I’m Thrifting Again.

(Edited to say: Wow. I admit that the story set up on this post is long before you even get to a picture, but so worth the wait. Don't peek ahead at the photos or you'll spoil the surprise. Ready? Go!)

I broke my fast.

I went thrifting. And it was wonderful. (I know, I know. I swore it off. Back when everything that wasn't nailed down was leaving with a one-way ticket to said thrift store.) But I got the itch. I'm not sure what fired me up. Maybe contemplating finding some wee stocking stuffers for the holidays or the sweater I desperately wanted to get me through the winter.

So I went for it. And I found a couple of wee kid gifts. And my new favorite sweater. And Pete's brand spanking new Mountainsmith lumbar pack (for a mere $1.99, the likes of which I looked up on-line and contemplated buying new just three days before). But those were nothing. Nothing I tell you. Because I scored. In a big way.

But before I share the day's loot with you, I need to tell you a story.

When I was a child the Thanksgiving and Christmas table at my grandparents' house was always set with my grandparents china, silver, and a beloved collection of mix-and-match vintage water goblets. The goblets were my sister's and my favorite part of the table setting, and we would agonize each year over who got which goblet. The coveted cabbage glass was the prize that we all wanted each holiday. (Being the little sister I rarely triumphed, but like Pavlov's dogs the deliciousness of winning the cabbage glass once in a while was enough to keep me going.) The goblets signified the holidays and now, in hindsight, also symbolize my Grandmother and who she was to Leah and I.

Fast forward twenty or so years. Through a convoluted (read:sad) story that I won't go into, many of my grandparents treasures were lost after the death of my grandmother. The water goblets (of which Grandma often said, "When I die, those have your name on them!" to me) were among the casualties, sold to an antique collector or some such silliness. And every year, every holiday, I miss the glasses and my Grandma simultaneously. For more than a decade every time I have gone thrifting I have my eyes peeled, searching over the tacky glassware, waiting to discover a glass from Grandma's collection and start rebuilding what was lost. (I found one once seven years ago and gave it to my Mom for Christmas. It was a cabbage glass. She cried.)

On Thursday we enjoyed our Thanksgiving celebration at my sister's house in Milwaukee. As I stirred (and stirred, and stirred) the risotto beside her, Leah and I began reminiscing about the water goblets. "I want to recreate that set," I told her. "Keep your eyes out for them when you're thrifting." (On Thursday. That was Thursday.)

On Saturday Leah and I went out for brunch. We decided to spend the rest of the day thrifting, something we haven't done together for years. We cruised around the South Side of Milwaukee hitting some surreal stores that looked like tornadoes had recently ripped through and thrown most of the merchandise on the floor.

Especially the first stop. We almost didn't go in it was such a mess. But that first stop was the gold mine.

We found lots of random cast off treasures – a pottery chicken, an art deco pitcher, a 1970's crewelwork tree stump. And then we headed to the glassware isle. Twice Leah thought she saw a water goblet from the set, but didn't. And then, as Leah put it, "I though you had a stroke." Because I freaked. There on the shelf of plastic cups and pitchers and ice cube trays was this:


The coveted cabbage glass! But not just one…


Six. Six vintage glass cabbage goblets, haphazardly bundled together with packing tape like some awkward bouquet, bearing a handwritten masking tape price tag: $2.04. For the set. I could not contain myself, nor did I try. Any pride or composure I may have had melted away and I laughed and danced around like a crazy lady in that messed up thrift store. 


Manifestation? Hell yeah. Loving the thrift? Most definitely. I'll be back, freaky south side thrift store.

And Grandma, we miss you. On Thanksgiving and always.