Favorite friend Heather and I took a trip to Brimfield Antique Show on Wednesday. I had never been before and was excited to see what was in store for me. I had no idea it would be so great! You can see the Flickr photo set here. Story is below.
Heather says my first reaction was a dead pan “Are you kidding me?” She wasn’t sure if I was disappointed but probably realized I was just in shock when she saw my face and dropped jaw. The road we were on lead into the beginning of the show grounds and the pops of color and idea that hours of antique archeology were ahead of me was something that made my head spin. I was so eager to get out of the car and start that I almost forgot to put on my sunscreen.
With our straw hats, we walked from our very convenient parking spot on Prospect Street into the dreaminess that was Brimfield. Tall Japanese tripod ladders were the first items to greet us, beckoning us to take a left and stumble upon a giant Buddha head, wrought iron gates, bronze Remington statues and tidily upholstered chaufeuse chairs.
Old English saddles and vintage equestrian ecoutremount plus a trio of strikingly beautiful, siren-esque girls sitting on the grass in the shade were the sights en route to a tent filled depression glass and vintage fruit crate labels, forgotten photographs and tin types. I was taking photographs at a pretty good clip before a nice vendor in an adjoining tent warned me that the other tent owner liked to yell loudly at people who took pictures.
Heather and I kept walking past quilts and cup plates to a tent that looked as if it had Hitchcock furniture. Now, having grown up in a house filled with Hitchcock furniture and being told exactly what to look for to see if it’s genuine since I was in the womb, I tipped the chair forward to check the reverse apron for the signature — L. Hitchcock, Hitchcocks-ville, Conn. Warranted — a trademark still used today to guarantee authenticity.
After the chair tip, was the salesman said, “They’re real Hitchcock, no need to check.” He went back to haggling with two women on the very two chairs that I was inspecting. I interrupted to ask if the chairs had been refinished and he replied with a huffy “NO. They’re real Hitchcock.” and impatiently went back to his sale. There I stood, made to look like an idiot, so I picked up the chair and turned it upside-down. No signature. The salesman shot me a look, one as if to encourage me to walk away and not cost him a sale, and reassured the two women that the chairs were indeed genuine.
The crummy look prompted me to blurt out, “These aren’t real.” The two women just stared while the salesman quick-talked to save his sale. He was lying to these women and knew that I knew. I walked around them, as if to continue to the next tent and heard him try again to continue with the sale. I stopped, tapped the woman on the arm and told her, “Those aren’t real, don’t buy them.” I smiled at her and her friend before walking away. Heather said the salesman was not happy and aimed a snide comment at me when the two women walked away to the next tent.
The next few hours were a happy blur of tiny toy horses and riders, chocolate molds, nautical everything, matador statues, reclaimed metal sculptures and, something very new to me, industrial chic. I’ve seen it in magazine but never really saw it until there was an entire field of it in front of me. It made me wonder where on earth these objects are found because they seem so rare. We also randomly met up two Mass Market friends as they were leaving the record tent where I found two David Bowie records for Chris.
Across the street was the Colonel Sanders weathervane, a very old Kodak light meter and some shop talk with Jim about a TLR camera trick with modern digital equipment. I lost Heather and then found her again while she was getting her apple dishes. I wandered up to waited by the vintage fabrics and notions tent and struck up an interesting conversation with the button girl who told me how Ralph Lauren had been in earlier and that Anthropology “buyers” were out taking photos for “inspiration”. She had the latter delete all their pictures and told them, “Ralph Lauren pays for his ‘inspiration’ and so can you.”
The sun was high in the sky and the clouds were pure white against this amazing blue. It was hard to believe that a tornado had been anywhere remotely close to those fields just a month earlier. We kept on and Heather bought a trellis from this creepy guy who made a strange joke, making us realize that some vendors were indeed selling items made to look vintage, like fruit crate labels and decor. It bummed us out until we found some splendid hundred year-old dictionaries and books, board games, and tables full of postcards, many of which were in Greek!
We chatted on our way back to car and decided that we had so much fun that we should try to go to Brimfield together more often. We loaded up the car and exhaled big when we sat down for the first time since we got there hours earlier. I was sad to see the fields that we missed, entire verdant squares filled with more equestrian stuff and signs from overseas places like Vietnam and Thailand. We just couldn’t walk anymore! I programmed the GPS to find a Friendly’s since we hadn’t eaten and, once our bellies were full, we continued the rest of our great day by chauffeuring home the trellis and then to pick up the adorable Abbey and Cooper at fantastic summer camp. We were in the car for about three hours but, when you’re among friends, traffic is a good thing.