Marketplace of Identities

Some people are fascinated by what we buy. I’m fascinated by what we give away. If our clothes and the objects with which we surround ourselves “make a statement,” as the HGTV and Lifetime networks would have us believe, then what we shed says something about who we are *not* (or *think* we are not).

A great thrift store, like Sister Thrift, is a marketplace of identities. When I’m finished being patriotic and you’re finished being pious, I can trade my flag for your Lady of Sorrows statue. Whenever I walk the aisles at Sister Thrift, I find myself thinking about identity — my own and that of the people whose former possessions surround me. Yeah, it’s just “stuff.” But it’s fascinating stuff, and every polka-dot salt & pepper shaker set, every cast off wedding dress, every wall hanging identified a unique and sacred life, at least for a season.

I’d love to interview people as they bring bags of things to Sister Thrift. “Why are you giving that up?” “Who did you want to be when you wore that?” “Tell me the story behind this.” I wonder what you’ve cast off recently and why.

each shelf a meditation at Sister Thrift


About amymccreath

I'm a pastor and mother who loves to make connections between people, between ideas, and between stuff we label "sacred" and "secular." I aspire to be like a Cedar of Lebanon in the midst of the changes and chances of life, but like most folks, generally find that I can really only navigate the tumult hand in hand with others. Good coffee helps, too.
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3 Responses to Marketplace of Identities

  1. mompriest says:

    to prepare for my recent move I donated a lot to the local charity resale shop. I also made the decision to try and buy as much gently used clothing/furniture as possible – from a shop where the proceeds support a battered women’s shelter.

    It would be interesting to interview folks bringing things in….or to find out what they are buying and why.

  2. Emily says:

    Have I mentioned that I love that you’re blogging?

    In our “give to good will” stack right now: one of the (many) plaques with wedding poetry we were given when we got married. We kept the one my cousin embroidered with our names and date, and the one my friends from the Peace Corps had personalized, but I’m hopeful the generic one from my Grandmother will find a more appreciative home. I also feel like a semi-horrible Granddaughter. So, I guess it’s the identify of the good and appreciative-for-all-things Granddaughter that’s being given away.

  3. Barbara Michael says:

    Thanks for the reminder…I told myself when I picked up a new pair of comfy shoes and a cozy jacket yesterday, that I would get yet another bag ready for Goodwill. My former treasures are anything from clothes to prints to Judy’s gadgets of which we often had three or four. :o)

    Miss you, Amy.

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