Now, She Understands Me-The Story of the Family Levis

Jun 24, 2017

I have had a special affection for antique, old and used things my whole life. I have also always loved rocks & minerals and of course, horses. 

It's funny how some interests just stay with you for your entire life, never wavering...sometimes changing form or style, but always there. 

I started going to weekend outdoor swap meets with my dad when I was about 8. I collected Breyer horses and Nancy Drew books. Remember Nancy? I would get my hands on a book that I didn't have yet and would read until that book was finished even if it meant reading with a flashlight under my covers at night so that I would not get in trouble for having my light on when I was supposed to be asleep. 

I remember getting so excited if I found an earlier book that was printed in the 1940s for this was the late 1960s and the 1940s was old! I loved the smell of old things even then. I would receive a crisp new one for a birthday or such, but the treasure hunt and the thrill of finding an old one was much more interesting to me. The big plus as a kid was that if I bought old books, less trees had to die to make paper, right? 

I still have all of my Nancy Drew books from my childhood. I saved them for my imaginary daughter to have some day for I knew that she would love them as much as I did. (Years later when I had my daughter, I proudly introduced her to them. She had no interest in them at all) It was the same with the Breyer horses though she displayed them in her room to please me. 

My daughter grew up in a home filled with used and antique things. The furniture, the decorations  and even many of the dishes in the kitchen were collected antiques; all mismatched patterns that somehow look great together, in my eyes anyway. 

There are antique tin horse cookie cutters on the kitchen wall, an old squeaky table in the dining room with chairs that are not a matched set. There is a case filled with fossils, rocks and gems and another filled with antique teddy bears. And, there are horses everywhere. I love wooden folk art horses and I have collected them during my travels and road trips for years. My daughter would prefer one thing on a table. She hates the dust and the things that don't match. Why do we need 10 of them? Isn't one enough? 

My daughter is very much like my mother and she does not like clutter. She prefers new things. She is a minimalist. She is beautiful and very much a proper lady. She never says a naughty word. I, on the other hand would say a naughty word and do so whenever it suits me to. She is a perfect grammar nazi and if she were to read this journal entry, I would have a bad report. Does it surprise you that she is in college to be a teacher? She will be perfect. 

Her entire life I have dragged her to antique events as I have collected finds for my online business. She hated it. "How much longer until we go home?". "It's hot, my feet hurt." I am sure that you can imagine. 

I also love to buy vintage or used clothes. One time I bought some used boots at an event which I have done many times during my life, and she told me that I was totally gross to wear someone else's boots. I bought them and wore them anyway, much to my daughter's dismay. 

There's another thing. I don't recycle. I don't save my plastic bottles, I throw them in the trash if I have one.  I actually don't drink much bottled water, I like iced tea. I like to make a big glass jar of it in the California sun and sip it from a vintage glass. 

She came home from school one day and scolded me for not recycling. I told her that I recycle all of the time. She wanted me to have the recycle bins out for the trash man on Monday morning like everyone else. 

I explained to her that I am not going to spend my time sorting my glass and my plastic trash for the sanitation company so that they can sell it, make money from my time and bottles that I paid a fee on, only to have my trash go to a factory that makes more pollution and costs more money to process said plastic and glass. So she wanted to save them and take them to the recycle place to sell them ourselves. I was not on board with that either for it wastes more gas and time to go sell them than it is worth.  I frustrated her to no end. I won. No sorting trash. 

You see, I believe that real recycling would be to refill and reuse that bottle until it can't hold water anymore. 

So recently, we decided to clean out our closets. Now, when I buy new clothes, I buy good quality classic styling. I have Ralph Lauren pieces that are 30 years old that still look great. Timeless styling. I have a pair of 501 Levis student jeans that I wore when I was 18. I wore them again when I was 40 for they were in style again and I was thin enough to wear them. They were classic jeans! They have a little hole next to the right front pocket that I got jumping a chain link fence at the beach. I saw those and had wonderful memories and back into the closet they went. 

We weeded out the cheap Forever21 things and the clothing that we did not care about and took them to the Goodwill. My daughter was so excited to have me participating in her minimalistic mind set. I get it. 

She was then left with a pile of clothing that were name brand. She did not want to wear them, but did not want to give them away because she paid too much for them. It seemed like a waste. So, I suggested that she sell them on Poshmark. 

And sell she did! Like wildfire she sold things. She's good at this!  I pulled some Free People brand things from my closet so she could sell them for me and that is the day that things changed.

I showed her my favorite 501 Levis and she got all excited. "Vintage high waisted Levis? OMG MOM!" She tried them on and they were a perfect fit. Imagine that? She is 18 years old wearing the exact jeans that I wore at 18. Mom, these are really collectable! People pay a lot for vintage high waisted Levis." I gave her my old jeans and she wears them. 

This is me at 40 wearing them The photo is bad, but you can see the hole up near the waistband. On the right is my daughter wearing those same jeans. 

These days, we go thrifting together and it's really fun. We both wear used clothing often and she gets it. We love the Free People brand and have fun looking for pieces together. It's like a treasure hunt. Kind of like antiquing...

She also gets the recycling thing. She gets that I have been doing it all along. She understands that true recycling is not sending your plastic bottles to be "recycled"..or in reality processed into something that causes more pollution and feeds another business. Recycling is not using a bottle at all or reusing that bottle over and over by refilling it. When it springs a leak, throw it away. 

It means when you buy a new piece of clothing or jewelry, don't buy the cheap stuff, wear it a few times then toss it aside. I means buy the best quality that you can, in classic styling and take care of it. Good pieces can be worn for many years. 

Then there is the truck issue. I have a horse. I need a truck. I need to haul bails of hay. She now understands why when it is time for me to buy a truck, I want an old one. I want one from the 1960s with a simple engine that I understand. I don't want a new one and I don't want one with a "hybrid" engine. Those cars create so much pollution in the manufacturing process. They do not "save the planet", they are a sales ploy that I am not going to fall for.  I would prefer to get an old truck and fix it up. I just need to haul hay and maybe someday a horse trailer if I become brave enough to learn how to pull one. 

She now understands why I love antiques and vintage jewelry. She understands why I carefully pick each piece that I offer on my website. I want well made, hand made pieces that have lasted and will last a long time. Now she knows why it takes me so long to shop. 

She gets that I have been recycling all along...all of my life. 

True recycling is to use what we already have.

We need to make less new stuff.

I prefer to see things re-used, recycled and repurposed. Like my furniture. Like my dishes and my boots. Like my Nancy Drew books and my 501 Levis. And my jewelry, my timeless, smooth worn jewelry that has the patina of years of service. 

I'm so glad that now, my daughter gets me. 


If you are curious about her Poshmark store you can visit it HERE, but you won't find my old 501s for sale. They are going to stay in the family!






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