posted by: cassymuronaka | February 19, 2009

Aunt Dark and other thrift store gems

I am a periodic patron of thrift stores. Although, given the economic state of the union, it may not be too long before I will be writing that I am a perpetual patron of thrift stores.

During a rainy three-day trip to Santa Cruz, I passed some time in an establishment literally called “Thrift Store,” where I happened upon a rare find. No, it wasn’t the April 14 dinner menu of the RMS Titanic, but it wasn’t half bad. For a mere $29, I picked up an almost-new Sam Moore wing chair with carved wooden legs and virtually unstained ivory upholstery.


It is impossible to communicate how very unhappy my husband was when I asked him to unpack all of the luggage from the back of our Honda CRV in order to clear space for this chair. In the pouring rain. But it was he who suggested stopping at the second-hand shop on our way out of town, so he reaped what he sowed.

A slightly less troublesome bargain was the olive Eddie Bauer blazer that I found for my son, priced at $4.50. He wore that out the door. But there was no way to bring home the 30 or so Asian vases that would have looked spectacular scattered all over my backyard.


Inexpensive goods are not the only appeal of the thrift stores. While wandering the aisles of a Salvation Army or Goodwill it is easy to speculate about the lives and drives of those who have donated inventory. Who draped herself in the spectacular satin Wonder Woman cape that, for one insane moment, I thought about buying? Did she wear it to the Mardi Gras or a college Halloween party? Was it a good party?

One man’s vintage is another man’s stuff-that-your-Depression-era-mother-could-never-throw-away. Or stuff that someone gave you without having a clue about who you are. Falling into the latter category at the Santa Cruz store was a clearly unused, metal and fake fur kitty-cat frame with commercial photo of a feline already inside of it. Inexplicably over-priced at $2.99, the item was intriguing for its gift inscription, which was not removed when the gift’s recipient rid herself of it. “To Rachel,” it read, “from Aunt Dark.




  1. LOVE the chair!!! Why didn’t you ship the vases? You’re right; they’d be great in the back.

  2. That is a classy chair, indeed. And I will be wondering who in the world Aunt Dark could possibly be.

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