Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Postcards from Brimfield

Brimfield Antiques Fair was mobbed on Saturday afternoon and we had trouble finding a parking space. Our usual spot in the "Quaker Acres" field was full and so was every other lot until we got almost to the postcard barn, where the show ends. It was a good day to be outside — sunny and cool — but the fields were still very muddy in spots from the rain earlier in the week. I was in flip flops; lots of people were in Wellies, taking no chances. It's hard to watch where you're going when you're more interested in scanning booths and tents for treasures, so I did hit a few muddy puddles. But I didn't wipe out, a là Roger Sterling in "Mad Men" the other week.

My first piece of Brimfield business is always a big, soft apple fritter from the Apple Barn. Since we were parked nearby, I was able to accomplish that in minutes. So I was fortified for what turned out to be six miles of walking — not to mention all the slow, interrupted walking that my pedometer doesn't count. 

Voilà. And I know, I know... but it's only twice a year.
And there's some fruit in there along with the fried dough and sugar glaze.

Since we still aren't moving, I limit my hunting to small, irresistible objects and spend most of my time admiring the surreal juxtapositions of weird stuff created by many of the dealers. I'm not sure they are always making conscious choices, but that's part of the fun. And some items look completely bizarre no matter how quietly they are displayed.

Like this distant relative of Herman Munster rocking next to a sewing machine:


Then there was this:


I can imagine someone wanting a stuffed alligator, maybe. But a deflated stuffed alligator? At least the candlesticks give it some class.

This was probably the most surreal display at the show:


It took me a while, but I think those are face parts for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation training dummies. At least I hope so. And if those aren't enough for you, I found more:


Then I found this anatomical torso, which looks like it has removable organs along with its removable musculature, which is in the suitcase:


If you get the suitcase and the torso, you will get a variety of other body parts so you can make a very complicated monster, although it will be missing its limbs. Don't ask me how the giant ear fits in. But that giant ears was pretty creepy.

Later on, in other fields, we spotted stray arms and legs just lying around, wishing they had an anatomical torso to give meaning to their existence:

And what is with that prize-winning mannequin?


So who buys this stuff, you ask me? People like these:


That's a classic Brimfield couple, sensibly outfitted with big hats, walking shoes, a backpack, and lightweight, wheeled carts to hold all the body parts they've come to buy. Her red shirt will help him find her when she wanders off to another tent in the field. I wear an old hat and carry an ancient rucksack at Brimfield myself. But I don't buy body parts. I bought this:


It's a cloisonné cigarette box that was too pretty and reasonably priced to leave behind. I did some quick research on eBay while we had lunch (a hot dog with sauerkraut, which is a vegetable) and discovered it was a good deal. So I went back to that tent and bought it at the end of the day. It's corroded inside but they usually are. I will line it with felt and add it to my box collection.

I have a few more postcards to share, but I need to get to work. I'm editing labels for a show of gorgeous old Hollywood costumes and jewelry, and Mae West's shoes. I have a tough life, I know....

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