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Finally...to Connie’s


Okay, so before I went wandering off into memories of my parents and their art collection, and their house full of wonders and chainsaws, I had us on the south side of the Square in Old Town. We had just looked up and realized that time was getting on. So, we picked up our pace and went north along Romero Drive.


Pretty soon, we were at her shop, Old Town Antiques.(*) It is at 416 Romero, which means it is just short of the intersection with Church. We trotted up the little set of stairs out front and then we were inside. Connie was at her desk meeting with some customers. We waved at her and she waved back and greeted us, but we didn’t want to disturb her transaction. We looked around while we waited.




About the photos: Several today, but not quite the ones I wanted. I realized with a start that I don’t have any photos of Connie’s shop. That saddened me because it really needs to be seen to be appreciated.


So, until I can get back to Old Town and take some shots, I decided instead to offer you a few experiments today. I took two of my more New Mexican-themed photos (a shot of a street in Old Town and a snap of our mantlepiece with some of our Native American art on it) and ran them through one of my AI programs with the request that it turn them into watercolor pieces. These are what came out. See what you think.


Then, just because I like the photo, here’s a snap of Martha from 2018. We were at a (now, alas, closed) restaurant called Sandiagos to celebrate our anniversary.



Connie’s shop is divided, roughly, into two parts. The front is a long narrow room which is almost like a hallway. Here is where most of the older antiques can be found -- mostly Native American, but also Hispanic, Anglo-American, and even some European. This is where, for instance, you’ll find Native American jewelry and pottery.


In the middle is Connie’s desk and register. Then, beyond that is a second, somewhat larger room. Here the offerings are more often Anglo-American, some of it with a western theme. There is more art on the walls here, and a number of antiques, vintage photos, prints, and so on. There is also a kind of alcove with more collectable books.


Connie finished her business and we had a quick reunion. She asked how we were (good). How the kids were (they’re good, too). How we were dealing with Texas (it’s complicated).


Then I asked if we could lure her out for coffee. She said Sure that she could close the shop for an hour or so. So, off we went.


Rather than coffee, she suggested ice cream and so we went to a local shop. We found a table in the back and then had a long conversation about what was happening in our lives. We all had stories to tell.


Hers were more interesting than mine. For instance, she told us about a recent transaction she’d had. She named a phenomenally successful country musician who’s been on the charts for, like, ever. The musician’s wife (also a musician, but with a more business bent) had come by the shop sometime back. She and Connie had gotten along like a house a’fire. Then, the woman had purchased a very expensive rug and had gone her way. Connie didn’t expect to see her again, unless she came back on a periodic visit, sort of the way we do.


But, this year, Connie had been out one morning preparing for another estate sale. Her shop was closed. But, her phone rang. It was the woman. Would it be possible, she wanted to know, to meet with Connie that morning? She knew the shop was normally closed right then, but she was only going to be in town for a little while.


Well...okay...said Connie. And she headed to the shop.


Where the woman proceeded to explain that she was starting her own shop in her hometown--a town that is also a popular music venue and in a state that’s far, far away. As such, she needed an initial stock in a hurry. Could they, er, make a deal?


Yikes, said Connie.


But deal they did. And, while Connie watched, the woman purchased something like a fourth of everything in her store, and then her entourage dutifully loaded it all into vans, and took it away.


Somewhere, even now, in a town which has no connection to New Mexico, there is a shop stuffed full with New Mexican stuff, doubtless priced way above what Connie was selling it for. And, doubtlessly too, wealthy people are entering that shop even as we speak and paying those prices without a quibble. After all, in that town, so far away, all the New Mexican stuff seems exotic, and rare, and precious.


Which was just fine with Connie. After all, everyone got something. She sold her own stock at a good price. The musician-woman got a deal and was making a profit on her own. And her customers were getting something which...otherwise...would be unobtainable for them.


Such is the wonder of the oh-so-rare, the semi-mythical, the unicorn among business-beasts...the“win-win situation.”


Connie’s phone rang just then. Oops, she said. She needed to run. There were customers waiting for her at the shop. We apologized for keeping her from her business. No, no, she said, she had needed a break.


So, we said our good-byes and promised we would meet again soon. Maybe she and her husband would visit Texas, she said. We said maybe but, certainly, we would back on our next visit. And we went our separate ways.


We, meanwhile, had some shopping to do. And a lunch to buy. And then...after that...


We would have a most curious evening.


Which would include affluent young people, a new dining arcade, and, finally, what literary people used to refer to so delicately as...


...les filles de joie.


More to come.



Footnotes


*See her shop’s webpage here: https://oldtownantiquesabq.com/









Copyright©2024 Michael Jay Tucker


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~mjt



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