Thrift Store and Road Trip Adventures


The road to almost anywhere seems to take you much longer than the

trip home. My brothers give me directions around Cleveland, forgetting

my crooked path that began on the lake which I call ‘home’ to the small

towns I have lived in and then back again, to visit again. The total number

of years away are much more than the years I lived at ‘home.’ I had lived 6

years in Bowling Green, Ohio, four while attending college and two while

young, newly married and teaching middle school. I spent 5 years farther

south, in Lancaster, Ohio, and a big chunk of 28 years in my chosen (picked

it on a map) location of Delaware, Ohio.

So, we valiantly set off to a short distance away to go shopping. Mom and I

were off on another one of our adventures, traveling around the city streets,

some I have forgotten their names. “Fasten your seat belt, Mom! Hold onto

your hat, since the windows will be down it is such a beautiful and warm


Mom and I ate lunch out at a casual location, fortifying for our shopping

expedition. So serious, that Mom had made a list and so had I! We were

heading towards Lorain Road (one town over, North Olmsted) from Center

Ridge Road (Westlake). We located the Dr.’s office we would go to on Wed.,

along with the Dr.’s office we would head towards on Thurs. Then, we were

on Busy and much traveled, Dover Center Road. We passed the church where

my early days of Girl Scouts had met, along with a house of where one of my

Mom’s favorite fellow Westlake (Demons) teachers had lived. They live out

West in Colorado, writing letters and exchanging cards with Mom.

When we arrived on Lorain Road, I traveled East first; nope!  Wrong direction!

I saw an outstanding and extraordinarily low priced familiar gas station, where

there were several people, one elderly man who may have been retired, chatting

by the door of the place. It is one where Brazilian coffee has joined the hot brews,

along with my favorite cappuccino mixes. Having had three days of the Senior

Apartment brewed coffee, a little above average and the Maxwell House instant

coffee my Mom drinks all day, I decided to grab a flavored ice tea for Mom and

pre-pay for some gas. I left my Mom’s windows open and locked her in. We gave

a little laugh, since she knows I worry a lot about her memory and her safety, too.

I was told I was only a few hundred feet to get to Dollar General and only two

blocks away from Giant Eagle, whose plaza has a huge Volunteers of America

Thrift Store. I thanked the men who were gathered on the step of the gas station,

and gave the elderly, very genuinely concerned man a brief but sincere hug. He

laughed and said, “You made my day, Honey.”

Once we got in the doors of the V. of A. Thrift Store, we checked carefully for the

“Colors of the Day” chart. I repeated them twice to Mom, since the color of orange

meant 50% off the price tags of that color, the color of green meant a whopping

75% off.

We spent over two hours searching for our own respective list of ‘clothing needs.’

Which for me usually includes dark and patterned shirts and jeans that are ‘not too

tight’ for my warehouse job. She was fascinated by the Halloween decorations, I had

to insist she had her ‘door and shelves covered with October décor.’ Once I had her

steered towards the relaxed pants and turtle necks part of the store, I could head off

into the misses and juniors areas.  I went back to her twice, to find her cart piled

high in clothes she WISHED she could wear. I loved the attitude coming from her,

really like her sparkling belief that she can still wear pants with belts and shirts

with buttons. We had to put the black pin striped suit she wanted to wear ‘to go to

meetings in’ back. I got her to go back one row over where the pants were elastic-

waisted and the shirts were pullovers.

This time I headed off to the Sundries department. It makes you think of a garage

sale or one of those big flea markets that are set up on fairgrounds. Twice I had to

stop people to ask first, for the frames area and then, for the photo albums area.

I found five albums for my grandkids’ photos, various covers and styles from a

big pile of these. I liked the ones I found for the girls, one with flowers, another

with a geometric design and the ones for the boys, one had a red ‘leather’ look

for my oldest, Skyler and another had a green ‘leather’ look for Landen. The

others will be ‘jazzed up’ like I do with dollar store albums, using stickers and

little bit of acrylic paint designs. So much money saved and I may have told you

this summer I printed out 700 photographs, dating back to Fall, 2013. Yikes!

Blogging has taken me away from my usual careful seasonally printing off the

pictures and individually separating them into 6 distinct albums. My grandies

have looked more into their past, then their recent happenings, when they go

to my four foot stack of photo albums, one for each season of their lives.

The other great find was a beautiful mahogany or cherry antique frame to put

my #86 Birthday Gift to my Mother in. I know how much she loves Autumn

leaves and found a beautiful branched photograph, with multiple leaves of

brilliant shades to place a male red cardinal on and the step below him, a

female yellow cardinal perched on a branch. I painted this in watercolors,

starting in early October. The frame was a ‘firm’ price, not one that will be

reduced by its tag, $3.99. What a bargain! I gave my Mom her gift early, since

we have plans for dinner Wednesday with my youngest brother and his wife,

then on Friday with my ‘older’ brother, just 18 months younger than I. (We

ran around in a ‘pack’ from childhood through high school, 3 born in 4 years.)

Here were Mom’s purchases in a list:

1. Four pairs of elastic waist pants,

*Pink ones made of denim material, brand new condition. Mom’s favorite color.

*Blue jeans, a nice dark denim with large, deep pockets. She acknowledged their

benefits by saying,

“Robin, I can put tissues and my keys in this pocket and the doggie bags in the

other one. Some may call them doggie doo doo bags… but I also put her treats

from my dinner in them, too.” (Not at the same time nor same bag, may I add!)

*Black soft cotton material pants with pockets. They may resemble sweat pants,

but she wears this style to bed and to answer the door in the morning.

* Black sturdier, some acrylic/polyester material pants that look ‘dressy’ and less

worn. Mom exclaimed about her next three purchases that would be worn with

these same pants,

“Robin, look at this beautiful jacket for the holidays, this red turtleneck and this

red cowl necked sweater! You will not believe how lucky I was at finding them!”



Here is the best part of the red plaid wool jacket labeled, Norton McNaughton,

with its black velvet color and such a Scottish printed plaid:

It was marked “99 cents” and happened to be a green tag, so take 75% off and

Mom paid only one quarter for this jacket, with its freshly dry cleaned tag attached.


The trip back home was short and sweet, we sipped our tea, (Mom’s) and coffee,

(mine) quite content to bask in our wonderful purchases. We stopped on the way

home to sit in the woods of Bradley Woods Park, looking at the busy squirrels, the

chirping birds and sun glowing colors of Autumn. I pulled out of my purse two

Milky Way bars and two little dark chocolate Hershey kisses. We felt like we were

almost in Heaven.


A flyer in Mom’s door had a religious message but I loved the


“The Clock

The clock of life is wound but once,

and no man has the power

to tell just when the hands will stop

at late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,

To lose one’s health is more.

To lose one’s soul is such a loss

That no one can restore.”

(Author Unknown, found on a religious tract)


*As far as I am concerned,

in this poem, the word,  “soul”

can mean our enthusiasm and

sometimes Grace. ~Robin E. O. Cochran









25 responses »

  1. Oh, I would have loved to have gone on this “Road Trip” with you, Robin. So fun are these adventures to Thrift Stores for me! Something about them…the discovery of something totally unexpected, treasures to take home at a ‘steal!’ Such a fun post to read. 🙂

    • Thanks, Kim! You would have been most welcome to join us, the More the Merrier! I bet you would have loved this huge place, bigger than any I have visited in central and southern Ohio! I found some great gently used jeans for my hard to find sized grandson, (he turns 10 on Nov. 4th) and is size 12 Husky. Most boys this age have worn the knees out of the jeans. In Kohl’s I can spend upward of $20 for one pair and found three for $4.99 each!
      I am glad you enjoyed the ‘ride’ and also like how you call the finds, ‘treasures’ and ‘steals!’

      • Oh, I remember the days. My youngest wore a “Husky” too, and they were so expensive. Never a ‘hand-me-down’ in my house with the oldest wearing “Slims.” Lol! Glad you had so much fun. Visiting thrift shops and going to estate sales are some of my favorite, ‘me’ times. XXOO

  2. What a fun road trip, Robin! Thanks for taking us along. Boy, the red plaid wool jacket was a steal! I’ll bet your mother was thrilled. I loved the message she received on her door, thank you for sharing that.

    • You are so welcome to ‘come along’ anytime, Jill! I am glad you mentioned my favorite part of my Mom’s shopping trip, along with her message she received on her door. Thanks and have a Fun Halloween, Jill!

  3. What a wonderful trip back, Robin, the streets of the past. I don’t ever go back to where I spent those few but so important years of my junior-high and high school growing. Eighth grad to graduation. I lived in Stony Brook, on Long Island, for only five years of my life. I can stretch it to seven because I did go back on semester breaks and summers from junior college. But once I moved to go to U of Maryland, that was it. No more Long Island for me. So little of a percentage of my life in what I would have to call my hometown, if push came to shove. I would be driving through looking at street names, just like your story here, Robin. But I have no parents there to put in the car with me. My sisters live 40 and 50 miles away in very different towns, opposite directions, so I guess we could do it, but …

    I love your thrifty shopping, too. Way to go, getting your sundries and shopping for your work clothes in the misses and juniors racks. I bet you made the gent’s day with that hug, Robin. Hubba hubba. 🙂

    • So funny, I leapt to the last line and reread it, Mark! I haven’t heard the expression, “Hubba hubba,” since my Dad passed away! I bet older people would still use it! Funny, you young man you, using it!
      I am glad you mentioned how you would be ‘turned around’ too, if you were to travel back into the area of the country where you spent some childhood years.
      I am glad you have people closer to you, your daughter, your son in law, your dear Karen, to fill in the holes of your heart. I do think about you and others who have lost their parents, hoping that my writing doesn’t bother or make them sad…
      I hope that the ones at work appreciate my newer jeans, so excited I also found some for my grandson, Skyler. He turns 10 on November 4th and is an awkward size (It cost me $20 or more at Kohl’s for size 12 H- for husky jeans.) I will give him a new $10 bill and a few pairs of gently used jeans…He will be so happy I thought about him, he is not one of the kids who expects a lot from his Nana! Just time… smiles!

      • Your Skyler is lucky to have a grand like you Robin, thinking of him all the time. I am sure he appreciates this gesture. (Karen and I shop at Kohl’s too, me for my infrequent new pair of pants. We wait for the 30% off sticker on the peel-off cards in the mail! After I get the new paints I donate my gently worn to the thrift stores so somebody can buy and appreciate them, and the money then can go to those who really need it. The cycle of need and provide.

        Of course Hubba Bubba when the senior gent gave an extra special squeeze to a young hottie like you, Robin. 😉

        Finally, I feel good when you write about your mother, not bad. That is the circle of life, those who still have making those who have lost feel better by telling their stories!

  4. Shopping at thrift stores (especially the well organized ones) is my absolute favorite way to shop. I love a bargain. And When it’s time for me to donate clothes, I bring them there. What goes around comes around! 🙂

    • Lorna, I can picture you in one of these places, with your cart overflowing! My Mom got indignant because a clerk came by and started to unpile the cart, back onto hangers on the rack! You don’t get in the way of my Mom, at a garage sale or a thrift store! ha ha! I also like the idea of donating to different thrift stores, in our area it is Salvation Army and Goodwill. Mom’s was a Volunteers of America. It was such a great place, like you mentioned, organized! Thanks for this and enjoy your Halloween, in your new place!

      • I heard some young people walking by a thrift shop as I was going in. They said they would NEVER buy clothes in a place like that. I shook my head and felt bad for their parents who must be footing big bills for their $100 ripped jeans!

  5. I smiled so much over this post …………. Your descriptions of your mom looking at clothing – especially the suit to go to meetings in – I have those moments too! What great thrift stores you have – the day colours are unheard of here. This was another thoroughly enjoyable visit 🙂

    • Pauline, so happy to see your comments and wondered is Siddy going to wear a headband with horns or a little costume? My Mom put an orange bow on NIcki’s collar. Happy Halloween!
      I know our thrift store in Delaware is a Goodwill, no color days and then, the Salvation Army in Marion, Ohio has a single color of the day. I loved the idea of 75% off for one of the colors! Smiles and so glad you enjoyed the visit, too!

    • Oh, I love that store, Tuesday Morning! Hollis, I remember your post where there was a clothing article that was outlandishly priced! Wow! That was a great story, too… I am glad you have fond memories of trips to thrift stores with your Mom. It is nice when families are able to share these little moments, it makes up the ‘fabric of our lives…’ We are ‘richer’ due to these simple joys! I am sure your daughter and you will continue this tradition, too! Hugs!

  6. Even without all the fun on the way there, I’ve found that trips to a place you don’t know (and are following directions) always seems longer than the trip back. I think it has to do with being so focused and concentrating on the directions that it just seems longer. Once you know the way, it seems to go by faster.

    Unless you stop for ice cream! 😀

    • Oh, yes detours are always fun! I love ice cream ‘stops’ Thanks, W.S. for your reminder that all trips seem to go so much faster on the way home, some due to the knowledge of the route, some due to the fact of expectancy on the way there. It always seemed like it took forever to get to my grandparents’ house for holidays, then whisking back home a day or two later, like it was 1/2 the distance… I hope you will have a fun ‘treat’ and no ‘tricks’ today! Smiles, Robin

      • Well, let’s see… I’ve got wooden stakes for the Vampires, silver bullets for the Werewolves, steel darts for the Evil Faeries, flaming torches for the Frankensteins, shotguns for the Zombies, laser blasters for the Aliens, salt for the Giant Slugs, life-like mannikins of Fay Wray in case of King Kong,… Yep, I think I’m prepared!

    • You are one who could probably enjoy anywhere you went, finding the bright spots, Beth! I like the thought of your day today, Happy Halloween with the class of kinders! Smiles!

    • Jen, I felt bad, something about the way I tried to be gentle about it, too. I hope my Mom’s mind side-tracked as I pointed out other clothing items. She has a mixed up point of view, time is still a little bit confused, especially as the day goes on. The best part of this week, Jen, has been how she tells everyone proudly her age and it is her birthday each day, too. Yes, elasticized waists is the way to go with our darling ‘girls!’ I need to check in and see how your services went and how your Mum’s arm is doing…

  7. I love stories about you mom! You make it feel like I am riding right along with you. Give her a hug from me, and just tell her she has admirers she doesn’t even know. – Mike

    • Thanks, Mike! I will give her a hug and tell her its from a fellow blogger, since she is so proud of my blog! I had showed her your South American travels, since she loved her years of teaching Spanish.
      I also tell her about all of the other fellow friends I have met along the way.
      I am so glad you enjoy ‘traveling the road’ with my Mom and me, along with my ability to enjoy Florence and your travels to Scotland, England,…. and other places around the world! I certainly liked the Seattle and Northwestern U.S. tales, too! Did you happen to read that my brother was out West for a month, painting Fat Head’s logos on the walls of the new location of this brewery in Oregon, the Pearl District. They have plans to transport him out to Washington where a new location may be going in…. I will keep you posted! Randall Oldrieve is working on a black light miniature golf place here in Cleveland, for a month. Smiles!
      Happy Halloween, to you and yours!

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