Monday, February 11, 2013

All is Fair in Books and Ephemera

I was curled up on the couch a few weeks ago reading the Sunday paper, when I stumbled upon the most intriguing ad. The following Sunday at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Philadelphia would be a Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair. Admission was only six bucks so I decided to pay a visit.

The last time I was at a book fair had to be in my grade school gymnasium, surrounded by piles of best sellers brought to us from the kind people of Scholastic. Remember the anticipation of waiting for that book you ordered through the Scholastic classroom catalogue? Ah, those were the days.

So, fast forward some twenty years and I'm standing in the event center of the Sheraton hotel. And it was far from digging for pocket money to buy the latest in the Goosebumps series, I can tell you that. Maybe I've just been thrifting for too long, but I experienced some major sticker shock. While I didn't expect to really purchase much of anything, I wasn't prepared for the lowest of hardback prices to be in the $400 range. Granted the printings may have been limited, and there were certainly a lot of first editions in pristine condition. But $400? $1500? When compared to my thrifted 25 cent reads from the thrift, this was something else entirely. 

I don't regret going, not in the least. The smell of aged paper filled the air, the ambiance of a museum. And I got to hold in my hand, albums literally entire albums of travel photographs, personally inscribed postcards, worn maps and more. And of course, I brought some home, something a little more in my price range.

Ten Assorted Vintage Photographs: $15
Visitors Map of Philadelphia, 1944: $4

I will feature these lovely  pieces of ephemera individually and in more detail in a later post. A Vintage Photo Friday special edition post, perhaps?

I also forked over $20 to a kindly gentleman who had a few LPs that struck my fancy. 

I met some fascinating people--collectors, vendors and vintage enthusiasts of all ages. I bought a few records and a little collection of photographs that I love. And I also envied the wealthy who could afford to buy the first editions and $500 photo albums and personally handwritten diaries that I could only lust after. 

Well, maybe someday Let's Go Thrifting will be an empire that can afford me the luxury of a vintage book fair shopping spree. Until then, I'll stick to the thrift store. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's a New Dawn. It's a New Day.

Ringing in the New Year comes with the seasonally typical expectations of gratitude, hope and a newfound if not temporary initiative for change. 

What I didn't expect, however, was to come down with the flu, a sickness that I swear to this day has a firm grip upon my immune system. 

Inhalers, steroids, antibiotics, the works. I was laid out on the couch like a slug for well over a week. I felt like I was tied to the train tracks, run over repeatedly and then subjected to an invisible elephant stomping on my chest... all day long. Plain and simple: It was awful.

After a week of workless wheezing, chest pain and body aches, I made a decision. If being temporarily unable to breathe was this unbearable, it was time to quit smoking for good.

"If I can go a week without even thinking of cigarettes, I can do this," I thought. It's now 37 days since I last had a smoke. And I wish I could say that I'm feeling good.

But the truth is that I'm irritable, depressed, overly emotional and self-medicating with entirely too much junk food. I guess this was to be expected. I know I made the right choice to quit cigarettes. But I didn't  know it would be quite this hard. It's not the cravings. It's more than that. It's a psychological shift and a physical inability to stay motivated to do much else but sleep and keep myself from buying a pack of Salem Lights. 

Maybe it's a combination of the cold and dreary winter months, of daily stressors weighing on my shoulders and seeing pounds that I worked so hard to lose come creeping back on the scale due to lack of self-control to replace what is clearly a cigarette induced oral fixation. 

BUT THIS IS ME COMING BACK. Slowly but surely, I am prying myself from the refrigerator, from the couch. I am working toward something new. It will take time for me to find happiness with life, love and most of all myself. But I know it's going to happen. 

And I want all of my thrift-family and friends to be there when it does. Thank you all for reading, sharing, commenting and staying with me through what has and may continue to be a tough go of things. 

I am still thrifting. Don't you worry about that. But I'm more than a thrifter, as I'm sure you are too. Me? I'm a writer, always have been. Always will be. And if I neglect to share what's going on in my life in this blog, that I'm not being a very honest one. I hope you all understand my need to purge these emotions in hopes of making Let's Go Thrifting everything it can be.

Stay thrifty, my friends.