“Everybody’s talkin’ about the Brass Armadillo,” that irritating jingle used to play between every single commercial on every local channel for the longest time. I heard it so often that I ceased to hear it. Then, the commercials seemed to stop, I hadn’t seen nor heard one in the longest time, so when Pa suggested we go there after the Botanical Center, I was eager to see what everybody was talking about, as I had never gone.
My interest in antiques is a surprisingly new thing for me. I have always loved history and trinkets from the past, but I never put it together in my head that I could go buy them. My family went to Stillwater, Minnesota, late last year which has a different antique shop every few feet and I feel in love with antiquing, it was wonderful to browse the aisles and ponder the items available for sale. My favorite thing to do was scour the shop for things that I already had to see how much these things were worth. I found a sewing machine, stoneware crocks, dishes, and even a toy gun that I had for some reason. It was neat to see that people still wanted these things, and were willing to pay large sums of money for them. It made me see the things in my home in a new light, each thing had a dollar sign attached to it.
Anyway, back to the Brass Armadillo. The building was large, not really imposing, rather uninteresting, just a large metallic building. I stared at the sign with a bit of confusion. What is the name all about? Brass Armadillo? All afternoon, I looked for a brass armadillo, for a written explanation, but I never found any.
When we went inside I was immediately impressed and overwhelmed by the sheer size and enormous inventory of the store. I won’t bore you with the details, but just describe some of the things that I particularly loved.
The first thing that I wanted was a set of Victorian era plates which had horrible things on them. They all revolved around this woman in perilous situations. One showed her praying and seeing a ghost with the caption reading, “She is disturbed by an image which appears to be herself.” Others were about an impending miscarriage, a murderer at a party, her husband not believing a story she told her, one about great social embarrassment. They were each priced at $99, so I was unable to have them. I see them being one of the items that I regret not buying for the rest of my life, but I couldn’t help not being able to afford it.
Next, I came across a horribly racist get well card that I found endlessly hilarious. It depicted a slave woman saying “Is yo’ sick, honey?” Then below that, unfortunately obscured by a price tag, was written something like, “I’m a going to send you some voodoo to get that illness out of you.” It was terrible really, but then the pièce de résistance, was a little depiction of a coin on the very top called a Lucky Penny. There is nothing that splendid about this, but in the very center of the penny was a swastika. It was simply the most hilariously offensive thing I’ve ever seen. A slave woman giving a swastika-clad coin to a person cursed by voodoo. It was awesome, but sadly $75.
Another delightful find, and something Pa and I are endlessly fascinated by, was a picture of a dead woman in a casket. In antique stores there are always a few pictures of dead people at their funeral, or a picture of all the flowers at the funeral. It is a strange and macabre thing, keeping a picture of the dead, yet somehow sweet. I don’t think I’d like to have a photo of my dead family members in an album. But, these images are always so interesting. I’d like to get one for Pa as a gift once.
There were many other marvelous things that I would be pleased to have, china cabinets, oval frames, beautiful mirrors, odd tables, massive and ornately carved headboards. I could have easily spent thousands of dollars and not had a regret, but sadly, at the time being, I’m poor, so, I’ll have to put my antique shopping spree on hold for the time being.
Lastly, here’s a picture of my dog, Shadow. He has nothing to do with antiques, but I like this picture of him. He hasn’t been feeling his best lately, but I think he’s feeling better now. He loves his cupcake sweater.