Thrift store shopping is all the rage. Clothing and household goods get a second life, proceeds from purchases usually benefit a non-profit, and for those who can’t afford new clothes for themselves or their family, they’re a boon.They’re also an excellent place to shop for Halloween.
In the year leading up to my father’s death, most of our purchases came from a thrift store. After Dad died and Mom had three young girls to raise, our clothes and shoes came from the local St. Vincent de Paul. We enjoyed going there and the kind treatment by the woman who volunteered for the store.
We didn’t own a car, and within a few weeks of our dad dying, mom loaded us girls with arms of his clothing, and we walked to the store to donate them. I’ll never forget the pain of that day. When we walked in the door, she asked us how our dad was. I couldn’t possibly say ‘he died’ so instead I said “he’s fine” and fled to the back of the store as the tears welled up yet again. I turned ten a few months later.
In my early teens, I was more aware of the scarcity around us. That’s when the shame set in. We lived in affluent Millbrae, but on the ‘wrong’ side of the tracks. Girls would ask if my dress was new and I never knew how to respond. It wasn’t new of course, just new to me. I felt trapped between telling the truth and my personal shame. The last time I shopped at that local thrift, I went in to find a pair of overalls. They were all the rage in the day, so I hoped to find a pair of my own.
When I walked out of the store, a school bus drove by and I imagined everyone on that bus looking at me with judgment. I jumped back into the shop, my heart pounding and waited for the bus to pass.
I was in college before I mustered the courage to enter a thrift store again. I found several treasures for a few dollars, and brought them home to decorate my room. The problem, though, was that smell. It’s a mix of stale fabrics, moth balls and the collective journey of donated items. It’s also the smell of loss and shame and grief.
It’s wonderful to have worked through so much of those feelings as I continue a path of healing. I’m able to embrace the thrift store experience once again. Not only is it trendy to recycle fashion, it’s practical, economical and green. Items get a second life.
So, with that in mind, I’ve been haunting local thrift stores in search of the perfect find. Once I get past the smell, those thrift stores no longer haunt me.
Throughout October, I’m keeping track of the candy I **don’t** eat.I’m feeling great, losing weight and enjoying the sense of control I’ve gained over my extra-curricular eating.I’m rewarding myself with a happy face stamp. It’s fun and a way to stay self-aware.
Under-the-sea Costume Update:
I had all kinds of fun last Friday, and again over the weekend. I planned out the rest of the details for my costume, draping and pinning as I went along. I ran out of safety pins, so had a few ‘tender’ moments getting the dress on and off. I picked up a bag of pins on Sunday.
Thrift store finds: Purple dress, two sections of fabric and a pair of unique earrings
I cut the smaller of the two pieces of fabric in half, then draped it over the shoulder of the dress to create a short-sleeved top. I’m using the longer length of fabric for a cape. I found a unique pair of earrings for two dollars. I removed the earring and used the rest as faux fasteners for the cape.
Mike’s getting into the spirit of dressing up this year and he’s having fun. We went back to Savers and bought a pant suit, soon to be converted into his cape. The dark green and swirly pattern are perfect. The thrift store pricing fit the bill too. Don’t worry, it will be manly when I’m done with it, with zero trace of this suit.
Thrift store finds: Green and Gold chiffon pantsuit
Pumpkins on Parade:
Will of Marking Our Territory had the following to say about this year’s crop: