Readers, I have just learned that cinema songbird of yore Deanna Durbin has died at the ripe old age of 91.
There aren't too many film stars left from the Golden Age of Hollywood -- Olivia DeHavilland and sister Joan Fontaine, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, Marsha Hunt come immediately to mind. Deanna was one of my all-time favorites; I think I've seen every one of her films. Deanna isn't well remembered today and it's only partially because she retired while still in her twenties and spent the balance of her life enjoying the normal things -- husband, children, privacy -- she longed for.
The truth is that Deanna never made a truly great film-- most of her movies were relatively low-budget black and white musicals made by Universal Studios, a second-rate studio (at that time) where chipmunk-cheeked Deanna was the undisputed queen. Her big-budget technicolor answer to "Meet Me In St. Louis" was "Can't Help Singing," which has its moments but is hardly a classic (and those Walter Plunkett costumes all look like they were made from draperies).
Thankfully, there's plenty of Deanna all over YouTube. She was a marvelous singer and first-rate performer and unlike Judy Garland, who rarely was expected to carry an entire film on her fragile shoulders but was usually co-starred with Gene Kelly or Mickey Rooney or some other equally talented performer, Deanna Durbin movies were all about Deanna -- always front and center in adoring close-up. She was a really big deal in the late Thirties and most of the Forties -- remarkable.
In other news, what a great time I had at the Salvation Army this morning!
Readers, there are three types of thrift store shoppers or, as I prefer to refer to it, three stages of thrift store addiction - stages being more accurate than levels, I believe, since most thrift store shoppers at one stage will, more likely than not, move on to one of the others sooner than they may think.
A Stage One shopper leaves the thrift store with his or her purchases, aware of the amount of money they've spent (let's overlook subject/verb agreement today), but truly excited about what they've bought. The loot is first and foremost, the cost secondary.
Stage Two shoppers exit the thrift store thinking primarily about how much money they have saved. They may love what they've purchased, but it's the savings that gives them the familiar thrift store high. This is undoubtedly the most common stage, and many thrift store shoppers will stay at this stage without their addiction ever progressing to...
Stage Three shoppers are dramatically fewer in number, friends, but you have probably known a few. These are the people who leave the thrift store delighted with their purchases just like those at earlier stages. But what distinguishes Stage Three from Stage Two is that the Stage Three shopper is most excited about how much money they earned. I know it sounds deluded, but so be it.
Needless to say, I am at Stage Three. Here's what I just picked up at the Salvation Army, earning $100 in the process (despite one item being a complete dud):
1) This white "burnout" crew neck tee shirt cost $1.99. New, it retails for a whopping $36. (Do we live in a crazy world or don't we?) Money earned: $34.
2) Black Vornado table fan which we were actually in the market for as our old one finally died -- we use these primarily for white noise at night. Price paid, $5.99. Retail price: $44.99. Money earned: nearly $40.
3) Frank Sinatra CD "Come Dance With Me" -- a classic from the Capitol era. Price paid: $1.99. MP3 for sale on Amazon for $7.99. Money earned $6.
4) Black Ottlite table lamp in excellent working condition. I've been admiring these lately online, especially now that I can no longer thread a needle without my "readers." I paid $5.99. Retail price: $38.45. Money earned: approximately $32.50
5) Old soft-as-flannel 100% bedsheet for muslins. I paid $1.99. This really has no retail value but I love using old sheets for sewing. I may line (or underline) a dress with it too.
6) THE DUD: These fabulous Forties-inspired Donna Karan satin sandals were $6.99 and fit great, but I realized only after I'd brought them home that the left shoe is cracked in a way that the heel won't support the foot. Alas, I should have tried on both shoes at the store. Readers, never give something damaged to the Salvation Army or any other
thrift store. It creates really bad karma -- or it should.
All told, I made roughly $100 this morning in less than twenty minutes. Now if only I could find a Bernina: that would be like time-and-a-half!
In closing, do you identify with any of the three stages of thrift store addiction? Are you a run-of-the mill second-stager, or have you, like me, reached the stage where you see your thrift store savings as income -- this despite the fact that you have no intention of ever selling anything you've purchased? Do you think there's a cure (beside insect infestation -- heaven forbid)?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!