Saturday, September 7, 2019

Watching Little Women (1994)... With My Mother

Watching Little Women (1994)... 

                                                                    ...With My Mother

Her: "I know you said I wasn't allowed to ask questions during this, but can I ask just one?"

Me: "Okay...."

Her: "Aren't there supposed to be five daughters?"

Me: "What, you think there's a fifth one hidden in a closet somewhere, just waiting to make a grand entrance?"

Her: "Yes. Maybe."

* * *

Me: "Ugh, Amy is the worst."

Her: "Yes, and good things always happen to her."

Me: "Right? She gets to go to Europe, marry Laurie.... Sometimes I like to imagine a different ending for her, though."

Her: "Like what?"

Me: "Like one where she has to marry Mr. Wickham."

* * * 

Marmee March, talking to Meg about John Brooke's proposal: "Yes, but I'd prefer [John] had a house [before you marry]!"

Me: "If you were required to have a house before you got married nowadays, nobody would ever get married except for middle-aged people going into their second marriage."

Her: *sad nod*

* * *

Laurie: *proposes to Jo*

Me: "I'm kind of glad she says no at this point. They're both so young."

Her: "No, they're older! Remember, it said 'Four Years Later'."

Me: "Yes, but look at his face."

Her: "Yes, such a baby face."

One scene later:

Laurie, growing facial hair as we speak: "YOU WERE SAYING...???"

* * *

See also:

Thursday, August 1, 2019

In The Bins

A few years ago I was driving home from my grandma's house when I decided to take an alternate route. Or, more accurately, I missed a turn someplace and just decided to press onward. As I drove along, I happened to see a GoodWill on my left.

And for whatever reason, I decided to stop.

Ah, GoodWill.


This was no typical GoodWill.

It was on that fateful day that I first beheld...


The Bins, otherwise known as a GoodWill Outlet store, is a magical (and yet somewhat intimidating) place. Imagine a GoodWill retail store -- but with no shelves, no clothing racks, no clearly defined sections.

But with the same amount of stuff for sale.

Only all that stuff is in massive piles... in 8-foot rolling carts.

Welcome to the playground.

Every few hours, all the carts in a particular section (6-8 of them, usually, but it depends on the store) are traded out. Workers wheel away the old bins and bring in new ones. As soon as the last bin is brought out and touches the others, shoppers -- who have gathered just outside the "yellow lines" and are itching to pounce -- spring forward.

They lunge. They dig. They grab. Occasionally they toss things aside, barely caring who the discarded objects strike.

 Anything of probable value goes into their personal cart.

At the end of the day, how much someone pays at the register depends on the weight of the items in their cart.

Clothing is often a steal....

But a heavy old typewriter would not be a bargain.

If your wares weigh more than 25 pounds, the price-per-pound goes down, sure... but you still have to decide if that heavy object is really worth it.

Some typically-heavier items -- such as exercise equipment, electronics, and glassware -- have their own (usually lower-per-pound) prices. In addition, DVDs, CDs, and books are priced separately. Kids' books -- and they're pretty generous with what constitutes a kids' book -- are a steal at $.39 apiece. (Non-kid hardbacks cost $2-something, paperbacks about half that.)

On my first visit to The Bins,  I came away with a couple of sheets to use for backdrops and curtains. I think I paid about $2 all together. I was thrilled.

The next time I visited, I found a 3D LEGO baseplate, one of those ones that sells for $25 at Bricks & Minifigs. As it weighed about three ounces, I paid less than fifty cents for it.

I was hooked. So I kept going back.

I quickly discovered some days at The Bins are better than others. Some days I'll make some really cool finds, and other days, it's all trash. 

I try to avoid going on weekends. That's when everyone and their dog comes out. 

I avoid the location in Beaverton. The people there were grabby on the day I went, and I said "never again." My go-to store is the one on Airport Way, but if I'm in the neighborhood I'll hit up the Milwaukie branch, too. I've found some real treasures there.

I have found a fair amount of LEGO and Duplo in the bins. Sometimes I get lucky and find a set still put together! It may be a little dusty, but after a good rinse, the pieces are good to go. Other times a certain bin will contain hundreds of individual LEGO pieces. And so... let the diving and grabbing commence! Hint: When in doubt, just grab anything that looks like a LEGO. You can always toss the MegaBloks back in the bin later.

I try to always wear rubber gloves when I visit The Bins...

Besides treasures, the bins often contain broken glass, foodstuffs, and random garbage. The worst is when you know you've touched something wet, but aren't sure what it was.

Sometimes you find false teeth...

Yes. I find gloves to be very necessary.

So where does all this STUFF come from? I've found things in the bins that have GoodWill price tags attached, and therefore I assume that they've come from various GW retail stores after sitting on the shelves for a certain amount of time.

But most of the stuff? It seems to come straight from the donation sites. As is. Unsorted, unpackaged... just dumped.

Maybe the employees in charge know what typically sells and what doesn't in their stores, and what doesn't do well just gets sent straight to The Bins without even having a chance in retail.

But that's fine, because if it means I can find things that are worth money, and not have to pay much for them? Why, yes, I'd be happy to shove aside that moldy blanket and that broken CD tower! 

I have found quite a few things that I've been able to resell. 

Vintage Little People & cars can go for a buck or more a piece on Ebay.

Vintage cards & postcards can be hit or miss, but even if they don't sell right away, I enjoy looking at them.

There are also the book bins, which are an amazing source for vintage books. There are buyers there who have phone scanners. They scan bar codes, looking for paper gold. But they're missing out on all the books that are too old to have bar codes! So sad. But hey -- more vintage books for me.

And sure, you have to push aside a lot of textbooks and dictionaries and religious pamphlets to find the good stuff, but it's there.

Is there anything you WON'T find in the bins? I'm not sure. Come to think of it, I've never seen any real weapons. Or any dead things. There must be some sorting going on. Either that, or I've just been fortunate.

But you can find nearly everything else on Earth in The Bins, such as...

Beloved VHS Movies!

Not-So-Beloved VHS Movies!

Family Photos Of Random Strangers!

PG-13 Nature Photos!



 Broken Glass!

Diaries! (Yes, I do look through them sometimes. You guys, don't donate this stuff if you don't want people looking at it, okay!?!)

Personalized Gifts People Received But Apparently Did Not Love!

Vintage Toys!

Unexpected Inspiration!

Awards & Diplomas!

Bathroom Fixtures!

and Books With Goofy Titles!

Sometimes I even find papers with people's personal information, like social security numbers. 


I have, a few times upon encountering social security numbers, ripped them up and dispersed the pieces throughout the other bins. Oddly enough, the one store I usually shop at doesn't have a garbage can anywhere in the main bin area.

All types of people shop at The Bins. Old, young, male, female, well-off, medium, poor. Parents bring their kids sometimes, and either keep them in the cart alongside all the things they're buying (sometimes you can't even see the kid!) or else let their children run around loose to paw through the bins themselves. Some people bring tiny dogs. Others come in (human) pairs and work as teams.

Some come for the inexpensive clothes. Others prefer digging for treasures in the "miscellaneous" bins. Some check the pockets of every purse and bag they find, hoping to find a stash of cash. 

Most people observe the unwritten rules.

Rule #1: Don't touch anything in the bins until ALL the bins in a section have been rolled out.

Rule #2: Don't take other people's carts or the stuff in them.

But you know how it is. Some people know the rules and just don't care. Others pretend like they don't know them, acting all innocent when they're caught or reprimanded.

Occasionally there will be a fight. A lady takes another lady's cart, and screaming commences. A man grabs something out of someone else's hand.

When fights or arguments happen, some folks lift their eyes to watch. Others just keep their heads down and keep on digging.

And on and on we dig. Because where there are treasures to be found -- and there are treasures here if you've got patience, a keen eye, and a little bravery -- there is not a second to lose.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A 1960s Child's Scrapbook

I recently salvaged this cute little scrapbook from the bins at GoodWill, and even though its contents are more "schoolwork" than "scrapbook," I couldn't help but love it. As I do all scrapbooks. Because I am odd that way.


This was once owned by a Mike M. 

Who was he? We may never know.

Why did you donate us to GoodWill, Mike M.? Why?

The scrapbook's 29-cent price tag was a clue that this thing was probably vintage, but exactly how old WAS it?

Why thank you, mimeographed turkey calendar from November, 1966! How helpful!

Thought #1: I'm sad mimeograph machines are a thing of the past, because I do love me some purple.

Thought #2a: I only know about mimeographs thanks to Judy Blume books. 

Thought #2b: Judy Blume Books: Endless fountains of information.

Purple pages aside, we now get to the heart of this scrapbook...

I really don't know what to make of Mike M.'s poetry. Some of it's not half bad. And the accompanying drawings are... interesting...

I know, I know... this was a kid. Probably. I'm not going to make fun of his work.

But I am going to critique it as a teacher would, because that is simply how I roll.

Okay, so here's the first one...

I like the woods
In autumn
When dry leaves
When the trees are bear
And the wind sweeps by
With a lomesome rushing sound
I can rustle the
In autumn
I can make a bed
In the thick dry leaves
That fallen
From the bark trees

Teacher Molly says: 

Where to begin? First of all, it's bare, not bear.
And Lonesome, not lomesome.
"I can rustle the" what? WHAT?
Bark trees? Really?
Child, you're better than this.


NONO November

No hot days to make us sweat!
No swimming pools to get us wet!
No dlids duilding nest in the trees!
No kites flying in the bries!
No long weeks of i dont care!
noovem gluesus none of these!
But there is thanksgiving if you please!

Teacher Molly says: 

Ugh. First off, what did November ever do to you? Second, were you going through times of extreme crisis while writing lines 3 and 6? Lastly, in the future, please capitalize the holiday Thanksgiving, as it is a proper noun.


FIRST Thanksgiving

Forty pilgrims brave and strong.
Ninety indian joined the throng.
Heaping tables prayers long.
Bilgring voices raised in song.
This then was our frist thanksgiving.
In this lang where now we live.

Teacher Molly says: 

Your picture suggests that you may be slightly confused about Thanksgiving. Please see me after class.


I Love Christmas

"I love Christmas," said Susie small. I love the tree, the gifts and all. I wonder what I am going to get. This could be my best day day yet. Not just the gifts, maybe twenty. Old Santa better bring me plenty. I love Christmas, said thoughtful. Bill I going to help the stocking to fill. I wonder what to get my mother. What toy will please my little brother? Helping santa's so much fun. Choosing gift's for ever one."

Teacher Molly Says:

How did Bill get the job helping Santa? Is he an elf? Do tell me more.



The weatherman must surely know.
I wish for heaps of snow.
I'll coast swiftly down the hill.
Into snowbanks, taking spills.
So on the star I see tonight
I'll wish tomorrow will be white

Teacher Molly Says:

Not bad. I'm seeing improvement, here. Keep it up.


In January

In January, when the snow lies on the ground so deep and white
I love to build a sturdy fort
Our start a friendly snowball fight
I love the crunch of rubber boots
The swish of runners on a sled
My mother says my eyes are bright
My cheeks a marry, rosy red.

Teacher Molly Says:

This poem is surprisingly good.

Too good.

Please see me after class.


Feed The Birds

Listen to the birds say
"Cheep. Cheep. Cheep.
Putting out a few crumbs
Will keep keep keep
Many of us birds
Alive in the snow;
Alive in the winter
When the winters winds blow."

Teacher Molly Says:


Lion Or Lamb

March came in like a roaring lion
With rain and ice and snow.
Will it go out like a gentle lamb?
That's what I'd like to know.

Teacher Molly Says:

Derivative. Lazy. Cute... but lazy. 


Look For The Pussy Willow

Look for the pussy willow
The earliest sign of spring
Look for the pussy willow
Before the robins sing
Look for the pussy willow
With fur so soft and gray
If you find a pussy willow
Then spring is on the way

Teacher Molly Says:

You copied this off that mimeographed worksheet up there, you sneaky child!


Cheer Up

Today I saw a robin
He winked his eye at me
He said, "Cheer up -- spring's coming
Just you wait and see."
I said, "We'll have more winter
But I'll tell you what I'll do
Come singing at my window
And I'll throw crumbs to you."

Teacher Molly Says:

KEEP your crumbs, you foolish boy. SPRING IS COMING!


Two Robins

One robin does not make a spring
But I saw two today

Teacher Molly Says:

Oh my, an unfinished poem! I mean, I assume it's unfinished, because there's only two lines. That's either sheer genius or total laziness.


Purple-inked worksheet to the rescue!

(I assume a teacher wrote this for the kids to copy.)

Two Robins

One robin does not make a spring
But I saw two today
And now I'll look for other signs
That spring is on its way,
Violets and daffodils
And tulips flaming red,
And in the country, farmers work
Putting seeds to bed.


Annnd that's it. Like many of the scrapbooks I run across, this one's only filled halfway. We'll never know if Spring eventually did arrive in 1967, not to mention summer. I mean, I'm assuming it did, but if this kid didn't write a poem about it, did it really happen?

* * *

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