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What I bought second-hand today

I’m trying this – the idea given to me by my hostess Liz at the book club last week, to keep a separate blog dedicated to my second-hand purchases. It sounded like fun – a bit like boasting, yes, but also … people are curious. So, on this blog for now, here goes.

What’s important in second-hand shopping is the time commitment. If the hunt takes too much time, it’s not worth it, no matter how great your finds. So I will also chronicle, as honestly as I can, the time it took me to dig up treasure.
Today – deked into Doubletake on my way to the library before my 12.30 home class. Yesterday and the day before, in my quick tour around, I found nothing. Today, I found a bright blue Ralph Lauren jean jacket that fits me perfectly, a pair of khaki shorts ditto, some bangles including several that are the same turquoise as the jacket, and a “Far Side” anthology as a present for my son, who used to devour them. I opened it and laughed out loud: a man holding a dog training book and balancing a dog biscuit on a dog’s nose; the dog thinking, “That’s it. This time I’m going to kill him.”
Total: 14 minutes, $14.00.
I promise, if I continue with this, which I may not, the pictures won’t always be sideways.
Otherwise, in big news: it’s summer. How very Toronto – this morning, it was chilly and grey, as it has been for the last 7 months. And then, at 11.23 a.m., the sun came out; by 11.41 it was muggy, and by 11.56 it was unbearably hot. When my students came, we sat under the canopy on the deck, sweating profusely. So much for my new jean jacket, which I won’t be able to wear until September.
Or not. Maybe it’ll be winter again by tomorrow. The way the weather is going around the world, that’s as likely as anything else. But right now, I’m wearing a bare little summer dress, while my thick wool jacket is still hanging in the front hall because I wore it two days ago.
Suddenly the garden is calling. I’ve neglected it. My new viburnum is being eaten by bugs, the oleander went outside for the first time today and needs to be transplanted, I haven’t planted the vegetables. Please, all I want for Christmas, all I ever want, is a hundred more hours in the day.
Incidentally, the book I’d ordered from the library and picked up today is about the fascinating artist, Alice Neel, who was a friend of my father’s and painted his portrait. When I got home, just for the hell of it, I looked in the Index under Kaplan. There he was! Her son mentions his mother’s friends in the late forties, including “Gordon Kaplan” (always misspelled – his name was Gordin) – who taught, it says, at Columbia. My wonderful Dad must have bamboozled them, as he loved to do; he was finishing his Ph.D. at Columbia at that time, not teaching at all.
I won’t take a picture of the book, though it is one of today’s acquisitions. I will tell you that the plumber finished his work today, and paying his bill reminded me why I shop second-hand.
P.S. Tonight, 14 degrees. Tomorrow, 32. Welcome to Toronto.



2 Responses to “What I bought second-hand today”

  1. lizzielang says:

    That really is a great jacket! I hadn't thought of including the time spent on the hunt. It makes your treasures even more impressive! 🙂

  2. beth says:

    Liz, I wore the jacket for the first time today. Pretty damn great. But yes, if the hunt takes too long, it's not worth it. Because second-hand shopping is very time-consuming, so the way to make it work is to learn to do it fast. Believe me, I have spent a great deal of time working out the technique.
    More anon.
    all the best

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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