What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

You Can Find the Best Things at Thrift Stores

Today when we were having lunch, I said, "I'm going to ask to go somewhere I haven't asked to go to all year."  Then I named off a certain thrift in town.  It used to be one of my very favorites, but they had to move to a new location after the hospital they were tied to closed down.  Over the past several years, I had became friends with a lady named Evelyn  that worked there.  As soon as she saw me come in she would have things to ask me values on or would the boy mind moving a couch or something.  I put a lot of things on Craigslist for her including one item that sold for $2,000.00!  We mostly went to see her and to see if she needed anything. I nearly always found a little something which, more often than not, she either pushed to me across the counter or charged me a fraction of what it was priced.  She was a very nice lady - she was a house Mother at the University for a Sorority, a former Ms. Senior Arkansas that can still do a high kick in her 70's and just an overall nice, nice lady.  (In fact, she used to be in the opening to Antiques Roadshow doing that famous high kick of hers!)

Well, when the thrift had to move to a new location, she tried to find places.  She was over the whole Auxiliary and the decisions were hers to me made.  But, as she would find a new location, the other volunteers would give her grief about it and start causing problems.  I hated that for her.  You would think that when you are volunteering and in your 70's and 80's you would have all learned to get along and there wouldn't be "office politics".  But there were.  Lots of it.  She finally go so fed up, that she resigned her post.  I went to see her on her last day there which was the last day that the thrift was going to be in the prior location.  I had been going there since I was in college, so I was a bit nostalgic.  I gave her a big hug and told her that I would really miss her smiling face.

After they moved to the new location, I went one day just to see it.  I wasn't happy with the overall atmosphere, the parking, the new pricing structure or the women working.  So, I know I wouldn't be going back much at all.  The Bean and I stopped one day so he could see the new location and we agreed that it wasn't a place we cared to go to anymore.  And I hadn't been back since.  

So, at lunch, for some reason, the idea popped into my head that I wanted to go there.  Third time is the charm which either meant that today was the day that something good would be there or I would make the final decision to not ever go again.  When we got there and walked in the door, a voice said, "THERE YOU ARE!"  I was my Evelyn!  It's one thing when you are happy to see someone, but when they are just as happy to see you, well, that's just a really nice feeling.

She had decided to come back just as a volunteer to work one day a week because she missed everyone.  She came around the corner and gave me a big bear hug.  She rubbed on The Bean's arm and patted The Breadman's arm.  "It's just so good to see you all!" she kept saying.  Now, how often do you get that kind of reception at the thrift store?

In usual Evelyn custom, my total for my finds today was less than they should have been.  I don't just love her because of this, I promise.  :)

A matte white pottery vase.  Which I didn't need.  But, I hardly ever find them anymore.  So, I bought it.

A 1949 book entitled "Handcar Joe".  

And a super sweet pink woven baby cradle.

With the cutest lining.  
Bunnies taking care of babies.  Is that not adorable?

Love that old baby toy on the bottom.  

Are you seeing this?  That bunny is powdering that babies naked bum!

It matches my Hawkeye and Redmon Baskets.  Very cute.

Evelyn came up with a price of $4.50 for all three items.  After she rang it up and tried to get my 50¢ change, the register said she owed me $4,505.00 in change. When I said that would mess up the sales for the day, she just laughed and said, "Oh well, it's not my problem anymore!'  There is something to say for not being in charge anymore.  

So, it looks like I have one more thrift store to put back in the loop and a friend back in my life.  You can never have too many of either!


  1. This post makes me smile for so many reasons! First you got to see your friend again and she was just as happy to see you and your family! Then you found some great items and 3rd because a little bunny powdering a baby's bum is just so darn cute!!

  2. What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing this great story.

  3. I think that is part of the reason that I do all my estate sales and such because of the people and friends I have made. Glad you ran into Evelyn and I think the world needs more people like that...

  4. Great story. That's what I liked about growing up in a small town. Glad you went back!

  5. It was meant to be. Glad you had your reunion, and there will be many more finds to go thanks to your Evelyn!

  6. ...the 'saling gods' at work again! ;-)

  7. I seem to be unable to completely write off a thrift. I feel like I ought to try and visit once a year or so, on the chance that things have improved. Don't want to miss a chance to add another store to my list. Some, alas, are only worth the one time a year visit, if that. Glad you re-found that one. And that crib is too stinking cute! Keeper, I presume? It is pink after all.

  8. Yay, Evelyn! I hope you told her that you stopped coming because she wasn't there any more -- that would probably make her so happy. Your finds, as usual, are amazing. That basket is too. cute. for. words.

  9. Lynn was right...growing up in a small town is wonderful. Evelyn seems like a super nice person. I live in a small town and the local barber gave my son his first haircut 25 years ago. Last week he gave my grandson his first haircut. I love it. Also we had a dry cleaners to close recently. I will miss going there. The man knew my name.

    The pink cradle is fantastic. That one item was worth the trip. I love finding vintage doll or baby items and try to rescue them when possible.

    Great post.


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