Last weekend, this blogger drove his son back to college. The drive, including our favorite lunch stop at Dairy Queen, brought back a flood of memories. Some of those memories included his first day at kindergarten, his first bicycle ride, birthday parties (um-mm! those ice cream cakes!), and his trophy and ribbon-winning days in speech and debate at .
Still feeling nostalgic and sad on his drive back, this blogger spied the billboard for "St Mary's Antique Mall". He followed a winding and roller coaster no-passing road for six miles off I-55. Slowing down, he drove into St Mary, MO, population 377, founded in 1848. The old buildings (some about to fall down) and trailers (about to fall off their limestone ledges) were settled by the French and their descendants above the wide Mississippi River Valley. The antique mall itself is a large, sturdy brick warehouse. Two old crones sat smoking on a bench outside of it.
Inside, this blogger was warmly greeted by Josie. She explained that the mall opened after "The Great Flood of 1993". Whether the mall opened here because of the high ground or because herein were treasures saved from the flood was unclear. The space consists of four long aisles, with furniture displayed in its own space along the back wall, and about two dozen locked cases. With 77,000 square feet and over 600 dealers, this is one of the larger antique malls between St Louis and Memphis, TN.
Many of the dealers arranged their wares by theme. For example, one booth was dedicated to baseball memorabilia and another to kitchen wares, especially "Pyrex (TM)" casserole dishes with lids. A set of red, yellow, green, blue ceramic mixing bowls (remember when grandma used them to mix up cake batter?) nested inside each other with a price of $68.00.
Containing as many cast-off items as merchandise in an average-sized grocery store, each and every item had a booth number and price tag on a string, taped to the item. Most items also had a short description, like "photo of a woman, walnut frame, concave glass" or "swam planter, made in Japan, old". Very logical and efficient at check-out time!
Two years ago, the blogger's daughter scoured the antique shops and estate sales in St Louis to buy "rooster and hen salt and pepper shakers". She could not find any. Obviously she had not gone to this antiques mall or she would have found flocks of them!
This blogger saw many items from his childhood and many objects that had been "tossed out" of his deceased grandmother's house. One was a hard plastic ducky that was not only a rattle, but a floating bathtub toy---for $4.00! With Valentine's Day fast approaching, he purchased several Ruby Red Glassware pieces to add to his collection at 1/2 the prices in St Louis. He also examined a ten inch red and green jasper lingham for $48.00; however, it was glued to its cherry wood base, making it essentially worthless.
So for pure nostalgia or a good price on collectibles, drive down I-55 to St Genevieve County. Just off the road, you will find St Mary's Antique Mall. It is open 10:00a.m.-6:00p.m. daily and well worth the trip.