Near the end of my road trip, last month, I made sure I had time to visit the local antique mall near Chambersburg, PA, because it was a favorite place for me to “take a wander” when I was living there. With 4-5 buildings loaded with all sorts of antiques (and some handmade crafts), who wouldn’t want to stop by?
I’m always fascinated by the immense variety, not only of the items themselves, but in how well some have been taken care of through the years. You can tell that some people go looking for antiques in thrift stores, so they can keep their booths well-stocked with treasures that are in good condition. Other people are just looking for a buck or two, in order to get rid of their junk.
Looking through the kitchenware is a must, for me, because I’m always looking for Mirro cookie presses, but some of the other things are very tempting. It makes me want to buy random items for cool-looking storage, and not always to be put to their original use.
Some people collect old bottles, but I’m not really familiar with the ins and outs of what makes a good one. I have some beautiful matching green bottles with a wave pattern running around them. They look like vases, almost, but they’re too narrow at the top and too tall to get any flower or plant into. I’d been searching for a bottle to give a friend that collected them… and ended up keeping them for myself. But I still look, when I’m in the antique shops.
I love the freestanding drawers that come from old sewing machines. If you see the picture with the “Our Leader” metal plate (near the top, after the rolling pins), the drawers are behind it. When you pull the drawer out to use, there’s no outer “wall” to it, so you see the gap it leaves. Someday, I’m going to buy one to put on my desk or dresser. They’re beautiful.
As I wandered through the stores, I was surprised at how much I liked the dancers figurine and the busts, atop the wooden cupboard (below the deer head). But then, right next to them, on a lower table, I was almost alarmed at how creepy some other clay faces can be.
The sleds reminded me of one we had when I was little, but then, that was the last time we lived anywhere near the “serious” snow. No point in buying another, when you live in the south. Some other kitchen gizmos were interesting, but some of them, I had no idea what they were for, even after looking at the tag. I thought some ladies would be thrilled to have that sign about what their husband called to say.
I can’t help looking closely when I come across any thick ceramic crocks. My family has a huge one that we use for a trash can, and I have memories of playing in it when I was little. It only had sewing room scraps in it, then, and we were small enough to fit into it. We occasionally got stuck, too, and had to be pulled out. But try as I might, I can never find one that’s as big as ours, and they’re mightily expensive, even when they get close.
The glass telephone sign was pretty neat, and I wished I could come up with a place to put it, but until I have my own place again, there’s really no point in stocking up on more stuff. The glass doorknobs were beautiful, reminding me of some I had at my last house. And though I couldn’t think of any use for the balls of thick carpet cord (that’s what the tag says!), I’m pretty sure my crafty cousins would have come up with something.
Amidst the fun of old Star Wars glasses and classic kids’ books, you’ll find terrifying items like this yellow-eyed baby doll. I wouldn’t give it to any child of mine, because they’d probably have nightmares until they were fifty. It reminded me of a booth that used to be in that building, which had a mannequin that was dressed in vintage clothing. But one of my little cousins was scared to death of it, and would have to leave that area, in tears, not willing to even walk by it. I should let him know that it isn’t there anymore.
The wheel that was meant for rubber stamps put me in mind of getting my library book stamped, when I was a child, and of the scenes in The Music Man, where Harold Hill sings to Marian the Librarian, and she ends up stamping his hand, several times.
The old-fashioned rolling tea cart was fun and charming, and the glass table with the bear holding it up made me smile. And the metal lunchboxes and Smurf glasses made me think of my childhood. My grandma collected the Smurf glasses, and we always used them when we visited her in Pennsylvania.
From that very last antique building, there’s a door into a craft section, where local artisans sell their furniture, candles, soap, and many other interesting items. I have as much fun in this section as the previous one, and unlike being at a craft show, I can stick my nose anywhere I want, and not have to worry about talking to the booth owner, since they aren’t in the store.
The old-fashioned crates that they often use to display items, I usually wish they would sell those, too. In my last house, I was always looking for extra shelves for my books, and those crates would have answered admirably. Or they could have displayed other fun items, hiding in different corners of the house.
You can’t live in the south and not appreciate some of the humor that’s always aimed at rednecks. But if you didn’t know it, all rednecks don’t live in the south. Strangely enough, in that section of PA, there are a number of locals that pronounce “fire” as “fahr”. I’ve never figured out why, because it’s the local accent, not just some southerners that came north. You know, like Fayetteville is pronounce “Fattville” by those that are from there. Yep, you’re still in the north!
The candles were the last items that I came across before leaving the store. Some of them had nice names and smelled wonderful. Others had some very strange names. I’m afraid that “Elf Sweat” smells kind of sweet, not necessarily a nice smell, but not quite a bad one either. If Legolas smells like that, I really wonder what he eats when no one’s looking. Some of the other oddly name ones, well, they smelled revolting, so I don’t know why the maker named them that.
I hope you enjoyed my little trip. At the time, I was enjoying having my Canon PowerShot working again, so I could keep it in my pocket, and be unobtrusive, for once. It still takes nice pictures, but I will say that I’ve learned a lot from taking pictures with my Nikon for so long, and I won’t easily revert back to my little camera.