Every city has its antique stores. And most have vintage and collectible shops, too. But there is only one shop in one town I know of where you can buy a dozen classic Shriner’s jackets, a set of French flashcards from the 1920’s, a wall-mounted statue of Ganesh, and a box of 6 dozen microscope slides of bug legs all in one shopping trip. And you can throw in fine vintage china, a couple of Waterfall dressers and all the 1940’s sign art you can carry while you’re at it.
If you have not been to Austin’s “Uncommon Objects” on South Congress, you might think I’m exaggerating. After all the store looks kind of small on the outside. But with Tardis-like magic, it seems to get bigger and bigger the further you walk into it.
You might be wondering why I’m including a store on the blog. After all, this blog is about things to do and places to eat, right? It’s not about stores.
Well, from my first visit to Uncommon Objects a week after I arrived in Austin to my visit last week, this store has definitely been something to ‘DO.”
I go in. I wander. I imagine. I try to picture where I could put three 5 foot high letters from an old grocery store sign, just because I love the font. I think about buying the Shriner’s jackets and using them for some kind of party theme. I find inspiring words in a pile of 1950’s flashcards and I lay out the 6 I will buy to create a unique piece of art on my wall. I find a book from the late 1800’s with my daughter’s nickname in the title on the book’s artistic cover, and add it to my purchases, musing over how I will display it in her room. I get lost in looking at pieces of the past, and imagining how to use them now.
This isn’t shopping. It’s doing. It’s the place I take visitors and newcomers who are even more fresh to Austin than I am. This, I tell them, is not just a store. It’s weird Austin, for sale.