Sunday, November 16, 2008

There and Back Again

My oldest daughter wanted a friend to sleepover this Friday with a night trip to the thrift store. Apparently, word is out at school and thrifting is hot. My girls wish to continue to charge the lead.

A few unexpected things happened during this adventure. In their foraging they learned more than how to save money, reuse, and support charity; they learned a little history.

They found an old perambulator. It captivated them. It captivated me. To think this vintage pram could still run smoothly through a park and sway a little one into a deep slumber. How I’d love to nap in that! Let’s contrast that gorgeous pram to the plastic nightmares of today. What happens to them when the child out grows them? Hopefully they are handed down, but eventually break. Do people solder plastic in their workshops at home? Probably not, it probably releases some kind of toxin and besides plastics require molds. Off to the landfill!

This reminds me of my pursuit of a high chair over a decade ago, I wanted a simple wooden one and searched the town up and down and finally found one at an unfinished furniture store. One of our contributors, Thriftfully Modern Mommy, wanted the same and found a darling high chair for under $10 at the thrift store. If you’re not a parent, you’re not aware of the plastic constructs people sit their little ones in for dinner. They are so huge and complex, I imagine them turning into one those robot transformers and crashing through the front window as a car, with baby inside. This is no insult to those who have one. The mass market doesn’t offer a choice. In the end, it’s the landfill for those plastic high chairs. Me? I have stored away my wooden one and it waits for grandchildren.

On Friday night’s adventure, we found a beautiful hot chocolate service set in the glass cabinet. I don’t think it was on par with Limoge, but it was pretty. The girls were enamored and daydreaming; I know they were thinking that someone like Anastasia had sipped cocoa from it. Where is our ceremony these days? Our hot chocolate is mostly steamed up in a paper cup a la corrugated cup holder. A plastic lid even smashes the cloud-like whip cream and covers the inviting color of the cocoa. It’s like we’re hiding this childhood delight.

"By relaxing our culture with
plastic strollers and paper cups,
have we relaxed our imagination?"

By relaxing our culture with plastic strollers and paper cups, have we relaxed our imagination? How does one make up a fanciful story about a princess sipping cocoa from a plastic cup with an ad on the front?

The girls came home with wonderful finds but they also came home with a sense of the way things used to be, a time when we placed more value into everyday items and everyday ceremony.

Take children to the thrift store and see what items they find that encourages their imagination or makes them ask about items from the past like my silver plate sugar scuttle with scoop.

We also touched on color theory and learning to assemble clothes that match your personal color print. But that is a story for Thriftfully Modern Mommy to tell as a graduate of Savannah College of Art.

5 comments:

Angela said...

Just found this blog via a FB post and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! My boys are 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 and they LOVE thrift stores! Many the superhero toys, superhero t-shirts, and cool shoes have been found there. If I offer up a shopping outing, their pick is always Goodwill or Value World! Love it!

Shopping Golightly said...

Angela,
Thank you for those kind words. I'm quite the novice, two months at it so any encouragement helps. Good to know you're raising thrifty kids! Our next generation of shoppers MUST be one very different from ours.

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Birdie said...

I know this is an old post, but I went through the same insane search for a plain wooden high chair. I don't know if you wanted one with a tray or not; I wanted my kids to be able to eat from the table with us, not separately. My mom found a vintage wood one at a rummage sale (with tray) and my grandmother managed to locate the one I wanted by asking the owner at the Chinese restaurant we've been going to since before I was born where they bought theirs. I believe it was only $15~.