I am visiting an old friend in Michigan. We went to Goodwill two days ago and promptly fell into the pattern of forty years ago when I was in college. We have two running contests. We both vie to find the ugliest garment. I win this time with an orange linen sleeveless flowered sort of tunic thing. It is really too short for a mini dress (unless you a ho or a man ho) and the totally wrong length to look good over leggings or tights or a mini skirt. Wow. Goodwill continues to impress with how much hideously ugly clothing there is. The excuse for going there is to get old wool or cashmere sweaters to cut up and make into fingerless gloves. I find one cashmere sweater but it fits me and is too nice to cut up.

The second contest is to find something that the other person likes and buys. I find a rayon flowered mildly transparent shirt that fits my old friend. She likes and buys it. She finds me a quite funky baby poop brown tan colored wool sweater that was probably hand knit and by an expert. No tags and beautifully finished and I think it’s Brown Sheep wool. Also a really nice Woolrich wool button down shirt. I buy both, $3.99 each.

I also acquire a polyester shirt printed with a map of the world. We are trying to pin down the year the map is from. It has Constantinople, Russia, the Free State of Congo, Greenland as a Danish possession and is pale turquoise with the countries in pastel colors. The buttons are all intact but sewn on badly and it would be wise to reinforce them. I should but I probably won’t.

When I went to college, I had a very tight budget and going from Virginia to Wisconsin, not enough warm clothes. We started second hand shopping together. She makes pins from old buttons and other objects and makes and sells earrings that she makes. She used to have three small stands in bigger “antique” malls, where she sold vintage clothes, jewelry and objects that she had picked up and mended or rehabbed. My interest in vintage suits started in college. She has sent me suits and other fine peculiar things over the years.

It is very fun. It’s best to have a person who is another size/shape and/or style. She is 5’10” and has an angular frame. I am 5’4” and have a figure that is not 1950s. More boyish though not really, but I really have a figure that looks best in the 1920s things. I like those dresses too, because they are made for dancing. The silk 1920s now tend to fall apart at the seams because they are 100 years old. Some silk endures, if it has been well protected.

This is cheap entertainment. You may not be able to find something the other person wants and buys, but certainly you can find something hideously ugly. In fact, most of it is hideously ugly. Enjoy.

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