At the end of South and West, Joan Didion writes, “The particular flat expanse of the Central Valley comforts my eye…I am easy here in a way that I am not easy in other places.”
The Central Valley is known for being somewhat flat and beige — some might even say dull and bland. But I think I’m starting to understand what Didion means by feeling easy around here. My disposition is naturally quiet and my mind meandering, and I feel like it’s easy to embrace both my solitude and curiosity around these areas. There are so many stories yet to be uncovered in this quaint land of gas stations and tire shops, if only you allow yourself to be receptive to them.
This past year, I’ve gotten into the habit of wandering around my sleepy commuter city’s Main Street to find local gems — a cursory scroll through Yelp usually won’t do you much good in these parts. After visiting the dentist last week, I picked up a generous serving of fish and chips from Iron Horse Deli, a hole-in-the-wall eatery downtown with a charming outdoor seating area. Located right next to it are the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and a modest scrubs store called Fashion Health Care Apparel. While indulging in what was dubbed “the best fish and chips in town,” I noticed a few secondhand knick-knacks displayed outside of the scrubs store, which, naturally, piqued my curiosity.
Discovering Cinderella Goes Thrifting
I hit up Fashion Health Care Apparel a few days later, right before the New Year. The front of the store is packed with scrubs and other clothing items, but it’s the back of the store that turned me into a dog with two tails! Up a few steps in the back area of the store are racks upon racks of clothing — mostly occasion dresses, but lots of costumes, everyday wear, and accessories, too.
Admittedly, I haven’t been in a clothes-buying mood lately. Still, the store offered plenty to keep me digging around. To my surprise, the clothing area was simply one part of the gargantuan labyrinth that was the back area. To be honest, I even got lost a few times. I probably bumped into three or four rooms filled floor to ceiling with my idea of a good time: knick-knacks! Think books, wall art, cups, decorative dishes, lamps, and tchotchkes of all stripes and colors. It was really overstimulating in the best possible way.
And, to my luck, there were plenty of bird and dog decor pieces!
There was even a cold, dark room packed to the brim with dolls. That’s not a bunch of Annabelle dolls, right?
Frankly, I’m not even sure if the store is called Cinderella Goes Thrifting. However, I spotted a few pink paper signs that read “Cinderella Goes Thrifting,” so we’ll call it this for now. In any case, I’m happy to have discovered another Central Valley thrift store! The prices were higher than your typical Goodwill, but I still found them fairly reasonable for vintage pieces.
My mini thrift haul
I left with a wall art piece of Audrey Hepburn walking two poodles and a bone china dog cup. The lovely shopkeeper even knocked off a few bucks for me — score! (Side note: Apparently Audrey Hepburn was a huge dog person! Learning this fun fact made me dig further into her filmography, and can I just say that she’s excellent in Wait Until Dark?)
I am so excited to come back, but I’ll probably have a thrifting game plan the next time around.