When Molly and I owned the shop in NY - I say that so often it sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale - there was always the person who would come in and ask "who's your source for old flowers?" or "where do you get the old French ticking from?" Now sometimes, it was innocent enough and they really just wanted to know - where do we get it generally - not specifically. And that's an ok question - I ask my dealers all the time - where did you get this?? I don't necessarily want to know exactly who they bought it from, just where in the world did you find this bag of 19th century glass leaves on wire???
On Saturday at our book signing, a woman came in and once we had established that we were both diggers, she started telling me about her old sources! This only happens once in a great while - and when it does - I have to turn my memory function on to high gear and start remembering every detail. This was how it went: "Have you ever been to that amazing old dealer near Broadway on the 5th floor?" Me: "No, Broadway in Los Angeles or New York?" "Los Angeles - all of the best places to dig for old glass and millinery are in Los Angeles!" Me: "Where?" "Everywhere - just walk downtown - go into the place kitty corner from Wall Street and then cut through the alley over to Santee - you'll find amazing old stuff" Me: "Ok - where, exactly?" "Oh I can't remember exactly - just all over. I used to find turn of the century hand-stamped brass animal faces from France down on Wall Street - just near Flower"
And on and on it went like this, till I finally pulled out pen and paper and just started writing down the random thoughts and familiar names. It sounded like a wild goose chase to me, but one I am willing to take. So in the next couple of days, I'll don my old jeans, rubber gloves and maybe even a mask - and go digging! I can't resist the thrill of the hunt.