About a bag

Allen and I have been hunkered down enjoying snow for a few days — and it looks set to continue. So watching Alene go about her business on a summery Saturday in Seattle gave me plenty of things to report to Allen.

It was definitely a day to wear a hat! And shade was at a premium today. You know how cats will lounge in a square foot of sunlit carpet in the winter? Seattleites were doing the same with shaded spots today. The alternative is to keep moving. Alene went for quite a long walk in the middle of the day and was comfortable in hat and sunglasses and silk shirt — even in the sunshine. But waiting for the lights to change to cross the street at a major intersection was very uncomfortable — so the idea of sitting in the direct sun for any length of time seemed crazy — which is why not many folks were doing it!

I mentioned in the last post that Alene was pretty sure she was done with shopping for summer. But that was until she was about to head out this morning. Skirt, shirt, shoes, hat — all looked great! But then she put on her cross-body bag — a rather large black bag — and it looked so totally wrong that we knew Alene needed to look for a new bag while she was out.

Naturally, she started with the thrift stores — but struck out. Then she tried all the cute boutiques — and found nothing practical. So I suggested coffee and a snack — and then a walk through the West Seattle Antiques Mall. Actually, it was Allen’s idea. And there was always the possibility of finding a bag to buy!

If you ever find yourself at the Junction in West Seattle, you simply must walk through the Antiques Mall — because it’s rather hard to do it justice with the written word. I went through it shortly after we arrived in Seattle in 2001 and I was curious to see what Alene’s reaction would be. When she walked through the next day, I watched to see what would grab her eye — and was the exact same thing that had stopped me in my tracks.

In a cluttered corner was a child’s rocking chair. And placed on that rocking chair was a Raggedy Ann doll. In a toy store, it would have just looked like an obvious piece of unimaginative merchandising. But in that antiques mall — it was downright creepy — because it seemed that it had only just stopped rocking — and you almost imagined you had heard a child screaming.

On a very quiet day, some corners of the mall are creepy quiet — and it feels like no one has ventured there in years. In the basement you might find tinny sounds emanating from a bakelite radio that was turned on in 1972 and has been playing non-stop ever since. Then you notice a faded handwritten note next to a bell — “Please ring for assistance” — and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up — and you expect to turn around and find yourself facing a young Christopher Lee.

Well, on a sunny Saturday in June, there are plenty of patrons and a sense of normalcy. But there was one corner that gave Alene cause to pause — a shelf with a collection of telephones — mainly 1980s/1990s models, but a few older than that. It sounded like one of the phones was ringing — ever so quietly — but definitely ringing. I told Allen — and he actually put down his book and waited to hear more. Alene stood there for a minute or so and looked around. Then she identified the source of the ringing — another shelf rather crammed with glassware. An intermittent vibration coming from somewhere was causing two wineglasses to ring against each other. Allen said that was a sign she should leave — so I passed it along — and she went to the grocery store.

However, on the way to grocery store, she passed a shop that she had overlooked in her search for a bag — and found the perfect bag there!


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