Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Unique Thrift




Last week I introduced blog readers to the 50-word challenge—today’s blog has to do with Hippocampus. The hippocampus is the area of the brain where long-term memories reside. If you can’t recall a name on the tip of your tongue, blame your hippocampus. Hippocampus Magazine is an exclusively online publication dedicated to creative nonfiction. Each month it publishes 8-10 new CNF pieces: essays or memoir excerpts from established and emerging writers.

A few years back I really enjoyed reading a winning essay by Jim Gray entitled Sweating the Sweater about a dad thrift store shopping with his daughter. This piece really resonated with me because 1) I shop Unique Thrift and had no idea it was a chain. I thought it was just in Chicago. Come to find Unique isn’t quite so unique. 2) I have a daughter and probably once a week for the first 20 years of her life we went to Unique. That’s all we had to say, Unique. It was a noun and a verb. Shopping together hasn’t been all fun. She and I have argued at Unique. She’s broken up with friends while at Unique. I’ve lost her at Unique, searching over the tops of the racks for her, only to find her hiding between columns of clothes. Nine tenths of my wardrobe is from Unique.

Until recently, that is.

For about the last 24 months Unique has been undergoing a transformation from thrift to boutique. Unique is no longer the Unique of the past. It’s gotten pricey and way more selective. No more packed rows of red, green, blue, brown sweaters, skirts, etc. Probably the internet is putting it out of business. I mean I couldn’t ignore all the hipster shoppers filling up their shopping carts with vintage and name-brand items in order to re-sell them at their shop in Lincoln Park.

It’s the end of an era. Our place is no more. And it’s a little sad. Every time I pass Unique on my way to Salvation Army I long for the old days, for those smelly crowded aisles with clothing scattered everywhere and a book in with the shoes. On Mondays I could get a 1000 piece puzzle for 25 cents. Albeit it was likely only 998 pieces but so what!

So I searched my hippocampus and Google for Jim’s essay. Why not submit your own CNF essay to the Hippo--
there were days my fingertips were raw from pulling out staples from the clothes I got at Unique

1 comment:

Donna said...

Thanks for sharing your memory of reading Jim Gray's essay; that was a nice throwback. And, also, thank you for adding your own thrifting memory by way of this blog post! - Donna from Hippocampus.