I decided to pull off & visit some antique stores after my final training on Wednesday. I was in Wabash, IN & I passed the most beautiful store front. It was an old drug store on a corner lot. I knew it used to be a drug store because the huge stain glass windows declared it. Lovely glass that wrapped the entire store front. The letters were spelled in shades of bottle green. Old chairs & school desks were lined out front. And two old men were holding up the door frame chatting about some town gossip. I walked up to Jack's Antiques & knew I'd either be out quickly or I'd be inside the shop for hours. Jack, I'm assuming it was Jack, told me I had 4 levels of antiques to sift through. And the floor right above me was home to over a million records. He bid me good-bye & off I went.
I had to be careful because this wasn't the normal antique store. There weren't booths or carefully designed rooms that I'm used to from the dozens of stores I visited in the past. But there were broken tables & bookcases holding everything from napkins to coffee cups. Memorial plates to license plates. Halloween decorations to tattered Santas. Nothing had a price on it & everything was seconds away from turning to dust. I saw a sign pointing to the basement & decided to skip that level. Quite frankly, I was frightened. The basement was dark & moldy looking. But then I saw the handwritten sign pointing upstairs to the records.
I took the stairs with extreme care. Some of the steps felt soft, but I had old movie posters to keep my attention. Amadeus, Fox & the Hound, & Love Me Tender called me up those stairs. When I cleared the landing, I saw more records than I ever could have imagined. Some in sleeves & others were just piled up. Big ones & little ones. Not alphabetized, just stacked all over the place. This building that housed millions of "antiques" was also clearly an antique. I counted three baby pools full of brown & stale rain water. I lost count of the number of trash cans with the same type of water. The walls were damaged by years of leakage. Plasters had crumbled away to the studs. The vinyl floors were peeling up in spots. I knew I had to take some pictures to remember this place, but I was still a little frightened. I figured Jack wasn't making the climb. I'm in my mid-thirties & had a dangerous trip. But what if Jack had a son? I kept thinking some crazed man that had never seen a CD let alone an iPod lived in one of the rooms. I kept thinking he was going to be pissed at me for taking pictures. Pissed because this thing I wore around my neck was going to steal the souls of his records. I was afraid I'd get trapped in one of the rooms. Afraid that the floor would buckle beneath me. Afraid the years of dust & mold would coat my skin & send me home with some mysterious disease. Afraid that this imaginary crazed son would corner me in a room & I'd have no choice but to become his wife: the Future Queen of Vinyl. So I took 5 pictures, finished my exploration, & got the hell out.
Jack was extremely sweet & pleasant. He told me that people are always coming in to sell things. They bring him junk. He turns away more & more people each week. He told me to be safe if I ever came back to Wabash & used their bike trails. I guess I look like the kind of woman that rides a bike, because I never mentioned riding a bike. I would have taken his picture, but a stray dog was walking in the street. And Jack did everything he could to save it. Before the dog took his attention, I told him I have friends that love records & he said for me to tell them about his place.
You've been told.