Sunday, April 10, 2011

what IS it about second hand? . . .

It all started when I was about 13.  Same age as my sweet Sarah is.  Our neighbors a few houses up - the Birminghams (classy name, don't you think?) - were having a yard sale.  Now, we had had yard sales before, always selling our not-used-within-the-last-twelve-months-stuff. . . but, we never went to yard sales.  We always bought new. 

So, I sauntered up the street with a few dollars in my pocket and discovered a new guilty pleasure, The Garage Sale.  Their garage was filled with their own not-used-within-the-last-twelve-months-stuff, from which I chose a set of four John Wagner & Sons 7/8 oz. metal tea canisters - Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Formosa Oolong and Rare Mandarin.  They would be perfect to house my safety pins, rubber bands and other office essentials.  I still have the little canisters, and they still house the same items they did some 40 years ago.

Thus began my fascination with second-hand stuff.  It was useful, inexpensive, and fun.  It was exciting to find something I loved with "a history" for a fraction of the cost of something new.  And, with the 1970's mentality of self-expression and rebellion, it was a way for me to quietly rebel against my upbringing of buying everything brand new, sanitary and perfect.  I could save money and become my own person.  I remember in college buying a craftsman-style solid wood desk from the local thrift store for about $10. . . probably could sell it now for about $200.  But back then it was simply useful, inexpensive, and fun.

These days, I find it hard to buy anything new or shop in "regular" stores.  Second-hand is such a great way of life.  It's "green."  It's thrifty.  It's artistic.  And it's fun.  That's what I like best about second-hand, that it's fun.  Hope you'll check back to have fun with me. . . .


  1. Oh Cathie, that is just so funny. You and I came from opposite places and ended up in the same place. My mother ALWAYS shopped second hand, and when I was young that was embarrassing to me. Fortunately I grew up and learned to appreciate the lessons you learned at 13!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. What an interesting story...and you still have those tins! Wow! The blog looks great!