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Melinda's Profile

About

I'm a writer, I have a beautiful multicultural family, and I've loved vintage clothing since I was a toddler. To learn why, read the little story below.

Hope you enjoy browsing for fabulous vintage fashion in VintageFriends, right here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/vintagefriends

After you browse my VintageFriends store, you might enjoy my new vintage jewelry shop! http://www.etsy.com/shop/VintageJewelryGems

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Lita, my mother, learned to dumpster dive at the Goodwill in 1957. I was two years old.

Her friend, Marge, was the dumpster diver extraordinaire; she taught my mom everything she knew, Master to Apprentice. She’d jump in wearing yellow…

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  • Female
  • Born on January 10
  • Joined April 7, 2010

Favorite materials

Beadwork, hand embroidery, handmade lace, vintage shoes, vintage baby clothes, vintage dolls, vintage fabrics, Bakelite jewelry, Roseville pottery, Miriam Haskell and Hobe vintage jewelry

Shop

About

I'm a writer, I have a beautiful multicultural family, and I've loved vintage clothing since I was a toddler. To learn why, read the little story below.

Hope you enjoy browsing for fabulous vintage fashion in VintageFriends, right here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/vintagefriends

After you browse my VintageFriends store, you might enjoy my new vintage jewelry shop! http://www.etsy.com/shop/VintageJewelryGems

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Lita, my mother, learned to dumpster dive at the Goodwill in 1957. I was two years old.

Her friend, Marge, was the dumpster diver extraordinaire; she taught my mom everything she knew, Master to Apprentice. She’d jump in wearing yellow rubber gloves, sometimes a bandanna covering her nose and mouth like a cowboy.

The truck drivers who dropped off the loads of new used items needed to put their deliveries in the dumpsters, but they'd wait a few minutes, watch, and shake their heads in wonder. Lita and Marge wore pedal pushers, with their shirts tied in knots at the waist, my mom's long red hair pulled back from her face. These were some serious and seriously good-looking women.

Actually, my mom wasn’t thrilled with the dumpster diving initiation, but it was soon obvious she had a natural gift for finding real treasures inside the thrift stores.

Pushing my stroller with her right hand, she could walk down the aisles of clothes racks, letting the fingertips of her left hand see the details: Silk? Wool? Cashmere? Linen? Embroidery? She was always right.

By using her fingers along the row of blouses and other clothes, she didn’t waste time stopping to analyze actual junk. But, when there was the tactile pause of real quality that stopped her in her tracks, she would peer at the item, read its label, and often grab it off the rack and quickly hang it over the top of my stroller before anyone else had a chance. “Look what I found!” she'd say to Marge.

Sitting in the stroller, I studied the understory of this tropical jungle. My senses, innocent and pre-verbal, took in the dull smell of men’s cardigan sweaters, old wool skirts, and the sharp waft of moth balls. I studied the curious crinkle where old leather shoes bent over the toes, heels worn down at idiosyncratic angles.

In another area of the store, my little plump hands could touch the smooth, cool porcelain surfaces of aged kitchen appliances. Somewhere a kid older than me would be banging on an out-of-tune piano until somebody made him stop. When I'd get sleepy, I could see the glint of a lost metal hanger under a round clothes rack of lingerie.

My mom and Marge could have spent all day thrifting. Marge's daughter, my best friend Colleen, was six months younger than I was and she hated thrifting. After a while, we'd both get cranky and hungry and we'd all have to go home. But, how I loved it!

My mother opened her first gift and antique store when I was about 9 years old. I'd walk there after school, do some dusting, and be put to work wrapping gifts for customers, who always returned, especially for holiday shopping. My mother and grandmother worked at the shop, which featured hand-made items from local artists, antiques, weird and funny cards and stationery, and lemon-verbena scented candles. My aunt lived in a little apartment out back and my father, a woodwind musician, recorded hours-long tapes of classical guitar records that played throughout the day from speakers set up in each room. My uncle, a talented designer, created the store's logo and marketing identity.

I was always a quiet child, so the layers of detail from those early experiences moved me toward being a writer with an eventual practical, desk-bound career as a grant writer to help provide for my own children. Then, after several years of intense study, I also became a hypnotherapist with a small private practice, bringing life’s understory to light with layers of words to help people move forward toward greater happiness.

And on the weekends, I could go thrifting! The hunt was always thrilling and joyous, though there were fewer jaw-dropping finds than "back in the day" when a couple hours of dedication might uncover... Roseville pottery! Victorian furniture! Eisenberg costume jewelry! Fabulous vintage clothes and shoes for adults and children!

For a while when I was in my mid-30's, I bought vintage pieces at different thrift stores around Los Angeles for a shop my mom co-owned when she moved to Galveston, Texas. We shared excited phone calls about those discoveries before I packaged them up and UPS'd them to her. When the boxes arrived at her store, she was as excited as if she'd found the treasures herself.

My mom became ill and was sick for a number of years, but every time we got together, we'd "hit the thrifts" and have a marvelous time--even when she was in a wheel chair and it was my turn to push. She passed away several years ago, still young and still astonished by the miracle of life. I miss her so much, but she left me many of her old treasures.

Of course, I'm keeping some favorite things, but as a way to honor her life and great happiness, I now have my own pretty Etsy shop. You can't hear the beautiful guitar music or smell the lemony candles unless you close your eyes.

My two boys have grown into beautiful, smart, and independent young men. My second husband, who was born and grew up in a poor neighborhood in Mexico City, has loved treasure hunting since he was a kid. (In Mexico, you walk through the outdoor tianguis swap meets instead of the Goodwill or Salvation Army.)

Knowing that he and I are both second-hand spouses always makes us smile. Look what we found! His love of segundas has also lead to a fine and deeply satisfying hobby of discovering and repairing rusty old classic cars.

Two or three times each year, he returns to Mexico City for several weeks to visit his mother, his kids from his first marriage, and a growing bunch of beautiful little grandchildren. Sometimes I go with him and we spend hours together walking through the dusty tianguis.

I've quit my desk job so that I can return to the joyous experience of finding surprising vintage discoveries. I'm happy to share them with you, my new Vintage Friends.

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