Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Bingo, bordellos and a shopkeeper named Audre August 11, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Audre's Attic, 102 Main Street, Suite 6, in Lonsdale is in a mishmash of rooms in a building next to the Lonsdale Chamber of Commerce.

Audre’s Attic, 102 Main Street, Suite 6, is in a mishmash of rooms in a building next to the Lonsdale Area Chamber of Commerce. Shop hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday – Saturday.

I LOVE A SHOPKEEPER who can talk bingo and bordellos and attempt to persuade me to buy a vintage photo of unknown “relatives” all within the span of about a half hour.

An exterior sign marks Audre's shop.

An exterior sign marks Audre’s shop.

She is Audre, not Audrey, Johnson, owner of Audre’s Attic in Lonsdale. And on a recent Thursday evening, because the farmers’ market was open in this small southern Minnesota community, Audre’s shop was open later than normal. She was, though, about to lock the door when I arrived.

Audre Johnson loves to chat it up with customers. She talks with her hands while she talks. And lovely hands they are, too, with those patriotic red, white and blue polished fingernails.

Audre Johnson loves to chat it up with customers. She talks with her hands while she talks. And lovely hands they are, too, with those patriotic red, white and blue polished fingernails.

About her name. At age ten, when she learned to write cursive, Audrey determined, after an aunt misspelled her name, to drop the “y” and become just Audre. It suits this outspoken and friendly business woman with an engaging sense of humor.

The lamp Audre claims would suit a bordello. She's selling it on consignment for a friend.

The lamp Audre claims would suit a bordello. She’s selling it on consignment for a friend.

When I discovered an ornate lamp displayed on a corner table, Audre suggested it belonged in a bordello. I wondered if I’d heard right. I had, after all, only met this curator of antiques, collectibles and more miscellaneous junque.

The lamp really shown once the overhead light was switched off.

The lamp really shown once the overhead light was switched off.

Then she switched off an overhead light and I understood her thinking.

One of my favorite discoveries in Audre's Attic is this 1950s handcrafted bust. It's not for sale. Audre sold a duplicate, but only after a customer wore her down.

One of my favorite discoveries in Audre’s Attic is this vintage handcrafted bust. It’s not for sale. Audre sold a duplicate, but only after a customer wore her down.

She showed me a vintage hand-painted bust draped with a lace collar and a rabbit pull toy and a child’s toy Singer sewing machine and a rope bed and bingo cards.

Underneath the top bingo card is the bingo card photo frame Audre crafted. And below that is a notebook where customers can jot down items they are searching for.

Underneath the stack of bingo cards is the bingo card photo frame Audre crafted. And below that is a notebook where customers can jot down items they are searching for.

About those bingo cards. A friend told her selling gambling related merchandise is illegal. True or not, Audre wasn’t gambling. She cut a bingo card into a frame, inserted a photo and, ta-da, she’s selling a picture frame.

The sales tag on this vintage photo reads, "Need relatives?"

The sales tag on this vintage photo reads, “Need relatives?”

Despite her best efforts, Audre did not persuade me to purchase a framed sepia photo of a handsome couple. I told her I already had enough family.

Audre's office and display space merge in this room.

Audre’s office and display space merge in this room.

And that’s how things flowed, with Audre inserting wit into conversation like we were long-time friends rather than two women who’d just met.

#

BONUS PHOTOS of select merchandise in Audre’s Attic:

 

Audre's Attic, hat on yellow head

 

Audre's Attic, jump rope

 

Audre's Attic, dollhouse

 

Audre's Attic, hallway displays

 

Audre's Attic, bowls

 

Audre's Attic, horse

 

Audre's Attic, sign on floor

 

FYI: Check back for photos from Jim’s Antiques and Collectibles, another Lonsdale shop I visited.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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22 Responses to “Bingo, bordellos and a shopkeeper named Audre”

  1. I find those vintage photos almost irresistible. I’ve managed to amass quite a few baby photos over the years. Thanks for the tour.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Love going to shops like this and meeting folks like Audre. It was nice she stayed open for you to chat a bit and I bet there were some teapots in there someplace, right? I would have found one at least.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    Despite her best efforts, Audre did not persuade me to purchase a framed sepia photo of a handsome couple. I told her I already had enough family.

    I tried that line about having enough family once, but the shop owner said, “Yeah, but these people are respectable.” Se had me there.

  4. Jenny Says:

    I find those stores and people so fun and interesting! I wonder what the history of that lamp is. How much was she asking? 😉

  5. Oh the Treasures in there – the lamp would certainly make a statement! I try to remind myself to peruse and not buy in places with treasures or I could become a hoarder of dishware. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  6. I seriously WANT that hutch in the forth picture. I have been looking for one to fill with yarn. I had one of those Fisher Price houses as a child. Great pictures.

  7. Jackie Says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time chatting it up with Audre! I love those yellow bowls and how the rocking horse is all “decked-out”.

  8. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    Yes, I think that lamp could go in a bordello. I really like those Pyrex bowls!

  9. Thanks so much for visiting Audre’s Attic. Do believe I should hire you to promote my shop. Great pictures and words you have. Please do stop by again when you are in Lonsdale or area. Loved viewing your insights into our mainstreet! Have added a set of pyrex in the gooseberry pattern since you visited.


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