Usually, when I go to flea markets, I fall in love with strange paintings and splay-legged furniture, dying plants and yellowed pictures. Then I spend forty dollars and have trouble maneuvering all of my purchases home. This time, I forbade myself from bringing money. There: problem solved! Otherwise, I might have been tempted to buy this.
Here were 2009 calendars. In box one: Outhouses. In box two: Bible Verses?
In the designer purses section, at least one person was financially prudent.
The bird was not for sale.
This little guy had to be removed from the top of the ice cream cart, which he climbed up and clung to as the cart moved from the 2009 calendars to the clothing area.
I sometimes wonder what is most appealing about flea markets, the collecting of things or the collecting of stories. Perhaps the two are interchangeable. I'm always drawn to old photographs and postcards; the ones with writing on the back are the best. Years ago I found a tiny, scallop-edged snapshot stuck to the bottom of a bin. In the picture a small boy in striped pajamas and house slippers holds a flowerpot. Written on the other side, in neat handwriting: "May, 1940: Frank, with the sweet potato plant he planted, re-planted, and then re-re-planted." Frank looks quite pleased with himself. Flea markets offer an odd kind of voyeurism, one that is nameless and faceless--a perusal of personal histories in which there is no person.
On the way home we went to Flowercraft in search of new plants for the garden. Beneath the grid of the highway we waited for the 24 bus, reading care tags in a square of sun.
It was a different kind of Easter egg hunt.