when i was a little girl my grandma used to take me to the salvation army with her. i never really understood what she was looking for, but i liked the way it felt in there. like being in someone's house, full of their worn-in things. it's warmer in there than it is in other stores and it smells funny and it's full of treasure. every time we went in, i hoped there would be a sparkling sequined dress or something, for me. the last time i remember going in there with her, i was probably 12 or 13 and knew about vintage and wanted to find something really amazing so i could casually say i bought it at the salvation army with my grandma, but i didn't find anything memorable.
when i was in high school my favorite store was a resale shop in the basement of a retirement home. it was a thrift store for the things the (rather well off) retirees didn't need or want anymore. it was a very happy place for me. i bought some things there that i still own; a pillowcase with a lavender kitten on it, a vintage hardy boys game board. the last time i stopped in clark was a baby and i wore or carried him down to that basement, i don't remember which, but i do remember that it was a struggle down the stairs and that i got a lot of funny looks and i didn't find anything memorable.
now i have my own favorite salvation army, and i go there, a lot. i got to take my grandma in once. i knew how much she'd like it, and she did. we were in there for a long time and we bought christmas things. i know this place might eventually fade away from my life, but for now it feels like sparkles and treasure and being with my grandma. it's warm and smells funny in a cozy-to-me way. alice and i always check for sparkly dresses in her size and sometimes they have one, and we buy it.