In Search of Dead People’s Stuff

 A rare long weekend motivated us into venturing away from home . . . 2.5 hours away, to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Why go there?  No particular reason; we just like to go on drives.  Driving gives the illusion of being in charge of one’s life, plus there’s always the sweet temptation to just keep going, destination unknown, future uncertain, with imagined opportunities around each bend.

BUT . . . as long as we were going to Cheyenne, why not look up some antique stores?

Dead People's Stuff
Dead People’s Stuff

Like everything in life, presentation matters.

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Hence why Cheyenne Antiques was such a pleasure to visit.

A  large clean shop, uncluttered, and with nice things presented in attractive settings.  I will tell you . . . that is not the norm.  Some of these places can look a bit like the set of Hoarders.

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A word about these photos . . . I would usually grab my Nikon, but I instead opted to use my Samsung phone’s camera.  I wanted to get more proficient at it for those times when it’s my only recourse.  All these photos are taken with the camera in HDR mode, hence the surprisingly good lighting . . .

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If you go to the SmugMug gallery (HERE), you will notice these are not tack-sharp.  In most cases, it’s my fault.  One handed shooting is not well suited to tack-sharp photos, especially when the camera is snapping 4 shots to get the full dynamic range.

Some of the photos were within acceptable limits, while others were beyond hope.  I was a little annoyed at the fact the quality of the photo often was inversely proportional to how interesting the subject was to me.  Live and learn, I will do better next time.

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Some of the pictures were quite good, like the horse above.  Not Nikon-good, but good.

And some were quite odd . . .

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That is a bottle/container in the shape of a Wiener dog,  and it carries the cups on its back.

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The ship was the last photo from Cheyenne Antiques . . . we paid for what we bought, and ventured out to continue our quest for dead people’s stuff.  Sometimes it’s live people’s stuff, but I would venture a guess most of what we see was, at some point, owned by people who no longer figure in the census numbers . . . unless they were in Cook County.

Folks might notice different treatments to the photos, often related to the subject matter.  The ship above and the rocking horse below seemed suited to an off-sepia finish.

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The bicycle and airplane-cart (first two photos) each called for specific treatments to enhance their introduction to readers of this blog.  Some photos were only lightly treated, such as this next one.  All post-production was done in Lightroom 5, using either my own adjustments, or some of onOne’s excellent presets.

These photos are all from the next stop . . . not an antique shop, but a flea market.  Frankly, I fail to see the distinction.

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Did you notice the plastic Darth Vader bust?  Does it seem out of place?  Consider the character is 36 years old . . . even so, given the rest of the stuff, it looked out of place to me,  as did the Dunkin’ Donuts canister.

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The above photo is one of the photos I really wanted, and it’s really a poor photograph . . . which I manipulated a whole lot to make it semi-presentable.  I seem to remember someone advising photographers to take more than one photo of anything they are interested in, especially if at a location someone is not likely to return to soon.

. . . wise man, that person was . . . but not today.

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This was snapped for one reason, and one reason only; “SAUSAGE STUFFER”.  Perhaps I reverted to my adolescent years, but it made me crack a smile, and hence snap a picture.

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Who doesn’t like model trains?  I should have taken close-ups of them, but some guy was loitering about, waiting to get at them.

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Almost every shop has something to do with this iconic brand . . . perhaps explaining the so-called “obesity epidemic”.

Before angry cola drinkers start sending me hate mail, know that I don’t care what you drink, nor how much, and I am not preaching to change anyone’s habits.  I know full well correlation is not causation . . . it could very well be the salad that comes with the cola is the real culprit.  “Damn you, salad!”

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I like masks, but this is a little creepy . . . still, I like this photo, and wish the photo of the other mask had turned out as well.

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No, not this mask . . . frankly, this looked even more out of place than the Vader bust.  This particular booth had a vaguely macabre theme to it, and this was the centerpiece.

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This was in the next booth, and even more disturbing . . . one does not expect to come face-to-crotch with a couple of pantless peanuts.

. . . gruesome . . .

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I must admit to temptation . . . some of these old model seemed like the perfect pastime to squeeze . . . er, shove into an already bursting-at-the-seams schedule.  Maybe next time.

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A testament to the popularity of The Lady . . . Lucy.  You can find her in many of these shops, and perhaps that speaks to the passing of the generations who still remember her.

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Upon seeing these, Freddy Mercury popped into mind . . . immediately followed by Y.M.C.A.  (by the Village People).

. . . I never saw Brokeback Mountain, or that too might have come to mind.

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This one booth had quite the selection of old media.  VHS, Beta, 8-tracks, LPs, 45’s . . . along with a decent selection of appropriate players.  I like the shot above, including the treatment.

That sounds like bragging, but I am my own worst critic, so if I say I like it, you can take it to the bank.

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This I almost bought . . . except we’re trying to pare down our vast holding of things people don’t want, don’t value, don’t appreciate.

Do companies still do this?  I think not . . . better to spend money on some near-criminal whose proficiency in one sport or other makes them someone today’s misguided youths look up to.   He can tell them to “Eat what I eat kids, and you’ll grow up to be just like me.  Meanwhile, I’ll go blow my money on drugs, whor . . . er . . . friendly ladies, and lead a lifestyle that would land most people in jail.

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. . . someone apparently appreciates me . . .

We went to this other shop . . . this was more along the lines of “cram every corner full of something“.  We took a quick look-see, and I snapped a few photos . . .

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. . . before heading out the door.  

Near the entry sat this girl, silently and humorlessly watching the parade of customers file past her . . . her sadness touched me, but not enough to liberate her from her sucky job.

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Outside the store, I realized I wanted to evaluate a broader range of the phone’s picture-taking capabilities.  Still in HDR mode, I snapped the following.

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The lighting was pretty crappy, so I’m impressed with this photo.

Anyway, it was now slightly after 12:00, and we decided to have a light lunch.  It turned out to be brunch at the Egg & I.  The prices are not cheap, but the food is pretty good (not fantastic).

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The gravy on the biscuit was OK, but not great.  The eggs were fine, as was the sourdough toast.  The sausage patties were decent, especially when smeared with the gravy from the biscuit and gravy.

Like most restaurants, they ruin the French toast by adding cinnamon to the batter.  

A$$holes!  I mean, to each its own.  Mind you, these were passable, just not as good as they might have been.  They did listen when I asked to please make sure the middle of the french toast was cooked;  nothing I like worse than biting into a french toast and finding the middle uncooked.   Except, perhaps, having the french toast flavored with cinnamon.

The good meal behind us, and we went on . . . the next one was also an interesting shop, and while not as clean as the first one, it was not cluttered with all sorts of stuff.  Housed in a spacious building, we took some time going through the three floors.

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The above greeted us as we walked through the door.

And below is something one does not see much of, anymore.  A cigarette machine.

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I’m old enough to have used one of those . . . perhaps the very same.

I don’t know what this next thing is . . . it might have been a wall ornament, or a platter.

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I like the wood texture, and the carving reminded me of one of any number of Bishops who routinely shuffled pedophile priests around various parishes, thus ensuring an even spread of pain, suffering, and outright criminal behavior.

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Lucy . . . good to see you again.

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They said it was never meant to be; they said it would never work; they said it went against the laws of god and man . . . but you can’t argue with evidence; they look very happy together.  And I don’t even want to know what’s up with his pants and her dress.  Moving on; I saw nothing!

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. . . funky is the correct description (it’s on the label).

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I’m thinking this guy is looking for the blond doll . . .

The place had a basement.  On shelf unit sat these two figures . . .

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I’m going to be pissed if next week I read an article on someone buying these for a few bucks, and turning around to sell them for a couple of hundred thousands.  I don’t think it will happen, but I would be pissed if I did.

This next photo is the last of the series.  We had a couple of other shops in mind, but one was closed, and one was no longer there.

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This was a bedspring leaning on the wall . . . I thought the pattern of springs was interesting.

And there you have it.  I could talk of our drive home, going through sheets upon sheets of hard-driving rain.  I could talk of getting near home, and seeing a huge dark cloud slowly marching East . . . it looked like it passed over our house.

I could speak to seeing nice puddles not a half a mile from our home, and our disappointment when we got home to see the mulch was barely moist.  The soil under any plant was dry . . . not enough to even seep under there.

I could tell you all that, but then you would sense anger in my writing.

As usual, thanks for stopping by, and I hope it was worth your while.  If it was, tell everyone.  If it wasn’t . . . blame the dead owners of this stuff.


Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.


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