I did good at the thrift shop this weekend. Well, I suppose I should say I did well, but either way you say it, I left the store feeling quite satisfied. In one trip, I thrifted most of what I’m wearing today. I found this amazing, unworn vintage wool blazer for $3.50, and this Liz Clairborne denim tunic (okay okay – a dress for the normal-sized among us) for $5. If those prices seem crazy-good, it’s because I used my Salvation Army stamp card – 10 visits to the Salvation Army and your 11th visit is 50% off. I am both proud and horrified by how easy it was for me to amass 10 stamps. Most pleasingly, I think these two items are new closet favourites separately, but also work quite well together. I completed the look with some antique fair jewelery, and my trusty Ralph Lauren leather belt from the Bibles for Missions. The item that gives this outfit its story, though, is the smallest one – the pin on my left.
This pin isn’t from the thrift store. This pin is from my jewellery box. It was, until recently, one of those items I never thought about. However, it caught my eye in a burst of organizational behaviour a few weeks ago, when I pulled it out of the dark corners of my jewellery box to the messy chaos of my coffee table. I hazily recalled it coming from from my grandma’s jewellery box, shortly after she passed away in 2007, but it never came with any details. It sat on the coffee table for a few more days, and I’d occasionally pick it up and twirl it around during commercial breaks. I thought I’d wear it someday and feel like I belonged to the house of Ravenclaw (but that doesn’t make any sense, because we all know I’d be a Gryffindor).
Once I finally l took a closer look, though, I saw a rough-but-clear inscription on the back – “Lambert P. Konyndyk” – my grampa, who passed away nearly 13 years ago. Upon this discovery, I showed the pin to Matt, to see if he had any insights. He then made me feel rather embarrassed for not recognizing this pin for what it so obviously was – a fraternity pin! I didn’t know where my Grandpa went to university, much less his frat house. But I knew my dad grew up (mostly) in the Michigan area, so the University of Michigan was the obvious contender for its origins. I then deciphered the Greek symbols (thanks, Internet!), and discovered that my grandpa was at some point a member of Phi Alpha Kappa at the University of Michigan.
Rather excited by my discovery, I made a call to my Dad, and he filled in all the gaps: Grandpa went to the University of Michigan for his first (of two!) masters degrees. His initially completed his masters in education at Michigan, and later returned to school (in his 50s!) at the University of Ohio for a second masters in economics of education. This, of course, prompted a few more stories from dad about that move to Ohio, alongside other memories about Grandpa and Grandma that I hadn’t heard before. This pin was a little piece in the big story about two people I still miss very much.
I love old things from the thrift store. I love old things from my family even more.
Blazer: Salvation Army | $3.50
Denim Tunic: Salvation Army | $5
Necklace: Christie’s Antique Fair | $5
Purse: Talize | $9
Belt: Bibles for Missions | $0.99