It’s funny how the memory works. Sometimes, all it takes is a song. Other times, it could be something visual. No matter what the trigger is, it can be agreed upon that it’s unexpected.
Taking a day-trip to Amish Country in Ohio, Jess and I thought it would be nice to get the kids out in the open air while we could do some small shopping and window-browsing. We kind of knew what we were getting into, but we did expect to see more in the way of Amish-inspired crafts. Still, it was nice to see what was being offered since we’ve heard so much about the area.
There are many, many different shops that offer hand-made items such as quilts, soaps, and other crafts. In fact, it was an uneventful day in terms of shopping until we walked into the Antique Mall in Berlin Village.
As soon as we walked in, an overwhelming sense of nostalgia hit me, in the sense that an ice sculpture was hit by a speeding freight train. It wasn’t just an antique mall; no, it was an indoor flea market with what seemed like endless tables and booths filled with old “collectibles”.
Back when my family lived in North Carolina, we would visit the local flea market in Newport, usually every other Saturday during the spring and summer months. In fact, my sister and I looked forward to going because it got us out of the house and we could look at the “cool” old stuff that was offered. Plus, I collected baseball cards at this time and it was a way for me to see cards I couldn’t afford.
Now, some of you might laugh at the idea, and that’s understandable. What kid would be happy to go to a flea market with their parents for a good 4 hours on a Saturday? What can I say, the small things made me happy. Anymore these days, most kids are lucky to get 4 hours with their parents a week.
The best part about the flea market Saturday is that after we were done there, we would head over to a service station/social gathering place. I’d call it a bar, but soft drinks were more popular than alcohol here. Seriously, the birthplace of Pepsi was just a 35-minute drive west to New Bern, and so the coolers were always stocked full of Pepsi products.
Outside of the building in front were two gas pumps, and upon closer observation, seemed like they were hardly used due in part to the rust and paint chipping. On the side of the building were a few picnic tables, almost always occupied by families and friends enjoying themselves.
Inside, of course, you would find a bar table to the left, with a few visitors sitting and drinking. The back wall had the old-time coolers, with bottles upon bottles of various soft drinks. Not the plastic bottles, mind you. Old-fashioned 8-ounce glass bottles. The ones that needed an actual bottle opener to drink the contents. In fact, the picture below is exactly what I remember.
My dad and I could be found inside, watching whatever baseball game was being shown on TV, drinking a Pepsi together and having a sandwich. Outside, my mom and sister would be sitting at one of the picnic tables chatting with other women and drinking a Coke and Dr. Pepper, respectively.
We were never in a hurry, obviously. We’d be away from the house from around 9 in the morning, until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. There were very few times that we didn’t do this, due in part to the weather. Hey, it was an outdoor venue.
This was our routine every time we went to the flea market, and it’s a memory that obviously won’t be soon forgotten.
It’s funny, really, to think that in the 5 seconds upon entering the Antique Mall I was able to bring back the memories of my youth at the flea market.