Thursday, March 26, 2009


March 25, 2009 shopped

December 1969, I am a kid. Straight blonde hair in a tee shirt with a training bra and a pair of Keds. I have 35 cents in my pocket. I follow Mom up the steps outside Daniel’s Hardware Store in Broughton PA, take hold of the metal handle on the door and hear the bell clank against the glass as it swings shut behind us. I inhale an infusion of hardware shavings, petroleum and fresh cut pine from the Christmas boughs at the end of the counter; shuffle through the maze of aisles in the back, where the nuts and bolts and endless bins of nails are lined up like cots in a barracks. I thrust my hands into the blue plastic bins and seek the muse, imagining what this bolt might look like with this nut against this plate with that paint. To my thinking this was a feast of ingredients for the creative mind…so many possibilities. It would be so much more wonderful if I could weld, or if I even had a soldering iron. If I had those I could make figurines out of these metal parts. Instead I move over toward the laundry soaps and buy a pack of clothes pins and some model paint. Up front I drop my coins onto the rubberized ad on the counter and watch them spin to a stop. That Christmas Eve I lay my little wrapped presents of clothes pin dolls under the tree.
I am a shopper. I shop for things…and I shop things. I shop for bargains mostly. Emotion evokers at a deal of a price, that’s basically what I shop for. That and chicken bullion, which never goes on sale. I shop almost every weekday when we go on our outings with Gram. Don’t always buy, but we do look. For years I woke early every Saturday morning so I could shop the garage sales. I scoured the classifieds on Friday night, circling and numbering the path I would follow. Those were the days my heart raced with the thought of escaping into my own private space with no kids in tow. Dave stayed home and handled Saturday mornings. Everyone ran out to see what finds I had in my van when I got home. I had to put a limit on myself eventually, something like $20, and when that was gone I found my way home. Cheap thrills.
Those were also the days I shopped songs. Shopping songs is basically presenting them to a publisher, who would possibly offer a contract to represent the song, eventually getting it to some big name artist who would want to sing it on their multi-platinum selling album and put it in the next Brad Pitt movie. I shopped songs in Nashville once or twice a year, or in LA. Had some success. Had some rejection. Eventually lost either the nerve or the interest or the confidence or the trust. Don’t shop my songs much any more.
I suppose you could sum up my life in short little snips: She loved. She sang. She shopped.


  1. And she's very, very interesting. And cute. And other stuff. Which I am not right now. Articulate being one of those things. When you see me tomorrow, I'll be the one with clothes pins holding up my eyelids. Which is actually fine, because I am really only a ghost there. A ghost with a mouth. I wonder if I will remember to bring books to sell - for shoppers. Maybe. Maybe not.

  2. Mom I miss you already but I love reading your daily musings! It makes me feel closer to you. You are the ultimate shopper. And it's usually, generously, for others more than yourself. Case in point: your week with us. Thank you SO much for everything! I love you more than you could ever imagine. See you soon!

  3. I didn't know that about you! A shopper, huh? Chicken bullion, huh? Last Saturday I was introduced to garage sales by my good friend Jill (Tiff's mother-in-law). Found such a bargain that my life will never be the same!!! lol

  4. And one of those clothes pin dolls hangs on our tree every Christmas. I also have a tin soldier that she made out of pipe cleaners that sits beside the doll. Also the balsa wood trees Ann Marie, Cori, Lib and Mom painted one year. I have two - one is green with silver trim and the other is pink with all sorts of colored balls. Handmade treasures are the best decorations.
    And I miss going to Daniels Hardware. Is it still there?