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Seek and you may find
Every weekend when I was a child, my mom would drag my sister and I to flea markets in her quest for the vintage, thrifted, and unique. As a nine-year-old, this bored the hell out of me, and I was only appeased by the promise of freshly-fried donut holes and egg sandwiches from the food vendors there.
We’d pile into the car and drive the 30 minutes from Sugar Land to Pearland (yes, these are real places in Texas). There, we’d spend entire afternoons walking through the maze of used goods hoping for a new home. Sometimes my mom found a mint condition Roseville, or another Cissy doll for her growing collection around the house, or just a really marvelous silver piece. She’d gleefully haggle with the seller, emerging triumphantly from the tents with her newest treasure. I didn’t get her delight at all. I just wanted to eat more donut holes and go back to my video games.
Years later, my mom and I were walking around Old Town Temecula while on vacation, and an antique shop caught her eye. Unsurprisingly, my mom wanted to go inside. Strangely, so did I.
It was well over 30,000 square feet inside. Literally hundreds of unmanned shops filled the space, and we spent several hours exploring. I found myself enjoying the act of simply looking around at the random assortment of curiosities, hopeful to discover something just for me.
My quest eventually led to a corner shop that was mostly old furniture, but had a single rack of mismatched necklaces propped on a desk. I could just imagine the shop owner’s “why not” shrug as they placed it there. And why not indeed, for in that tangle of decorative vines was where I found my one treasure: a hand-beaded choker necklace with a large wooden pendant. For $8. Score!
There was something special in knowing there was only this one copy of this one necklace at this one place at this one time. And that it had been up to me to find it. I was a treasure hunter!
Maybe that was how my mom felt all those years ago. Certainly I think that was my motivation that day to step into the wonderland. Years of encounters with targeted ads serving up carefully curated products had taken away the magic and triumph of finding something special and unique on one’s own. But an antique shop? And other such places like it? Well, we never know what we’re gonna get until we go.