Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stories in the Stuff

Sundays in La Place de la Republique in Pamiers is notably focused on the marche de puces, or, flea market. As far as I can figure, the only difference between the puces and a vide greniers (town-wide clearing-the-attic sale) is that the puces is held weekly. My guess is that a lot of the same stuff is there week after week after week.

The individual booths, or stalls meander. There is no precision or rigidity to their location. Some people display their goods on the ground, others on makeshift tables, others use architectural elements existing in La Place. There are the usual stacks of DVDs, baby clothes, plastic containers, gardening magazines, and hair curlers---the very same items that could easily be at a garage sale in Moab (except the DVDs wouldn't presumably be in French).

But look further, and the odd, unusual, and bizarre items jump out. Items that make me want to piece together a history of the person they belonged to, and how they ended up here. Was this plate collection prominently displayed in someone's cupboard? What color "miracle" was the user hoping to attain with the liquid dye? Was the wood frame bedwarmer used in some drafty old stone village house (maybe mine before double pane windows)?

People's lives, past and present, inhabit a marche de puces. There are stories there, most of which will go untold. The scissors, by the way, were 2 Euro a pair.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Those scissors really caught my eye because the other day I was happily using one of my pairs of scissors to cut some fabric and I remembered that growing up at 111 Ivanhoe Street, you couldn't find a pair of scissors in that house to save your life! Right siblings?...Peggy

Anonymous said...

Right, that's because Mom hid her scissors so she could find them. My solution was to buy a pack of scissors like the ones in the photo, plenty to go around. I still hide my sewing scissors, otherwise they get used for paper, wire, etc.

I want to wicker case in the first picture, all the plates and that wonderful Napoleonic chair in the first picture. Oh, well. Leslie