Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What the kids scored: Polly Pocket, the Book of Lists, rainbow suspenders and so many cats

This is the face of my younger daughter when she learns that she has to accompany me on a thrifting expedition, but it's definitely not how she looks when she makes a great score—like those rainbow suspenders she's wearing, which are straight out of the Mork & Mindy era (I took this picture at art camp; her face is a reflection of the searing San Antonio summer temperature, not of her feelings about Robin Williams). She Morked out for a good two weeks after finding these suspenders at my favorite church-basement thrift shop in NJ; she even watched a few episodes on You Tube and mastered all the Ork lingo. Now I'm on the lookout for one of those puffy down vests.

I had to bring both of my recalcitrant daughters to a sale on a fancy old-school street around the corner from our house—thank god they had two vintage Bluebird Polly Pockets playsets of equal merit, perfect bribe fodder. One kid got the house set and the other got the vet's office. I'm too old to appreciate Polly Pocket, but these are cute, and sort of strange, and apparently collectible.

I am most definitely not too old to appreciate The Book of Lists, published in 1977, with which I bribed my elder daughter at a recent estate sale. She was absorbed by it for days. We'll see if she keeps returning to it the way I used to: I remember checking this book out at my local library so. many. times. My favorite list? "14 Preserved Anatomical Parts of Renowned People," because it notoriously features Napoleon's one-inch penis, alleged to have resembled a seahorse. Now I can't pick the book up without being sucked in by "Shoe Sizes of 20 Famous Men," "16 people Who Have Taken Opium," "10 Famous Librarians" and "9 Nations That Can Blow Us Up in 7-10 Years," including, improbably, Finland, Romania and Yugoslavia, but also Iran and Pakistan. Everyone should have a copy of this book in their bathroom, along with The Andy Warhol Diaries (but that's a post for another day).

My kids, particularly the younger one, are cray-cray-loco for cats. Ours died a year and a half ago, and while his robotic litter box and cat fountain remain in the garage, still I am unable to commit to a new cat. So I've been filling the void with cat books ever since. At this sale, my daughter scored not one but three excellent cat books. We just finished reading Socks. I have already celebrated Beverly Cleary on this blog, but I didn't realize that her remarkable powers of empathy somehow extended to the feline species as well. How does she do it? That woman is a national treasure. Reading Socks nudged me that much closer to admitting a new Socks into our lives. Don't tell my kids I said that.

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