It was studiously, judiciously planned, my visit to Blacklist Vintage. It began with an inquiry via Facebook, stating I had some 1980s clothing that I hope to find a new home for, are you interested? The anonymous replier said, yes! When you take four years to truly look at the stuff you’ve inherited from a lost-loved-one, the wash of relief is like a good glass of wine, refreshing and intoxicating.
During the brief glimpses of sun, I stopped by this Hipster-paradise, just to casually check and see if today would be the day I’d show the owner my duds, and perhaps pocket some cash for them. She said yes, today’s a great day to bring some things in, so long as their ‘in-season’. With it being June, although it feels like April, I winked. I got it. I’m hip to her ‘lingo’. I’ll bring in the linens, I said. She nodded and I merrily went on my way.
Now that I look back, my reply should’ve told me that whatever pristine, 1980s attire I had for her to peruse, would NOT be what she’s looking for. If you didn’t catch what I said, I’ll repeat it so you don’t have to strain and scroll up. I said, “I’ll bring in the linens.” (Groan)
I’d unpacked only two suitcases so far. They were filled with cleaned and ironed clothes from the 80s by my then-79-year-old mother. I had also found items never worn, with tags, not even yellowed still on them. This dress was $130? That skirt went for $64 but she paid $16, shrewd shopping mommy, well done! I pooled together the obviously 80s outfits, dresses and skirts, tossed them into a 30 gallon glad-bag and hurried back to Blacklist Vintage.
There was no street parking available when I rolled up, so I parked in what I believed to be a side lot for some business that wasn’t open. I just prayed that I wouldn’t get towed while I conducted my ‘business’ at BV. See what I did there, I abbreviated the name. I’m so cool.
Linen’s heavy by the way. I easily had 10 outfits in there. Off-the-rack names swirled in my head, knowing the proprietor would be enthused, no, grateful for what I was about to bestow. Evan Picone sportwear. Jones of New York. Ashanti boutique. Classic, eternal fashion was about to be unloaded by me. And if she liked what I had here, heck, I’ve bunches more where that came from, I exclaimed in my head!
Today I wore a bleached white Eddie Bauer turtleneck, tapered NOT pleated mom-jeans and tres chic platform brown flip-flops. My feet are slipping ever so slightly from the awkward lugging of fashions via Glad bag. But not to worry. I’m unloading this for some cashola, baby. Oh yeah. I stepped up the sloping, corner entrance, sidled past racks of uber-cool wear and hefted my bag to the glass counter, situated in the middle of the store. “Just drop it there,” Vanessa, owner of BV said, “I’ll get to your things in a moment.”
I giggled. Yep. This grown-a** woman giggled and started perusing the closest rack. “I believe I owned these slacks when they came out,” I uttered. Vanessa may have said something back to me, but I don’t rightly recall that. I just knew this was gonna be a heck of an afternoon. She was going through someone else’s bag, a cute, perky blonde gal who had done the same as me, brought in things she had no use for to be considered as BV worthy. Perky gal was told that the cowboy boots and something, was it a western belt? had been worth $30 in-store credit by Vanessa. PG (see what I did there?) said that was cool, and went about browsing the rack where she stood.
Mz. V lugged my bag to behind the counter, and began to pull out mom’s treasured attire. Several times, as she began to make piles, she paused to smell each item. They had been in a suitcase for four years. A suitcase that’s older than she & I combined. Lined with cedar, of course! She glanced at a linen dress, which I wanted to blurt had been mine back in the day. When I was a teen. But I didn’t. I wanted to savor whatever she had to say. “Do you think I can get THAT out of it?” she asked. I blushed, get what out I thought? I pulled the pretty, beige, pleated linen dress closer and all-be-damned, there was a yellow stain. Unremarkable. But a stain that’s been there since the late 80s. There’s no-way Mz. V of BV could get it out.
She began putting all the pieces back into the Glad bag. And my heart felt squeezed. “Are all the things you’ve got like this? I can tell you, my girls aren’t looking for matronly items. Lemme’ show you what I’m looking for….” With a spring in her step, she sauntered over to a rack and began producing awesome, gaudy frocks from the 70s and 80s. Again, I wanted to blurt that what she’s just reviewed is far superior to what she’s showing me now. But I don’t. Flustered. Embarrassed and flushing, I nod my understanding, hurry my thanks and try to disappear with 20 lbs of clothes in tow, as fast as my flippity-flops could carry me. Picking up speed, I lunge through the door, go to step down and forgot that it’s a sloping step. I’m top-heavy with unwanted couture. My head and chest lean forward, my hips wobble and my feet slip in the thongs, so that my elongated toes drag on loose concrete, sidewalk. I look up, and see at least 5 cars lined up northbound, for the light at 26th and 1st Avenue S. I hop, step one-two. And saved myself the embarrassment of falling flat on my face.
Grumbling to myself, I knew this was going to be a waste of time. Didn’t I tell somebody who’d suggested I go here years ago that it was probably nothing they wanted. Well, HA! Hahaha, I was right! Ears-red from gaining nothing from this venture and effort, I open my car’s hatchback, chuck mom’s clothes in and slam the door shut. This is NOT how I saw it playing out. Damn it all to heck.
What could make my blush go away, I wondered. And I instantly knew. One “Bombshell” doughnut from Glam Doll Donuts on Nicollet. It’s spicy, Mexican-chocolate filled pastry, glazed and drizzled and spiced pecans will soothe my crushed dreams. I drive the whole 1/2 block and park in front. I get that and another bismark-like filled confection and I’m outta’ there. It smells so wonderful in here, I could just inhale my treats, right here at their counter. I could linger, read a magazine, start up a conversation with strangers. But I stop, and look around. The awesome spot is brimming with actively snacking customers. Some solo, some in pairs, threesomes. And they all had one thing in common. They were Hipsters. Under 40, perhaps in school presently for the first time or, A-GAIN, and they look just, (groan) cool. I take my treats and hit the door.
S’okay. I knew it. I mean, I guess I had it confirmed today, that I am not nor have I descended from a Hipster. I lionized the preppy handbook. I’ve monogrammed, white oxford shirts from my HS years. Mom bought ALL.THESE.CLOTHES as a form of therapy when my father died on their 26th anniversary. He was 56. She hadn’t planned on being alone and so she ate and grew and had to buy clothes. But she did it like people buy vitamins. It seemed like every weekend she found a new something-or-other that she HAD to have. And she’d assure herself that it was a wise purchase by saying, “…I only buy classic styles, they’ll never go out of fashion.” I remember nodding agreement, and silently praying that I could wear said pleated skirt or ‘timeless’ suit or dress.
Well here I am! I’ve got enough clothes to not have to wear the same thing twice for what, uh, two years? And I’m miserable. Because the kindly woman who knows her beans about what people want in attire, says what I’ve got ain’t where it’s at. I can dig it. I’m just mad about it. I can’t wear these clothes because I’m not a size 22 – 26. I’m not 50-something. I’m not a Hipster. I’m middle aged and frackin’ angry.
I know, right?! I’ll show her. There’s an audience out there, waiting for these large-sized preppy duds. I’m gonna’ sell these myself! Hrmph. Off I drove to the Main Post Office downtown. And I found a parking space, it’s just perfectly placed between the two entries, that are equally a half block away. (Grumble, groan) Setting out for one of the doors that I think is the main one, I stumble over, again, on loose concrete sidewalk bits and I hear tittering and peels of laughter. Flush again I look up, and there in their under 40-dom, is a regatta of rental-bikers, having a gay-old-time riding around downtown. Doin’ the town, healthy style. FU** YOU I want to scream. But I don’t. I just sigh, and shuffle on in my mom jeans up the ramp to the post office entrance. It looks so dark, I catch my breath, praying that it’s open. I check the posted time and I’ve got at least 15 minutes before the place shuts down. Then I remember, it always looks dark in there, when you’re coming in from the sun. I revolve through the door and see that not one of the teller windows are open. I sigh, I remember the sequester, I recount the evil a competitive marketplace has wrought on dear Uncle Sam’s post office. But there it is. A kiosk filled with do-it-yourself envelopes and mailing boxes offering a flat-rate for delivery. I take the tri-fold brochure. A couple of envelopes and bend over to grab a couple of boxes. Did I just pull something? I reach down and tug at the flat box and of course it’s jammed. Of course it’s stuck in the kiosk. Of course I’m feeling old and cranky and I just wanna’ go home. I free the stuck box and flippity flop toward the door. Polished granite and shinning, lifeless brass art deco seem to mock me as I rush for the door. A rolling roar of air is sucked in by an antiquated air duct. It startles me. But since I knew what it was, I didn’t pee myself. I just strolled on.
I’m finally going to take pictures of mom’s 1980s treasures and I’m gonna’ put ’em up on eBay. And if I ever sell stuff, a percentage of the profits will go to the Twin Cities Media Alliance. Hold onto your britches, and watch this space for the deets. Peace.