“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Nashville Flea Market 2010: It Can’t Get Too Odd for Me

Dear Kay,
Ahhhhh, it’s been a while since I had a good flea market crawl, so it was a quick yes when I got a call from my friend Elizabeth of Style Blueprint, a blog that is rapidly becoming Nashville’s latest and most potent source of shopping crack.
She muttered that she needed some stuff (need being a broad term when it comes to Elizabeth and shopping), and I was all “Hell yeah. I’ve been low on 8-track tapes ever since my AMC Pacer got broken into.”
Really, there’s no better place on earth to warp time and space than the Nashville Flea Market. You can go as far back as you like, even to historical periods that aren’t really all that historic.
fleamarket210tabu
The chutzpah required to offer this partly used bottle of Tabu Spray Cologne is totally admirable. Anybody out there suddenly jonesing for a half-used bottle of your own, there’s more where that came from.
In fact, you can stock up on bottles of all kinds of stuff at the flea market.
fleakmarket210
Expiration dates are kind of a “guideline,” really. No need to be so literal about stuff.
Elizabeth shops like a commando: she was making deals before the poor vendors even knew what had hit them.
fleamarket210eliz
Here she is, on the right, relieving this nice vendor of two party purses. Surgical strike. These came from an estate that included a suitcase stuffed with perfectly ordered lingerie, and pasted to the inside of the suitcase was this:
fleamarket210camplist
Morty’s clothing list for Surprise Lake Camp, in Cold Spring, New York. 1950. Looks to me like not everything came back. Any Surprise Lake Camp alums know whether Morty brought home his housecoat?
There were things of great beauty to be found in the Creative Arts Building, where I had a Vietnam-style flashback to my knitting competition experience at the Tennessee State Fair a few years ago.
fleamarket210bolts
Elizabeth’s best silver dealer also deals in automotive tools.
fleamarket210bust
Something about this swan-necked gamine really spoke to me. Sort of Annie Lennox? Or maybe I was just buzzing off the peach potpourri fumes.
Of course, we all know that it is impossible to attend an event composed of a thousand attics put on display without encountering at least a few Dole banana boxes crammed with yarn.
fleamarket210knitting
I was overwhelmed by these two sleeves and a back. Where is the front? Such incompleteness! With the interlocking zigzaggy color changes and everything! Think on all the misunderstood, half-finished knitting that ends up underneath folding tables of booths at flea markets across the land. We need to address this issue. Where is the love, y’all?
Beauty was everywhere, but you know me . . .
fleamarket210teeth
It’s always the $35 New TruByte tooth-color-matching wheel that really sets me on fire.
The Nashville Flea Market seems to be in jeopardy; the city owns the state fair property where this monthly miracle takes place, and apparently there may be a massive health care conglomerate that seems interested in turning the acreage into some kind of Development.
A crying shame, I tell you! What Nashville needs is more flea market, not less. As we scoured the jewelry tables, I had the great chance to hear the smooth keyboard stylings of Sonny Helmer, everybody’s favorite used telephone vendor and author of Everything Happens to Me! The “Almost Famous” Sonny Helmer Story.
fleamarket210sonny
I loved the guy, and the way he was selling Bakelite telephones, everybody else did, too.
Love,
Ann

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Dear Ann, I draw your attention to http://ufoadministration.blogspot.com/, here is the love!

  2. Ann,
    Have you ever made out in an AMC pacer? I have not but surely anyone who can lay claim to such an honor deserves an award!

  3. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Atlanta had the Lakewood Antiques Market (monthly home to purveyors of the best junque around) at an old fairgrounds until a few years ago. Such a sad day when the city shut it down for who-knows-what-development that still has not happened.

  4. You know, I thought Annie Lennox, too. Great minds, apparently.

  5. The Roadie crew also made the trip to the Nashville Flea Market this weekend . . . big bargains to be had in the cow shed! One guy was selling everything for $2 – 1950 copy of the Better Homes & Gardens Garden Book? $2! Skateboard deck (no trucks/wheels)? $2!
    Rockboy was admiring Sonny Helmer’s book sign – he loved the font on it and tried to talk Sonny into selling him the sign.
    Good times.
    I don’t know what we’ll do when it moves to another location. It just won’t be the same.

  6. Tabu! I can still recall the scent…it meant that mom and dad were going out for the evening.

  7. Wow! I haven’t been to the Nashville Flea Market since the early 80′s — where I spent TEN DOLLARS! on a tube of green lipstick that would change colors when you put it on (kind of like mood lipstick maybe?). I hope they keep it going – it’s still the best flea market I’ve ever seen!

  8. Thinking I should take my wares to the flea market instead of selling them on eBay! Elizabeth might love my mama’s glitzy evening bag and matching earrings. I wonder if I should just close up my internet shop and take my Panties for Peace there too! Might make for some interesting conversation on a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon.

  9. What, no pictures of 8 track tapes? That’s an object just crying out for a cozy. Perhaps using the leftover panty colored yarn.

  10. My daughter is on staff at Surprise Lake Camp! No doubt Morty’s housecoat is in the Lost and Found with all the crap she left there. She’ll certainly be checking for it when she goes back this summer. Would you believe they still use that same packing list?

  11. do you know how suprise lake camp got its name? it has a lake now, but it didn’t always.
    Suuprise! no lake!
    I wish I could remember where I learned that tidbit

  12. When I come back to good ole Nashvegas, I am going to HAVE to go to the flea market. It looks so wonderful.

  13. Those bits of a blue sweater look remarkably similar to the box of yarn and sweater parts that I received after my dear Cousin Mary passed away at 90. I think she knitted the same zig zaggy pattern but in pinks. I think I had two fronts and a sleeve. I unraveled the pieces and knit a fun pinwheel blanket for my sister in memory of our cousin.
    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Francieos/round-or-pinwheel-baby-blanket-2

  14. Makes me want to leave work and go to the flea market…I know you and Kay are going to be the next “almost famous” autobiography writers…It’s a shame about the land development…is nothing sacred??

  15. My parents lived in Nashville for several years, and I went to the flea market a couple of times with my mom. It was great fun, and I found some great stuff there! I bought a Hoosier stepping stool thingy for $10 that I later sold on Ebay for more than $200!

  16. I think Surprise Lake camp is still there (at least it was when we rented a place near Cold Spring a few years back. I think every camp has the same packing list (with only the colours changing for the colour war outfits)–looks pretty close to my lists from the 70s!!

  17. I love the Nashville Flea Market. I just moved out of Nashville and miss it very much. I am also sad about the whole fairground problem.

  18. I am always so envious of these flea market stories! Our flea markets seem to mostly be a stop on the way to the dump.
    also – teeth? for realsies? EW.

  19. My mom and I would go to flea markets if not every weekend, most weekends, in the summer when we were both still living in Maine. It was great. I remember one of my best finds: a Portuguese dictionary not to be confused with a Portuguese to English dictionary. I bought it even though I didn’t have even a vague smattering of the language. It was a dollar in hard cover. Score!

  20. More Flea Market! Sounds remarkably like More Cowbell! I may be buzzing off the peach potpourri myself.
    To me, Tabu smells like the down-the-street-neighbor who was a retired nurse and used to sit out front with her husband on summer nights. He’d smoke a pipe, she’d smoke menthols, and go with my mother down the street to “visit.”
    They don’t make ‘em like they used to (flea markets or neighbors).

  21. I miss the flea market. Mark doesn’t like going there like he did years ago. We went there on our second date. That was 20 lovely years ago. Actually I think that article in yesterday’s Tennessean did it about hoarders. Or maybe it’s cause our garage is starting to look like it’s own booth at the flea market.

  22. i gave up going to our red barn flea market
    i never met the group on time or in the
    right place caused by i wonder whats down
    this way tangee you need to look for
    tangee turn your lips to your natural
    color fun posting memories are made of this

  23. TABU….The instant I saw the perfume bottle I could smell the memories when I was 22 and actually wore that scent. In 1984 working at the local Kmart I didn’t know I was wearing an “old” perfume. Ha Ha Ha
    Janice from Southeastern WI

  24. Whoa! My grandmother wore Tabu. But in stick form — was there any of that?

  25. can’t help but wonder if the teeth had anything to do with the pistol nearby …..

  26. Hi Ann!
    What’s amazing about all of this is that I was at this same flea market this past weekend and managed to not see any of these lovely items. How did I let them slip past my view? I did come across a Michael Jackson action figure that seemed to be getting a lot of attention, pork cracklins (what on earth?), lots of fine jewelry, and those people you usually only see at the fair. It was a good time.
    Smiles,
    Erin

  27. Oh, my gosh! I just threw away a half empty bottle of 20-year-old Tabu! I didn’t realize I could sell it!

  28. As a few others have said, Surprise Lake Camp is still very much in existence. I have friends who went there as kids, and have children of friends who go there now! As for Morty’s list, you may want to see if any of the alumni remember him….Eddie Cantor, Neil Diamond, Larry King, Walter Matthau, Jerry Stiller, Neil Simon, Gene Simmons, Larry David…..
    How funny is that?!

  29. That bottle of Tabu brought back some memories. It was my grandmother’s favorite scent, and it always cracked me up that a dignified, old-fashioned preacher’s wife, hair in a sedate bun, shod in Sensible Shoes, would wear a scent called “Tabu.”
    Me, I was always a Shalimar girl!

  30. OMG! My Mom had that gold mirror and matching picture frame that has her wedding picture!

  31. I went to Surprise Lake Camp in Cold Sring NY!! But alas, I can’t help you with the clothing question, since I was there in the in 1980. I had no idea it was such a longstanding institution. (pun wasn’t intended but it should have been.)