It’s always more fun to go picking with a partner and my oldest daughter, now 21, is proving to be a good one! She has enthusiasm for the hunt and an eye for interesting things.

On a recent trip to Pacific Grove, CA, we tried our luck at one antique store, two vintage clothing stores and three thrift stores.

The antique store (Holman Antique Plaza) is a huge, rambling building with many dealers. Sale signs abounded that week and I was confident I could find something, but after 30 minutes, my two daughters let me know they were ready to leave whenever I was, so I said, “Let’s go now and I’ll come back tomorrow on my own.” Alas, I never got around to it. Nuts!

Now the thrift stores…well, sometimes I don’t know why I bother going to thrift stores. Without fail, the merchandise tends to be newer, cheaply made or tired. Sometimes all three! The few nicer vintage things tend to be tucked in display cabinets and marked with retail prices. Not that I begrudge the charity making some money on them, it’s just for my purposes not much help. But I go because I think someday I’m going to find that undervalued and overlooked treasure…which is what every picker who wanders in hopes!


No treasures here! Photo by Daniel Oines,

But in one of the vintage clothing stores, my daughter found something. Something that made her heart pitter patter…an embroidered silk piano shawl from the 1920s. She arranged it around her shoulders, looked in the mirror and sighed contentedly. It was a beauty and in amazing condition. But at $265, well beyond her college-student budget. She sadly left it behind.

shawl3As we walked back to the Inn, I suggested she look on eBay for less expensive options and she did as soon as we got back. Surprise of surprises, all the comparable shawls were priced even higher. Some in the $400-$600s! She looked dejected and then I had a brilliant idea…this shawl would be a perfect graduation gift for her! When I told her my idea later that night, she nearly fainted with joy.

The next morning we went back to the store (Reincarnation Vintage Clothing, by the way, and so worth a visit) and looked it over again. I told the shop owner my intention to buy it and she said, “Let me see what the best price is” and she looked it up in a notebook and dropped the price $40. SOLD. (I also found a gift for a girlfriend’s birthday…but that’s all I can say about it!)

To say that my daughter is OVERJOYED owning this shawl is not overstating it. She LOVES it. And it’s an heirloom that I know she’ll have the rest of her life and it will remind her of our wonderful trip.

It still was a lot of money, but in a way, priceless.

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