Maybe it's because I watched Beauty and the Beast too many times as a kid (okay, and an adult) but I have this obsession with candelabras. I have several that hold one candle each—most of those I got from my grandparents, garage sales, and the like. This is my favourite candelabra by far: it holds three candles, it's perfectly tarnished, and it comes with a great story.
Have you ever passed the place on Bathurst just south of Dupont on the east side of the street? It looks like an old junk shop that hasn't been open in years, and technically that's the truth. The old sign still remains, "Moore's Pharmacy," (ed note: although now I think it's being covered up??) and no other name for the store is visible. When Amanda and I lived together, right near Bathurst and Dupont, we would stake out this place and gaze in the windows. It was never open, even though we walked by on different times each day. We did notice, however, that the buildup of mail would be picked up once in a while, and the display in the windows would be slightly altered.
It was a rainy Wednesday night when I got a text from Amanda, in ALL CAPS, telling me that the store was open. She had gone in and looked around, she said, and it was fantastic in there. I hopped on a bus to get there—it might be my only chance!—and forced Dan to come with me. But what we found in the store was not exactly what I had been expecting.
The door was slightly ajar, and we walked in and looked around. Stuff was piled up everywhere, and the only walking space was little aisles made in between the rows upon rows of junk. I say junk not in a condescending way—my mind was racing and I couldn't believe my luck. Who knows what treasures could be buried in this shop! I called out a tentative hello, and from behind one of the piles popped the head of an old man. Little did I know that I would be listening to him talk (and acting as a mannequin for his old clothes) for the next 45 minutes.
I was super curious about the history of the shop, which he said he had owned for many years but had let slide in the past few: he had a sister and a mother who had been ill. He was opening up every Wednesday evening, and hoped to start regular hours again soon. He said he worked in the fashion industry as a young man, and his passion for the clothes in his shop certainly showed: he had no problem getting in my personal space to lay across my shoulders fur stoles, bejewelled vests, and silk scarves. This guy was getting really into my personal space. I couldn't tell whether he was a practiced old-time fashionista or a creepy old dude. Dan looked on in horror.
Every piece in the store had its own history and meaning to owner. Many of the items, especially those in the front window, were pieces that he was not ready to part with. I made it out of there with this candelabra and a black silk T shirt that I was too scared to try on. I feel like I paid for the item less with my hard-earned money than I did with my time and patience.
I don't mean to knock the store—it was certainly an experience that I will never forget, and I really do wish him all the best. An old man in a junk store sounds kind of like a kindred spirit, but this guy was operating on his own level. I probably won't go back, but I would suggest to anyone interested to check out the store for themselves. But some advice: if you're going in, make sure you have lots of time, and don't mind being fondled.