Thrift Shop

cropped photo of vintage shopping, me and Augie

     Shopping for vintage clothes was for me something of an art.

Or maybe a sport.  I had a little talent for it.  When I was a teenager, I almost exclusively wore antique (what we called it then) dresses.  Shirts and coats as well.  The only vintage pants I remember buying were those old high-waisted navy sailor pants.  Those were so friggin’ bitchin.   But they were made of wool and itchy.  I was all about the look though, and an itch I could tolerate for the look.

When I started driving, I would head out to a favorite store on Wilshire in that strange hood just before Santa Monica, near Barrington.  The Junk Store.  A semi-nasty person owned the place and when I tried to purchase my first item there — a black velvet 1940’s coat with big padded shoulders and white, sorry to say, elephant ivory buttons — I was told to go straight home and get a written note from my parents.    A lot of parents were coming in complaining about and returning their kids’ purchases.  I thought, “WHAT?  My mother loves my style and everything I buy and wear.  I also make my own money and it’s not my parents’ business.”  But I went along with it, and I’m such a goody-goody that I brought back a legitimate note.  I could have gone outside and written my own.  I’m slow.  Everyone went to The Junk Store for the must-have ski sweater and the patchwork quilts.

The itchy-must-have-navy-pants we once wore

The itchy-must-have-navy-pants we once wore

Another huge favorite was in Isla Vista, up in Santa Barbara, a store called Yellowstone.  Nearby was my favorite I-think-I’m-eating-health-food restaurant, where I would order brown rice with vegetables, completely smothered in jack cheese — long before I had heard of cholesterol.  You would eat outdoors with all the other hippies attending UCSB.  I was just a groupie, hanging out up there for the hot boys.  And I did have a real boyfriend who went there.  The boyfriend would sometimes splurge — he had amazing taste — and buy me expensive vintage dresses at a North Beverly Drive store in Beverly Hills.  It was next to the pet store, just a few stores away from the old Morley Drugstore on the corner.  And right near that was Ah Fong’s, the one that I loved before it moved closer to Nate n’ Al’s.  Remember?  The Beverly Hills that had charm.  And small businesses like antique clothing stores.

Vintage ski sweater similar to the one I had

Vintage ski sweater similar to the one I had

And then there was Sylvia’s — a small, only-in-the-know, vintage clothing store in a seedy section of Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica that mostly remains unchanged.   Only my favorite store hasn’t been there in decades.  The owner – Sylvia, I assume — would head to all the swap meets on weekends, where she did the buying for her store.   On Monday, she would add it to the stock and jack up the price, but only a little, then on Tuesday mornings at 8:00 AM sharp, you stood in line with all the other vintage-shopping junkies.  Once in, it was every man for himself.  It got so fuckin’ nasty.  There were fights.  Full on Dynasty-type chick fights.  Even I was sometimes in the middle of a brawl.  But I fought fair.  I would simply demand that the person who just pulled something wonderful and unique straight out of my arms, return it.  NOW!!!!!  I learned how to navigate her store and which racks to head to first.  I would scoop up Hawaiian shirts for my boyfriend or 1930’s and 40’s dresses for myself.  Everything was under $20 dollars.  I kind of kept it on the down low.   I was a dedicated customer, rarely missing a Tuesday.

One thing that was no secret was the MGM auction.  They were having a huge public sale and ridding themselves of old stock.  You could buy tons of brilliant antique clothes, some worn in movies, some never worn.  I scored big time.

Today, my daughter is the vintage shopping whore.  Did I just call my daughter a ho?  She wears all of my vintage clothes (the ones that weren’t really vintage when I purchased them or that I’d had hand sewn, my hippie clothes).  She buys her own at her favorite place to shop for vintage in Topanga Canyon, called Hidden Treasures.  And she sells and buys from places like Wasteland.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  She will always pick up an extra shirt for her boyfriend.

A favorite place to eat back in the shopping at Sylvia’s in Venice days– was a crepe place on Lincoln and Pico called Chez Puce.  People are still talking about this wonderful little creperie.  I don’t have any of their recipes but I will share mine for dessert crepes.  I found the recipe in a book I bought years ago at the Malibu Getty Museum.

Crepes Suzette (or you could just use Nutella)

2 Cups Flour

2 Whole eggs and 3 yolks

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

2 Cups Cold Milk

2 Teaspoons Orange Flower Water (don’t worry about adding if you can’t locate)

1/4 Cup Melted Butter

To Prepare the batter:  Sift the flour into an earthenware bowl.  Make a well in the center and drop in the eggs, yolks, salt and cold milk.  Beat with a wire whisk until batter is completely smooth.  Continue beating adding the melted butter.  Stir in the Orange Flower Water and let rest for 2 or 3 hours.  I let it rest 30 minutes.  For slightly puffed crepes, fold in 2 egg whites beaten until firm before cooking.

To Cook: 3 1/2 Tablespoons Butter 4 Tablespoons sugar 2 Tablespoons grated Orange Rinds

In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and orange rind.  Spread a small amount of this cream (about one teaspoon per crepe) on one half of each crepe.  Fold in half, garnish with raspberries (if you want) and serve.  Or if you are doing Nutella, forget the Orange Rind.


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8 Responses to “Thrift Shop”

  1. Hoov says:

    Navy pants !! You put a huge smile on this face. Great write!

  2. kimberly clark says:

    You kept Sylvia’s on the down-low even from me????? Bitch! But a good read Fred, love your stories.

  3. pauli says:

    Love that you went home and got a note. I would add a bit of Grand Marnier to those crepes.

  4. tracy says:

    Just the best…!!!
    Like a Robert plant or Robyn Thicke video…
    Love the writing …
    You are a master weaver of tales Fredde…
    You and Augie are a delightful duo…

  5. eileent says:

    Great story, but my favoirtie is the dancing video with Augie!!!! Loved it 🙂

  6. Carol Dudley says:

    Cannot remember the vintage store on Beverly Drive at all – look what I missed!!! Isla Vista – now thats a place I know pretty well – It use to be a hide out for Booze runners during prohibition – it still isn’t easy to find – well there is another POSH sale at the Lighthouse in September – let me know what you are looking for – unfortunately quality is losing to Gap and Banana Republic – Love your Posts miss F =

  7. Wow!!! You are so hip it’s crazy! Crazy Cool!! Another super fun glimpse into the layered cake that is Fredde Duke. Great video too, btw. You’re whole clan wreaks of talent. Well played!!

  8. Debi says:

    Talent in abundance, both in mama and babe although its hard to tell who is who you are both so damn cute!! Loved the story, you are a weaver of words and memories that delight and enthrall your devoted readers!!

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