Several years ago, I headed out into the far reaches of Rhode Island for a Boy Scout sale. I don't remember the exact month, but it was pre-yardsale season, and there was still frost on the ground. I remember heading out into the country, the roads empty, the hills rising in the distance, and the feeling of anticipation tingling through my fingers.
I drove perhaps a half hour (which in Rhode Island terms is like crossing the country) finally weaving my way through an old New England town to my destination. Inside some old VFW hall were ten tables or so piled with the usual junk. I wandered around, picked up a few items, and was getting ready to pay when I decided to circle one last time. As I perused the toy table, a hand decended to place down an original Barbie Dream House. My heart pounding, I grabbed it.
At the checkout line, the man in front of me was buying a small suitcase. He opened it and inside were all these vintage Barbie items. He just wanted the suitcase, so he offered me its contents. Then a middle-aged woman appeared at the checkout table. "I see you have the Barbie house. There's another identical one. It belonged to my sister. Do you want it?" Does Barbie love pink? Bring it on. By the time I left, I had two Barbie Dream Houses, and a load of accessories. Then the Dream House owner chased me down in the parking lot with another plastic container filled with more Barbie items. I spent $65, which for me, was a fortune.
I don't remember the return trip home. But I do remember the hours I spent pouring over my haul. There were early 1960s Barbie and Ken dolls, the original stands for the dolls, miniature catalogs of all the outfits so I could go through and compile what went together. These two sisters saved everything. There was a complete bridal outfit with bouquet, necklace and shoes, skiing outfits with skiis, poles and boots, and all the tiny cardboard record albums that went with the Dream House. I made several hundred dollars off that haul, but it's not the money I remember. It's the thrill of pouring through those tiny treasures and starting a foundation of vintage-Barbie knowledge.
I've never seen an ad for this sale again. But I think about it all the time. So several weeks ago, when I saw a posting on Craigslist for a Boy Scout troop sale, I made sure it would be my first stop of the day. Again, I travelled far from home to get to the sale, certain the Boy Scouts wouldn't let me down. Alas, nothing close to my dream house was there. Just a few Wilton cake decorating books and vintage Halloween candles for me. And once I arrived at my second stop of the day, a church sale much closer to home, I realized spot number two was a place I'd had success at before, but now I was late.
Oh well. The dream lives on. As does the chase.
Here's some of what I did find this morning:
Two lovely mid-century Pyrex-like dishes for .50 cents a piece.
A very-70s embroidered owl to add to my daughter's wall of vintage animal-themed art. Paid .50 cents.
A vintage cake plate to replace the one I broke. Paid .50 cents.