Bells on the front door welcomed customers into the tiny space. Cozy, with carpets layered on top of each other, covering and cushioning the floor. Inviting. Every inch of the small space devoted to showcasing jewelry and artifacts.
Not one empty spot.
Shallow glass cases displayed silver, gold, and enamel jewelry. There were bracelets, rings, necklaces, and pendants, some adorned with colorful semi-precious stones. Endless varieties from all over the world exploding with beauty and art and history.
A magical store like no other I’ve ever seen.
One look, or even two or three, was never enough to spot all the amazing and affordable treasures. Everything positioned close to each other with the surface of a shelf hardly showing. It was the perfect place to buy gifts, and I could never resist adding to my own collection. Most of the inventory was vintage, from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and so on.
And now it’s gone. Closed. Just like that.
It was like a museum and store in one. Besides jewelry, there were vintage housewares. So many beautiful things to choose from! Among them, little silver spoons, antique etched glasses, vases, teacups, and linens.
Like Mary Poppins’ bottomless bag.
Except that it was a store. There was a mysterious back room hidden by a thick curtain, or maybe a rug, used as a curtain. Who knows what was back there. Maybe Iris Apfel was hiding out?
I once wanted to buy a pin. I looked in the cases. And looked again.
Then a little cardboard box appeared in front of me from somewhere behind the counter.
It was old and covered in a gold floral patterned paper. There was an assortment of pins inside, each in its own tiny plastic bag with it’s own tiny price tag attached. Nothing fancy and all under $10. I was in costume jewelry heaven.
There were velvet-lined trays upon trays of pins and rings and bracelets all sorted by type or era. I can close my eyes and picture their contents. Sigh.
I visited the store many times with one of my closest friends. As old friends we have a comfortable banter. Think Lucy and Ethel. Laverne and Shirley. Tina and Amy. Thelma and Louise (well, maybe not them.)
We often amused the owner.
I’m sure he was especially happy since we always bought something. ALWAYS.
“Look at this bracelet. Try it on.”
“I LOVE that! You should get it.”
“Maybe. What else is there?” Oh look at this one!”
“Yeah. I don’t know. I like the other one better.”
“Look at this necklace. That would look great on you.”
“Yeah. But enough with those necklaces. I always wear that type. I should get something longer.”
“Did you see this one? Try it on.”
“What do you think? Um. Maybe. Not sure. Can I try it?”
“Remember that bracelet you got last time? This would look great with that.”
“Yeah, maybe. But I like this one …”
“I’m sorry. Could I just see that ring? NO. That one. Third one from the left.”
“I LOVE that! Don’t you?”
And so on.
I’m going to miss that.
Just this week, my friend was visiting. I said to her, “You know that store will close some day. The guy is older and there doesn’t seem to be anyone to take over.” That was Monday. The store was never open on Mondays.
Tuesday, I went there to buy a gift and the store was gone.
Empty. Deserted. Sad.
All that beauty gone. Disappeared. No notice. No sign in the window. Nothing.
I was on the phone almost immediately.
“Hi. I have some terrible news.” [First I made sure she knew it wasn’t HORRIBLE. I didn’t want to scare her.]
“What? What’s the matter?”
“The store closed.”
She knew right away what I was talking about.
“You predicted it!”
Imagine the conversation, if you will. I’ll spare you the details of the cursing and carrying on. Oh. The drama.
“What are we going to do?”
There’s nothing similar.
Because it was not just a store. It was a place to make memories with a dear friend. A place to buy gifts for others. A place that inspired me for my own art. A place to learn about different types of jewelry. Even a museum could not have the variety of jewelry and artifacts crammed into such a small space.
My friend called the store number. A recording something like this:
“We still have all our inventory. If you have an inquiry, please leave a message. We will have more information at the beginning of the year.”
Maybe there will be a new store. There’s hope.
In the meantime, where’s the inventory? Is all that glorious stock in a storage facility, or maybe in the basement, or in a spare bedroom? Is it in the attic?
Are the flowers in the attic?
The flower picture was taken a couple of months before closing. I’m so happy now to have it!