Sunday, March 19, 2006

An Enchanting Brooklyn Flea Market

Where I last left off in this diary of mine I was falling in love with George and I guess that's why I wasn't writing here. George and I kept each other busy. I still haven't heard from him but am sure that I will.

I just thought that my adventure was coming to an end two years ago when I was falling behind in all of my bills and couldn't seem to find a job. I wasn't sure what I was going to do but Louise had some ideas. She said that one thing she'd learned was that anytime you give up in life you always wind up worse off and that that wasn't for me. So early one Saturday morning Louise was banging on my door, "Gracie. Up, up, up!" I was only awake seconds and there was that big beautiful Louise standing over me saying that she had somewhere to take me and that I had to hurry and get ready. Her makeup was on thick as usual and she even had put on a few beauty marks that I'd never seen before. I asked what the rush was all about and she told me that she had a car service waiting outside to take us to the flea market. She had fire in her eyes and I thought that I'd better get moving because I could see her determination and excitement. I quickly washed up and we were out the door.
The driver was an elderly man and apparently very familiar with Louise because on the way there he was teasing her about something she'd done one night in the neighborhood bar. Louise was feeling kind of good that night and she sat on the bar and sang some old tune for the regulars something about smoke getting in her eyes.
When we arrived at the flea market I was astonished by the vibrant colors that were everywhere. The merchandise was overflowing the tables and each table had one or two people behind it. It was amazing to me to see this incredible place right smack in the middle of a little Brooklyn neighborhood. They call the area Park Slope. It's the area where I met that man at Starbucks. Anyway, Louise took me around to all the dealers and introduces me to each of them and then she brought me over to the manager, Fred and said to Fred that this was the girl that she was talking about. Fred stopped and looked me over very carefully and then said "Okay." He then brought us over to a corner of the market and said "This is your spot." Louise shrieked with joy, "Gracie honey, you've got a spot at the flea market!" She was nearly dancing with delight. Fred said that he'd see me tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. and went back about his business. I really needed a coffee then. I couldn't imagine what Louise was thinking. What was I going to sell? Louise had it all figured out. We headed over to Starbuck's and took our coffee to the porch in the back. Louise looked deeply into my eyes and told me that we were now partners and that the next morning we'd set up at the market and sell the things that she'd collected in the building's basement over the last forty years.
Later that morning we went into the building's basemet and uncovered years of collecting. Everything was covered in dust and there were hundreds of boxes brimming with stuff. She chose three large boxes marked "Mrs. Jacobs jewelry, 1959," "We'll start with these, Gracie" The boxes were old fashioned hat boxes and each were filled with jewelry to the top. There were hundreds of pins, earring sets, necklaces and bracelets. They were stunning pieces but looked like they needed some cleaning. Louise said that we'd sell them just the way they were and the people at the flea market wouldn't want it any other way.
The following morning the old gentleman from the day before loaded up his car with our boxes, an old card table, two chairs and a picnic basket that Louise had filled with goodies. It was one of the most interesting days I've ever had. The jewelry flew off the table and Louise was alive with the thrill of bargaining. She made sure that nobody got too good a deal. She was very funny and had most of the customers laughing with her stories. At the end of the day she counted up the money and put a wad of bills in her bra. Then she turned to me and handed me four one hundred dollar bills. I told her that I couldn't take it and she grabbed my hands and told me again that we were partners and that partners share. She embraced me and I couldn't control myself and started to cry. Here was one of the strangest women that I'd ever met whose embrace and kindness could always bring me to tears. I love Louise and she loves me. These last two years we've been selling at the flea market we haven't made a dent in the basement but I've made some good friends and found that the real treasure in my life is this woman, Louise.

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