Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Shopping for antiques in St. Peter is like way cool March 14, 2013

IF YOU HAD PREDICTED 40 years ago that I would be poking around antique stores someday, celebrating the past, remembering the days of my youth, I would have rolled my eyes.

The mere suggestion of such behavior would rate as totally uncool.

But long ago I discovered that antiquing is, indeed, cool, if not downright groovy. Just to be clear, I categorize 1970s merchandise as collectibles, not antiques.

Patrick's on 3rd anchors the corner on the left with Diamonds in the RUST on the right. Diamonds sells merchandise from antiques to present. Love that name.

Patrick’s on 3rd (bar and restaurant) anchors the corner on the left with Diamonds in the RUST on the right. Diamonds sells merchandise from antiques to present. Love that name.

That said, when I entered the charming Diamonds in the RUST shop along Park Row Street three doors down from Patrick’s on 3rd, which I’m told makes the best burgers in St. Peter, I automatically fell in love with the place.

Diamonds in the RUST, looking toward the front of the store.

Diamonds in the RUST, looking toward the front of the store.

See how the sunlight streams through those windows and onto the floor and merchandise.

Love how the sunlight streams through those windows and onto the floor and merchandise.

Light flooding through a street-side bank of tall windows, patches of sunlight slipping across the wood floor, artfully arranged merchandise and then, that most fabulous find of all, a Joseph’s coat of many colors sweater, defined this as one happin’ place.

Seventies coming of age child that I am, my eyes connected with that multi-colored sweater like a hippie drawn to a peace symbol.

The sweater similar to one I wore in the 70s.

The sweater similar to one I wore in the 70s.

“I had a sweater just like that,” I shared with the shopkeeper, although, on closer inspection, I discovered this to be a Tommy Hilfiger replica and not exactly like the sweater I paired with my hip huggers. Oh, well, I thought, and then wondered aloud if my mom, the keeper of everything, had saved that groovy sweater from my teen years. It’s possible; I recently retrieved lime green cuffed, flared pants, with about a size 18-inch waist (was I really that tiny once?), from her basement.

Ah, how antiquing prompts memories…

I own a vintage Chinese checkers board similar to these, found at a garage sale 30 years ago.

I own a vintage Chinese checkers board similar to these, one I found at a garage sale 30 years ago.

Then I spotted two Chinese checkers boards flaunting their psychedelic hues. I always connect Chinese checkers with my farmer dad, gone 10 years now. He never had time for board games. But pull out the metal Chinese checkers game and he was right there with the rest of us gathered around the Formica kitchen table, his clumsy fingers guiding marbles into place.

I would never buy a dead (or live) pheasant, but someone might.

I would never buy a dead (or live) pheasant, but someone might.

More memories of my dad surfaced when I sighted a taxidermy pheasant perched on a slip of wood set upon that beautiful wood floor. I am not a hunter. But, as a child, I would occasionally accompany Dad on his way to the slough—a grassy waterhole long ago drained and converted to farmland—to hunt for pheasants. It wasn’t the actual act of walking the land, searching for pheasants, that appealed to me. Rather, it was the rare opportunity to be with Dad when he was not in the barn or field that drew me to the hunt. I did not understand that then. But I do now.

Pheasant glasses like this are coveted by some members of my extended family.

Pheasant glasses like this are coveted by some members of my extended family.

I didn’t purchase any of those memory items at Diamonds in the RUST, only snapped photos, including one of a set of pheasant glasses that would interest my middle brother or niece’s husband.

A snippet of downtown St. Peter, along Highway 169.

A snippet of downtown St. Peter, along busy U.S. Highway 169.

Down the block and around the corner, walking St. Peter’s main drag, I slipped into a memory lane high when my husband discovered copies of Tiger Beat magazine in another antique store. Oh, my heart. The Beatles. The Monkees.

My beloved Tiger Beat magazine.

My beloved Tiger Beat magazine.

Cousin Joyce, who was two months younger than me, but way more worldly because she had two older sisters and therefore knew about stuff like boys, green eye shadow, David Cassidy and fishnet stockings long before me, introduced me to Tiger Beat. Back in the days when relatives still “visited” each other, Joyce and I would stretch out on her bed stomach side down, knees crooked, feet rocking, paging through the pages of Tiger Beat. And for a few hours I felt like I was hip and, mostly, totally, in love.

BONUS PHOTOS:

Another 70s find in an antique store that was closing for good on the day we shopped there.

A 70s bridal gown found in an antique store that was closing for good on the day I shopped there.

Love that cobalt blue in glassware showcased at Diamonds in the RUST.

Love that cobalt blue in glassware showcased at Diamonds in the RUST.

The whimsical design of these elephant glasses (shot glasses/juice glasses?) caught my fancy at Diamonds in the RUST.

The whimsical design of these elephant glasses (shot glasses/juice glasses?) caught my fancy at Diamonds in the RUST.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

38 Responses to “Shopping for antiques in St. Peter is like way cool”

  1. chefconnie Says:

    That tiger beat mag is hilarious. My older sisters used to read it.

  2. McGuffy Ann Says:

    This is way cool!

  3. Jackie Says:

    A nice visual down memory lane, especially the “teen beat” magazine. I remember being soooooo in love with Davey jones! I love that wedding dress, i really think my niece would wear that in her wedding (minus the sleeves), it’s right down her ally, too bad she already has her dress 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That wedding dress was in the antique store that was closing. But, I believe most of the merchandise was being relocated to another community, another store. I think antique, thrift and second-hand shops would be a good shopping source for brides-to-be. I bet your niece found a beautiful dress that suits her perfectly.

  4. Beth Ann Says:

    Great trip down memory lane—–I recognized many items that were familiar to me. I never had that sweater but I remember the look!!! And the Monkees were more of my sister’s fav—mine was Donny Osmond. 🙂

  5. treadlemusic Says:

    Antique shops are such treasures on so many levels! I agree with others…that wedding dress is awesome (and minus the sleeves would be very ‘today’!). Part of the charm of such places is the “trip down memory lane” that they evoke. Whether good, or not, they become quiet serene ‘islands’ amidst the business of the ‘Walmarts’ of today. Memories of the department stores of years ago with the wood floors, the mysterious “beep” codes that would summon(?) the appropriate assistance, the luncheon area (possibly located on the “mezzanine”), paperwork sent by pneumatic tube systems and that elevator with an ever present attendant (w/ stool) ready to take you on a clattery trip to the floor/basement level you desired. Handkerchiefs purchased for that special grandma which would be carefully arranged in a clever cardboard “envelope” for that special presentation!!……and so on………’Thanks for the memories’…………….

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I loved reading your comments, Doreen, because you caused me to remember things, like the cash tubes, that I hadn’t thought about in awhile. When I moved to Faribault 31 years ago, Ochs Department Store was still in business. Randy rented the tux for our wedding there.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        There are many things I wouldn’t want in place now but there are those that cause me to wonder what today’s generation/young ppl will consider their “treasured memories”!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Beanie Babies? Care Bears? Those are two toys that come to mind. Who knows how the world will change by the time they are old enough to appreciate the past?

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Cabbage Patch Kids/Babies?????

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Of course, Cabbage Patch Kids. And trolls, how about trolls?

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Never was one for those….ya know, “3 Billie Goat Gruff” and bridges and all that!!!!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. Well, I love trolls.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Trolls/gnomes are a big deal here in Norwegian country!!!!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        OK, I need more specifics. Do any communities in your area showcase trolls/gnomes? I’m thinking photo ops here.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        You’ll have to wait for summer for that and think “Decorah”, IA! Remind me again. Both that town and Spring Grove, MN, have a goodly number of wood carvers that that is their “thing” (Think “Travelosity gnome”).

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Got it. I’ve been to Spring Grove, but many, many years ago and must have missed the gnomes. My second daughter has told me, “Mom, you would love Decorah.”

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Lots to see in Spring Grove. In May it’s “Syttende Mai” and in Oct. it’s “Uffda Fest”. The second event includes a quilt/vendor/demo show in the “Fest” building. I am one of the gals doing demos (quilting, of course). I am sure Spring Grove’s city site has info up regarding both. We, also, have a quilt display (in the library) at the May event. Decorah is a gorgeous college town with a great Norwegian museum and quilt shop (hehe) and restaurants!!!!!!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Thanks for the travel tips. Both sound like wonderful places to visit. Spring road trip.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        May 17th thu the 19th. I have a family obligation on the 18th but will be there (quilt show) the 19th. The warmer months are very busy, indeed!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Ah, yes, that weekend is already filled for me.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        And so it goes!!! in these quiet rural areas!!!

  6. That cobalt glass caught my eye – Great Places to Explore – thanks for sharing:) Happy Thursday!

  7. So great – I can’t believe I haven’t stopped there! There’s a Swedish shop I love on that street and a kitchen store next door, but I’ve never gone antiquing there – silly me!

  8. Jolene Bergner Says:

    Hi Mom – another of Audrey’s blogs. St. Peter sounds like a good place to spend a little time.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, I’d highly recommend a visit to St. Peter. We missed so much that a second visit is in order. Did you know Keith K., your former neighbor, lives in St. Peter? Need to look him up next time.


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