Update: Fads, Fashions & Classics (flea markets, etcetera) – Tola Adenle

Herewith the picture I promised earlier in the week as regards the essay, http://emotanafricana.com/2011/11/23/fads-fashions-classics/

Harvest bench upholstered in a 50s-era inherited aso oke

Harvest BenchFINAL



Photo Credit:  Depo Adenle

A brief note on this little wood number which I bought at one of those flea market days in the Spring of 1989 at Georgetown in Washington, D.C.  I do not remember exactly how much I paid for it now but most things at flea markets are generally inexpensive and those people who visit them are often just out to get out of the house on a weekend morning like the Saturday that saw me at Georgetown, savoring a Washington Spring day.

Flea market visitors may be out savoring a day but most would often end up buying stuff – needed or not as often happens to such people, this blogger, included: crafts, used items, furniture and furnishing items, etcetera.   A few flea market shoppers are out looking for finds as there have been occasional reports of buyers of flea market paintings that cost very little but later turn out to be great finds that fetch the owners a lot of money.

For the most part, though, flea markets are fun places to spend unhurried leisurely time that could yield great finds but always deliver on its basic purpose of bringing people together in an open (generally) air market where haggling, long disappeared in most American life, is very much practised.

When my family checked out with Nigeria’s mythical Andrew as Babangida’s regime got well under way in the late 80s, we chose to go West, far from our college days of living in Florida and Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  On reading about a “Swap Meet” at our new home in the Las Vegas area, I decided to check it out because I was intrigued.  Did people go there to barter?  What kinds of goods/items were to be “swapped”?

In an open dusty space on the outskirt of town, mostly bound-for-the-dumps items were displayed by no less uninteresting people but instead of goods being exchanged for goods, the items were actually up for sale!

On the whole, flea markets – permanent ones in some towns or the spring varieties – can often yield good purchases.  Apart from the wooden bench which I later just polished, I own a few furniture items purchased at a regular flea-type store in Laurel, Maryland.  I picked up an old sofa for a couple of hundred dollars and when it was time to reupholster it, the revelation beneath the faded chintz cover was unbelievable:  thin layers upon thin layers of cotton filling and the beginning of what had ended up on U.S. Route 1 as a reject  is from the 1920s and contained not a single man-made fiber in its fillings!  Though a little too deep for the way I like to sit even when I relax, it is the most comfortable chair in our home.

I bought an old typewriter – intact in its shipping box sent by an American  guy from South Korea to an address in California in 1953 – at a flea market in the D.C. area in the 1970s when IBM’s Selectric reigned.  I did not use it even though it was operable but carried it around till the prized shipping box which bore a clear postage mark, my reason for purchasing it, got damaged.

I recommend flea markets, antique furniture stores, etcetera highly.  Your own finds await.

We all have daily reasons to be thankful  and, especially to readers of my Blog in good old USA, I say A Happy Thanksgiving as they mark how the pilgrims who first arrived from England celebrated their first harvest after the Indians whom they met in the New World had taught them how to grow crops and survive.  What they later did to the American-Indians is not part of Thanksgiving remembrances.

TOLA ADENLE, Washington, D.C. area.  November 24, 2011.

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