March 2016

All posts in the March 2016 category

Antiquing during a stroll

Published March 24, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
mirror found 3-23-16

Mirror in “as found” condition. Before gluing the joints.

There’s a lot of stuff I’ve come across quite often on my walks. I have found money anywhere between $4, $10, and $20. I have even found a full book of postage stamps another time. And I’m always grateful to find anything while on my strolls. So, it pays to look on the ground. Take the time to scour parking lots, alleys, sidewalks, curbs when you take a walk because you never know what you might find.

It was a strong windy day. Hold on to your hat. Well, my beloved straw cowgirl hat was battered in no time. And the gusts would blow sand and dirt. Good thing I wore my shades. But the sand and dirt stung my legs something fierce.

 

How could there be any remote chance of snow later on? I thought as I merrily enjoyed the day getting my natural dose of Vitamin D from the sunlight. I didn’t think very favorable of the cyclone-like day we were having. But I didn’t despair and kept trudging right along getting blown off course (literally) and into a grassy stretch of an empty lot. I was originally going to take the over pass sidewalk just to avoid waiting on non-stop trains that love to just slow down and stop at every intersection. Then the trains will back up, creating a long line of cars backed up for miles. There should be a law against the trains doing that. It’s not only a frustration for motorists, but also to people on foot that have to wait for an incredibly long time.

 

I believe I wasn’t even half way when the gusts decided it for me: my stroll was going to be short-lived. Sure, I’d get to where I intended to go, maybe just not right when I wanted to. Trying to walk into the wind was challenging, and painful when the sand hit my body. Then I look toward the train tracks. They were clear, and instead of me hoofing it clear out of my way, I headed several blocks (hoping there wouldn’t be another train to block the intersections). And as luck would have it, I made it across safely and there were no signs of any trains. Strange, because I kept hearing the blaring noise of the train track signals every few minutes it seemed like today.

 

But my eyes spied a green bean seed packet. Could it be? Aw, drats! Empty. Well, if you’re a serious green thumb, a newbie to gardening/ herb container grower or live on a farm, then the urge to inspect any discarded garden seed packet for potential overlooked beans or seeds is always worth a look. Never know where you might find free food. I say that because green beans are easy to grow. I don’t recall the particular brand of the green bean packet other than it caught my attention on my walk.

 

So I mosey on, keeping a firm hand on my hat or what’s left of it. Ahead of my sights are more shuttered businesses that ceased. It’s not surprising considering the area of town isn’t part of a tourist trap. In fact, it could so use some revitalization if city planners and tax payer money would go to good use to re-hab some of the most forlorn eyesore properties, but I can safely bet, nothing will ever happen. The buildings will continue to decay. The ‘for rent’ and ‘for sale’ signs will remain indefinitely. And it looks straight out of an episode of The Walking Dead. But it’s an area of town that’s for lack of a better word, ‘antique’. I mean the buildings have their roots some dating back to the early 1930s, and maybe a little before the Depression era. But that’s not particularly what drew me to stroll down this area of town. I see a junk yard of cars enclosed by a long span of chain link. Between the links are white broken plastic (think in terms of mini-blinds), and behind that is a mini-salvage yard for vehicles. It really doesn’t impress me, but junk yards, in general, are nearly all gone nowadays. I cross the street and see a business that doesn’t have any customers. It’s a very old antique-looking brick building.

 

Very old by out-ward appearances. Interior-wise, looks like a 1970s slapped together in one day look and vibe about it. I feel as though I’ve transcended into the past. I suppose it was the overcast day and everything was hazy even the sun. And right in front of me was an antique mirror with an attached Art Deco light fixture. The mirror is leaning against the old building. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mercury coated beveled glass staring back at me.

 

Lord knows I’ve been praying to happen across by chance an antique mirror. The light fixture and antique incandescent light bulb were a plus. Instead of giving it much thought, I carry on my way and then… back-track. I do a double take. The mirror is in tact, but the frame has seen better days. In fact, I surmise it was originally yanked out of a bathroom due to its added on light fixture and partial two screws holding two broken pieces of plastic in the lower corner. Could have been a tooth brush holder, maybe a soap dispenser.

 

I try to talk myself out of even inquiring about said mirror. But something about the mirror appearing discarded and forgotten latched onto me. Maybe it was that white chipped paint, weather-beaten wood underneath. Good grief, I think to myself, I’ll never get it home on foot, and definitely not in this cyclone of a day. But wait—the light shade is milk glass. The shade itself practically screams “I am Art Deco!” and so loudly that it would make the nearby resident want to chuck rocks at it. Maybe that’s how the shade got broke in the first place.

broken fixture shade before cleaning

On the ground I discover three fragments of milk glass in the parking lot. I study myself in the large mirror. The mirror I would have to guess was manufactured even before the late Twenties when Art Deco became in vogue. Oh, and the light fixture retains an antique incandescent light bulb.

1458769540467

Perhaps an original Thomas Edison light bulb? In 2016? I crook the brim of my hat to get a better look. Yeah, right. It would have to be a Chinese knock off “Edison” bulb found at Lowe’s. But no. It pre-dates the Chinese knock-offs and its about as authentic as the day it was produced eons ago.

 

The filament and connecting wires are very different than any past or current incandescent light bulb I’ve seen. I know Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and this light bulb looked like a familiar design of his. I also own Edison phonographs, and researched him extensively for my phonograph restoration and that has nothing to do whether the light bulb still works or not.

 

before cleaning of the wall mount light fixture

There’s dirt and grime and I wouldn’t trust testing out that light socket plug. In the old days bare wires were covered with a piece of inset cardboard between the prongs of the plug to prevent two bare wires from crossing. Yikes!

Despite the broken milk glass lamp shade, the porcelain wall mount bolted to the mirror is in excellent shape for its age. It screams 1920’s. I know this because all throughout my years growing up I lived in many Victorian homes split into apartments where the electricity (and the light fixtures) were never updated, replaced, or even new, and most were straight from the Twenties in those homes. They were very antique, all white porcelain, and something clicked in my brain trudging up a memory from long ago.

 

Studying that very light fixture mounted on the antique mirror took me back to a happier and much less different time in my [then] extremely young childhood. It reminded me of a special place in time, one that can never be replaced. It was a feeling I received that I hadn’t felt in many, many long years. Why this antique mirror struck me with that overwhelming emotion of familiarity I have no idea.

 

“Antiquing” has always ran in both sides of my family. It goes way, way back and I’m no different. But I still try to convince myself “This mirror will likely shatter if I inquire about it,” and “It’s not out here for looks.”

 

I must have passed by the building three times debating whether or not I should inquire about the antique mirror. And by the time I made it to the end of the third block, something was practically nagging at me not to pass it up. It might be a good deal and it was something I had in mind rather than buying a new mirror that would be straight from China and an overpriced piece of junk.

 

I had that old Victor 78 song stuck in my head, “Don’t Wait Too Long”. I forget who the artist is that sings this particular fox trot. All I know is that my late great grandma and I have similar tastes in music. Don’t Wait Too Long was one such song in our record collections. We must have been on the same wave length, or perhaps it was a nudge from her in spirit when I began my fascinating antique phonograph hobby when I was 26 years old and wound up with that new old stock song on a Victor 78.

 

After much thinking about the mirror and seeing my stroll was going to be cut short due to the gusts, I turned on one heel and started back for the abandoned-looking business. The lights were on inside but the door was locked. I was smack dab in a crime-ridden area of town, on foot, fighting against the massive strong gusts that pummeled me with dirt, grime and sand.

 

I didn’t see the Keystone cops running after the likes of Charlie Chaplin or that of the great stone face, Buster Keaton, so I figured crime had taken the day off. For some weird reason I could envision meeting up with the like of Charlie Chaplin on this particular day in this area of town (don’t ask me why). I suppose it was the almost sepia overcast sky that made me think of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton (two out of three of my favorite silent film comics along with Harold Lloyd in no particular order).

 

I was almost worried about knocking on this business’s door since you never know who might answer. I could see into the business through a large window. But for what business this was, I have no idea. And I have no idea how an antique mirror wound up leaning against their establishment.  I hesitated at the door thinking of a million excuses not to inquire. Maybe the business was remodeling. Maybe they weren’t intending to toss out this beautiful antique mirror. Maybe it was placed outside just for looks. (I was thinking in terms of tacky lawn decorations). But no, I didn’t get that impression. I swore I distinctly heard my late great grandmother (who lived in a museum, *ahem*, a house), encouraging me “…never know until you try.” It sounded so clear as a bell that I turned and looked to my right, then my left. And if it had been her instead of me coming across this mirror, she would have had no problem knocking, and in her own sweet outgoing way, could charm the pants off the person who answered with just her smile.

 

So, I knocked and didn’t have to wait long. A young man answered. I kept my inquiry brief and pointed to the side of the building where the mirror was. He told me the mirror was free and I could have it. I thanked him, and went to the side of the building and tried to lift the mirror. The frame was rickety and I noticed a silver fish (a small insect) running for its dear life to hide under one wooden shim nailed to the frame. I replaced the mirror just as it was, resting against the brick building. This calls for the vehicle. I was hoping between the time I left and returned, the mirror wouldn’t be the unfortunate victim of the cyclone gust’s fury. And I worried to that someone else might happen upon this mirror and snatch it out from under me. Surprisingly, it was still there when I returned and in one piece. I loaded it myself, then returned to pick up every piece of broken milk glass and plucked one wood shim that had detached from the mirror and headed to town.

 

I was still debating just returning home and tilling more garden space by hand, but on this particular day, I’m sure the wind would have planted my seeds in various places in my backyard instead. I still need to make more seed tape (this is so the crops will grow in evenly spaced rows and made using toilet paper and a mix of flour/water paste to glue the tiny seeds in place. Allow it to dry over night and you’ll be ready to plant them the following day or whenever the danger of frost has passed). But instead of going home and playing farmer Brown, I decided to see what the thrift store had to offer. Not much so I then stopped by the store on my way home and bought a pineapple. They’re on sale, can’t beat that. 🙂

 

I didn’t take the mirror inside. I left it in the vehicle and worked on removing the light fixture in there. I will assume that the gaudy layer of white paint contains lead (as most paints pre-1970’s contained lead) and it was flaking so bad I didn’t want it everywhere in my house. I managed to get the light fixture removed safely including the light bulb, then disassembled it and washed the shade, porcelain wall mount and plan to get the rust off the screws. I assumed after much “Righty tighty, lefty Lucy” elbow grease using nothing more than a pair of Ford Model T pillars and a Chinese brand pair of needle nose pillars and hands like a brain surgeon, the bolt and three little rusty screws released their firm death grip on the porcelain wall mount and milk glass shade.

 

cleaned mirror glass 3-24-16

I scraped away some of the flaking old paint. Underneath the white paint was somewhat of a salmon-pink hue in areas. The paint still flakes off very easily when touched and the mirror requires a lot of TLC when handled which I do with work gloves on. The wood shims holding the glass are the consistency of match sticks and very brittle. It’s still in rough condition.

And I did it all without breaking anything or causing myself seven years of bad luck. I was suspecting at any given moment the mirror would break, but it didn’t although the wood frame was coming undone at all four corners. I’m still not even sure how I managed this feat. I’ve worked on antique phonographs, but never an antique mirror until now. I’ll worry about repairing the glass shade another time. I was more fixated on finding a solution to glue the frame back together with the glass still inset. The logical approach would be to gently remove all the wood shims holding the glass and remove the mirror, but working in cramped confines of the van would make this step impossible.

 

And when in doubt, think like MacGuyver and that’s what I did. I returned inside with each light fixture piece, disassembled the scary outdated chord and light socket, set those aside, and placed the shade and porcelain wall mount inside a dish pan of sudsy/ Clorox bleach warm water. Not too hot, and definitely not too cold. Porcelain should never be subjected to extremely hot water or else it will break and crack. I resumed my task and let that soak in the meantime and brought out the Gorilla glue, some elastic snagged from my sewing box and a stick I found in the yard.

In order to get the joints aligned to the best of what I had at my disposal, I devised a very weird  clamp/ jig method using the elastic and stick and twisted it around the stick and mirror frame until I could see the gaps in the joints of the wood getting smaller. I knew that too much tension could spell disaster. I wound it with enough tension and called it good enough. I placed the stick under a tool kit and jumper cables to hold it taut so the glue could dry in the joints overnight. I then used a bungee chord to create tension to the other end of the mirror and hope and pray that it holds, which it did. I closed the door and put the tools back in the house. It was a cloudy evening. I overheard my neighbor exclaim they wouldn’t be surprised if we got a tornado and earthquake in the same night. The neighbor was talking to somebody else, not me. I gazed at the sky. The temperature was steadily dropping. It wasn’t extremely hot out today, but it was just right for shorts and short-sleeved shirt weather. And by evening it was very cold.

I washed up and ate a late supper of leftover Smoked Herring/ Flax seed meal and Chia seed patties combined with boiled Cactus leaves (a very good source of vitamins), some Cauliflower, and Broccoli mashed potatoes. I also had an apple and some brown bagged micro-waved plain popcorn.

 

Tomorrow I shall see what became of my improvised restoration efforts. Before I even begin to think about taking this antique mirror into my house it will require a new coat of either paint on the wood frame or I may strip it down and go over it with a clear coat varnish and call it good and let the weather beaten look shine through.

 

I detest the ‘shabby chic’ job that ruins antique furniture, dressers, and mirrors even though this mirror wasn’t given that look. The paint suffered from a severe case of weather-element damage and who knows what wall it had been bolted to for so many years.

 

And yes, I inspected mirror prior for any sign of black mold and/ or rotting damage to the wood frame. I didn’t see anything wrong and used my scrub brush to dust off the cobwebs and leaves before loading it up, so that tells me this mirror’s been sitting outside for a week or more. And perhaps this antique mirror was rescued in the nick of time since tonight it’s raining. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, commenting, tweeting and sharing. I always appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

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It’s the Brass Buckle… wait, it’s The Buckle…nope, it’s just “Buckle”.

Published March 11, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

brass buckle clothes 1 This mall store was called “The Buckle”. Why I’ve called it the Brass Buckle for many long years is beyond me. And I finally brought my two expensive beloved new denim vests home. It appears as though I traveled back in time to purchase them. And out of all the clothes at the Buckle there was something about those two denim vests that was special. Maybe a long lost memory of “wish it had been around” back in the day, but these shredded and acid-washed vests wouldn’t have been seen in a high-end clothing store like the Buckle back in the 80’s/90’s. I found an old exterior picture of the former Buckle sign on Pentrist when randomly searching for an earlier image of this store. The Buckle’s typography has changed over the years. I prefer the way the Buckle sign used to look, but that’s because I don’t like seeing boring typography/ signs. Oh, and the Brass… eh, Buckle has always been expensive.

Yours truly wanted to treat myself for sticking with my Yoga and cardio exercises, which have yielded me… no, not six pack abs thankfully, that’s not my goal. But I have slimmed down than what I had when I first began exercising two months back. And has the weight been staying off? Yes and no. It just depends if I have those “cheat” moments and either consume natural sugar from the raw honey or from too much fruit at the wrong times of day. If I consume fresh fruit and/ or fruit smoothies in the morning then my body will burn through that natural sugar. However, if I mess up an have an apple for my dessert or fresh fruit late in the evening, then I gain it all back. So it varies from day to day.

I had a moment of inspiration while in rue 21. In the dressing rooms they post how a person could win $50 if you model their clothes and upload it to instagram or some other picture uploading website. And for us older folks, don’t forget to use your pound sign “#”. I know it’s a “hashtag” but, yeesh, hashtag reminds me of “hash browns”.

Rue 21 tops, alas, I don’t buy any if the fabric has polyester. I find that if it has a high content of plastics it will just irritate my skin. I haven’t found an all cotton top yet at rue 21. But from there, I have taken “after” or “getting there”  photos of my weight loss journey. I still have a long way to go before I’ll ever see those defined abs, which isn’t really my goal, per se, but hey, if it works, great! 😀

And there’s that part of me that was drawn back to the Buckle. I keep wanting to refer to it as “The Brass Buckle”. So, today was especially long on me. Not only did I get in some mall-walking, I also got in some irritating “people-loitering” in the aisles of Wally-world as well. I did price checking for a 1988 House of Coty perfume, Exclamation. It will always weave itself and its fruity hints of the late 80’s and leave a lasting impression of my older sister who has always been my biggest fashion inspiration and liked it at the time back in 1989. I haven’t found a pair of ‘hoop’ earrings yet that won’t pull down on my ear lobes due to heaviness, nor look like the thin hoops I remember seeing. I found some at Wal*Mart that were small and more like what I’m searching for, but only a few neon colors appealed to me. I did the price comparisons and went from the jewelry aisle back to where I found said last pair of jeans. $4.88 versus $19.98 for the jeans. The earrings came in a six pack, which for what they’re made of pot metal I felt the asking price $4.88 was excessive. There were more of those earrings in stock. I scrutinized the neon hoops. The earrings were painted pot metal and kind of on the ‘heavy’ side as far as earrings are concerned.

And hoop earrings are massive in size and heavy nowadays. They’re nothing like the smaller cute light weight pairs of yesteryear. I know I stated in my post I don’t/ haven’t shopped at Wal*Mart, and I that now makes me a hypocrite because I went there today. Since I was out in the area I refer to as “suburb/restaurants/shopping center nightmares” due to the heavy traffic and decided to cure my curiosity.

The pair of acid-washed I found are by “No Boundaries”, a very generic staple Wally word brand. I still have it in my head that $19.99 is steep for a pair of any new pair of jeans, however, it sure beats the dom perignon of $79.99-$200 and up from the other guys. I don’t want to say anything bad about the denim the Buckle stocks, but none of it appealed to me and I couldn’t see spending or putting anything else on layaway from them. The Buckle’s jeans were just too much alike in style, cut, and the prices are way too steep for the average working person. Now, I’m not downing their store. I think it would be an awesome place to shop with unlimited funds, try on and if a person finds something they like, layaway is always there, no matter the income bracket. What is dismaying is the discount rack which is a joke. It doesn’t offer much off the original price.

When I hunt for garments that appeal to me price is the biggest factor. Secondly, the material and texture. If it’s too stiff, scratchy, irritating, or feels like spun plastic, then I don’t even bother to pull it off the rack and look at it. Third, the quality. I know that the article doesn’t always need to be top notch. However, if its my hard-earned money that I’m dumping into a semi-nice wardrobe for any season, then it better last me long after I get it up to the register and pay for it. Like, it better last me two lifetimes over. But I realize that’s pipe dreaming when concerning made in China clothing.

Lets discuss the prices. Do I really want it that badly that I’ll pay a steep price? Do I really need it? And the last question; Will it last? Yeah, as long as I don’t look at the garment the wrong way. But the denim already has shreds in it. How long can it possibly ‘last’? Well, if well taken care of, I suspect it will last me a few years. I bought both of my vests in size large because I think in terms of future laundering. China clothing (especially Asian) runs so small and always has. The size large I was able to button the vests and it felt comfortable. The size small was way too small and I’m a petite woman. And when washed these articles may/ might not shrink. They are 100 per cent inferior cotton, not real, authentic sturdy cotton material the way it used to be once-upon-a-time.

The staff is top notch at the Buckle. I would highly suggest stepping in a Buckle store location, but there have been some disappointments and no resolution to bad reviews about their products when ordered online from countless folks. So buyer beware. Make sure you can go in person to try on some of these clothes and shoes. The Buckle does have some nice summer shoes and that’s all I’ll say about them. But the price turns me away instantly. I’d be insane to ever pay more than $20 for a pair of tennis shoes, albeit $50- 290 for a single pair of their signature sandals, boots, shoes, thongs (flip flops), etc.

I’ve been able to find Daytrip, BKE and a few other signature “Buckle” brands at my local thrift stores for a whole lot less, about $2.49-$4 for either a Daytrip top and BKE shorts. And on eBay, these articles don’t have hardly any resell value. I’ve seen a pair of Gemini Daytrip shorts for $25 Buy It Now. That’s getting cheaper, but still quite pricey when you add on the shipping. These shorts, when new, retail for $45.95 and up. I see them with less zeal than I had when I first laid eyes on their acid-washed shorts a while back. Thanks for liking, sharing, re-blogging, tweeting, commenting, etc. I truly appreciate it as always! 🙂

 

 

Dead Malls Everywhere.

Published March 5, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I have nothing against malls. In fact, I find mall-walking very fun compared to the marathon ‘out-of-breath’ beat the huge crowds that mill around Wal*Mart all day long. The reason why I don’t shop at Wal*Mart and haven’t for quite a while: parking spaces can’t be found. Secondly, it is crowded day and night. All of Wal*Mart’s merchandise is bottom of the barrel Made in China cheap and/ or chemically perfumed articles of clothing/ jewelry. But then so is about any place you shop.

As I approach any store my sense of smell is heightened. I usually know right off the bat if the dizzying whiff of ‘chemical’ or a plastic odor hits my nostrils is going to repel me or not before I even pass through those metal detectors. And I can get a general summary that my sinuses will love me back in the worst possible way for the entire evening and that means a migraine headache.

I am super-sensitive to certain smells and various plastics. If I linger looking at the garment tag instead of the price tag, it doesn’t mean I’m picky. I’m checking to see what materials the garment is made of. If there’s a large percentage of polyester, nylon or even rayon, forget it. If it comes to a pair of slim low-rise stretchy denim shorts that have 2 per cent of spandex or less, then I might consider it. Again, it all boils down to three things: a.) price. If the price is asking more than what I think the garment is worth, forget it. b.) If it reeks of chemicals/plastic or states anywhere on a tag that such garment can cause reproductive harm/ cancers in the state of California, then again, forget it. I realize a lot of man-made materials winds up in clothes. Heck even recycled bottles make up the garment tag that sewn into it nowadays. States right on the tag. And with all this outcry over how bad plastics are in ours daily lives, especially since plastics continually leech out toxins into our beverages and foods, the last thing I’d ever want to do is bound myself in polyester or any plastic ‘blend’. Modal is just wood pulp. Yep, essentially paper but its used as a filler because its so cheap to turn into a synthetic fabric but won’t hold up well to getting wet at all.

I’m at probably one of the last 20th century icons that’s seen just about every generation; the mall. But what makes all these malls dead nowadays? And what gems did I bring back from my own day at the mall? Pictures. A few of them and I even wrote down the prices of the items I looked at. I really should do some ‘then and now’ comparisons to show the very bleakness of what became of most malls (some struggling, others since closed and demolished).

But for now, the familiar stores struggle to hang in there. The ones that have made it through the 2008 ‘second’ Great Depression (as I term it) are Claire’s, Victoria’s Secret, Sears (which is really dwindling nowadays in 2016). I saw one browser and no sales clerks asking me every two minutes, “Can I help you find something?”

Yep, something’s wrong here.

And in Dillard’s forget it. No sales clerk even approached me my whole five minutes I was in there looking at their polyester garments. Prices were low on a few items, but not much different than Sears (Roebuck and Company).

I assume my resurgence for my local mall was like touring through a living history museum. For one, the interior and exterior hasn’t changed much (if at all) since the mall was built somewhere in the late 1970s/ early 80’s. Secondly, there used to be a second mall that went up (don’t know what year), but it was on its last leg in 1993, and most stores that were in there originally went bust. There was a lot of dead space, lack of any interior design. There was a fitness gym that went in, then closed down, and the last store to actually be in there was a place called Tuesday Mornings, and by 2010 or so, they ceased all business. The space sits abandoned. The large portion of the second mall now houses a dollar store, and on the other side of is a tack and saddle shop that’s been in the same location for ages. The second mall also housed a movie theater before the interior was re-vamped to expand the dollar store. Before renovations ever began there used to be one over-priced fabric/sewing notions store that never re-stocked their shelves. There was one popcorn place in that second mall and one very itty bitty bead store where a lady sold beads individually and they weren’t cheap. Oh, and can’t forget about the single payphone right in the middle of the second mall. From what I heard about the second mall and why it went under was due to its competition and bad design flaws. It was extremely hard to find the only entrance and exit to the second mall.

So the only remaining mall wins out, and at some point, was a victim of the changing times. Teenagers aren’t allowed to stay past a certain time on Fridays or the weekends. I can understand wanting to make the mall a safe place for family-orientated people to congregate and (hopefully) buy and/or eat at the food court. There’s only five food places in the food court: soft-baked pretzels, pizza, Taco John’s, Asian food, and a cookie place. And its  nothing I’d want to snack on since I’m a strict Vegetarian. A slice of pizza is $3.99 and that’s without a combo or a drink.

Families are some of the very last folks out there that might have some extra money to burn. But again, everyone of all income brackets have to hang onto their money. Mall shopping is nearly a thing of the past thanks to Amazon and other online retail outlets. This practically cuts out the need for the middle man; the physical brick and mortar store to go pick up said item(s) that are ordered. Why go there when you can shop at home and have it delivered to your doorstep?

There’s something ‘dated’ about every mall and it’s no different. If you ever happen to watch a Youtuber’s channel  ThisIsDanBell, he takes you (the viewer), on some spooky and downright accurate ‘memory lane’ tours of America’s deadest malls. You can check out his Dead Mall Series. It’s worth a look see. He runs a close second with Adamthewoo. Adam the woo also goes on urban explorations. Sometimes hilarious and both Youtubers are quite the historians on the locations they film. And then there’s Exploring with Josh, a young Youtuber who goes exploring. And the thing that people reminisce about and is highly requested: malls, abandoned amusement parks, abandon buildings, abandoned schools, etc. And malls seem to be largely popular with every generation. There’s a fascination with how things once appeared, the styles, mullet hairstyles, big hair, and look over there… jeans were normal denim, not the ‘skinny’ look nowadays. Yes, I’ve seen how the 80’s acid-washed and even stone-washed look is trying to make a come back. However, it’s just not the same.

Denim of the Eighties was cotton. It did not stretch or have that luxurious feel of ‘second skin’. It was heavy, and in the summer your waistband soaked up all the sweat and didn’t allow your skin to breathe. Spandex filled that ‘second skin’ in the 80’s/90’s and looked better than the crappy-made polyester leggings I run across far too often. I shouldn’t be downing leggings since I own two *cotton* pairs myself, it’s when they are near see-thru, very thin, or too thick that makes wearing them uncomfortable. Denim of today is mixed with a large polyester content, spandex (about 1-2 %), modal (tree pulp) and I’d almost say tree poop which would be no different, Viscose (again, another tree poop– eh, pulp/paper byproduct), ‘other materials’ that don’t state what ‘other’ includes. And the list goes on.

We remember the sights, sounds, smells, excitement, and Dan Bell puts a lot of special effects and great care in his videos. Adam the woo, and Exploring with Josh are equally good with giving the viewer a strong sense of being there with them on their journeys.  Sometimes there’s a clip of vintage TV commercials, sometimes a sound-track playing in the back ground with that vintage ‘era’ mall/grocery shopping music (kind of like elevator musik) was back in the day. And Dan Bell has inserted in one of his clips of an eerie sounding vintage PA announcement of specials and sales going on store wide while zooming into a closed department (anchor) store. All of their channels are well-worth checking out. They’re awesome. Yet it’s sad to see some of the last time capsules rotting away or being sold at auction where any given mall’s fate will likely be with a wrecking ball.
Forget re-habbing these malls for the ‘hipster’ generation. There’s no stores nowadays that would appeal to me unless upgrading your cell phone or some other techno device every two weeks is in vogue and plays a vital role in one’s life.

Who needs three cell phone stores in a mall? I assume this is what a hipster store is all about, and if it is, then it bores me to tears simply because I don’t see how mall cell phone stores make enough to cover the cost of rent. I imagine mall rent has to be extremely astronomical. Secondly, technology is good, but it goes overboard when all I see are boring cell phone stores and cute little cell phone ‘bling’ (accessories) that serve no actual purpose other than to show off and look cute. There’s a cell phone store on every street corner just about.

I look just like I time-traveled from 1989, albeit my jeans are skinny (modern), my jacket and shirt are ‘pulled together’ goodies bought second-hand. I waltz into Sears and it’s like a ghost town. I’m waiting to hear an intro to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly blare out of their PA system and hope a tumbleweed crosses my path. It wasn’t that dramatic, but it was eerily silent and reminded me of that 80’s film where a meteor wipes off everybody on the planet, (those unfortunate enough to have been outdoors when it hit), and yet, everyone that remained inside survived. If you ever get a chance to see that film (and the name of the title escapes me at the moment), it would be liken to what I pictured a dead Sears store would look like during an apocalypse or even nowadays.

 

So when I tired of taking a “selfie” and another picture of that same old, cracked, asbestos-tile mall floor that’s standard in almost all mall designs, I walked the full length back to browse in Claire’s and returned to the [Brass] Buckle. The Buckle is one of those things on my bucket list (if I ever sit down and actually write one up on actual paper, that is). It wouldn’t be a high priority ‘to-do’ thing, but I did miss out shopping there the first time around when it was still a new designer clothing chain and a very “Preppy” teen store. Not to mention so over-priced even for the 80’s that I never stepped foot inside of one until decades later. Originally the “Brass Buckle” never did have a boho fashion/skinny jeans/ shredded vests, shredded jeans, or shredded jean jackets back in the eighties. They had very straight-laced, high-end designer clothing aimed at rich kids and their parents that could afford to charge it to their credit cards. Somewhere I have a vague memory the Brass Buckle had a paper punch card kind of like a shopper’s reward card is nowadays. I was just reminded of that the day I was at the cashier counter.

But here again, at one time I could never have fathomed me waltzing into a Brass Buckle store now years later. Times have changed. And thankfully the styles have moved away from the plain and somewhat boring fashions for teens of the late 80’s/90s. I say boring because everything was pin-stripe t-shirts, normal jeans, some acid-washed styles minus the rips or shreds in the material. There was no tight long sleeve shirts, fringe vests, Hurley [brand] attire, or even form-fitting shirts like there’s an avalanche of nowadays.

Everything now appears to be boho-clothing, beach/ summer wear, thongs (flip-flops), sandals, hats, sunglasses, shirts, tops, tanks, shorts, Daisy Dukes, acid-washed (the second generation) that still kind of sorta resembles something that looked like original acid-washed did back in the Eighties. Oh, yeah, the rock stars back then also wore acid-washed clothing so it wasn’t strictly for the young, but even the older generation could wear acid-washed denim with style.

And that’s what my eyes fell on, two denim vests. The prices would make one shrink back in fear. But the friendly sales team at the Brass Buckle would make you think otherwise. And they do offer law-away plans, too which was surprising considering they were at one time, a very popular clothing store. I suspect though this isn’t the case anymore. There was maybe two other shoppers in there when I was there as opposed to the place being packed on any given week night years prior. But that’s a sign of the times, as the adage goes. Trends are now mass-produced straight from China, and it’s “Better hurry while the offer lasts,” kind of deal.

Hope you enjoy the pictures. Thanks for reading, re-blogging, sharing, tweeting, commenting, and liking. I truly appreciate it. 🙂