Thursday, January 21, 2010

Through the Looking Glass at The Vintage Source - Another Lost Weekend


I took my monthly outing to see the ladies at The Vintage Source, the Fine, Funky Home Decor and Social Club of Southern Maryland where nothing is as it seems and not the least the four ladies who never seem to lose their thirst for living or good wine.

Of course there were the bargains, hundreds of them, and hundreds more had already been purchased before I got there. If you are not waiting in line before daybreak the third Saturday and Sunday of every month you lose out on the best buys. I tried it once but prefer to wait until the crowd thins and I can get the latest news from the most unusual proprietor and partners on the East coast.

If you haven't made it there you are missing out on great bargains, great conversation and the opportunity to see the world through their eyes, from the back side of the mirror, and a most bizarre view it can be. You see there are no rules when it comes to creative thinking when this gang gets together.

There is Michelle, who set out on a dream to build a business from a tent in her front yard and wound up building a spectacle where people line the street before it opens waiting to get in the doors. She actually thought she could be successful being open one weekend a month and did it. Outside running the Hotdog Wagon serving the best dogs this side of Manhattan is Tyler, her husband, a vice principal during the week and dawg hawker on weekends.

Then there is Cathe, the blueblood of Philadelphia and debutant of the Pocono Mountain resorts who shattered all the strictures of the Philly upper crust and ran off and married a Sicilian who joined the Navy. This girl was so sheltered that when she got married she had never driven a car (why when you had a chauffeured limo), cooked a meal or even seen a washer and dryer. From Dirty Dancing to Navy housewife it was a heroic transition.

The third wheel of the original gang is Cheryl, Miss perpetual motion from the Texas panhandle who also married into the military and used it as a stepping stone to learn every craft there is related to furniture, homes and unusual things. Cheryl took hands on experience to a whole new dimension with a desire to understand how everything is made, repaired or reconditioned in the world of antique furniture.

Finally there is Joy, the survivor of a vaudeville family upbringing who was once lost as a child in her mother's collection of over 600 antique dolls. I have never seen her not laughing about life even though she is also married to yet another military dude. But then I had the pleasure of meeting her rather eccentric mother and I could see how Joy was so full of joy with a mother like that.

So this month it was a little like joining Alice in Wonderland as they showed me their newest marketing gimmick. There were four antiqued postcards about The Vintage Source, each with a photo of one of the ladies when they were quite young. I was supposed to match them to the ladies. Nothing is as it seems.

You try it if you think it is so easy. Match the kid shots with the grown up shots in this story. I was okay with Joy (the weird dog), then Cheryl (the red hair), and finally Cathe (who else climbs out of a Pocono Mountains resort pool with dry hair). But Michelle, now that was a stretch no matter how hard I studied the photo.

Either the ladies were playing a joke on me and it was not her, or she had been the victim of an alien abduction and they returned the wrong body to her home. Since that happened to me once between second and third grade I was suspicious. You look at these photos and tell me you don't agree.

The little Michelle looks like a midget football player in drag with a strange hair style, a large soup bowl cut, and nothing at all like the rather stunning specimen remaining today. On her worst day of the year she could not look like the little curmudgeon of yesteryear on the postcard. I know when a person was replaced and if that was her back then we need to look for her on Mars today, not at The Vintage Source. In the meantime we will keep the alien.

You really should experience the place one of these days. Maybe you will meet Michelle's mother and you can ask her for the truth about her daughter. Was she abducted and was she returned or replaced? See you at the true Source, The Vintage Source.


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