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.
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.
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.
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.
Then she switched off an overhead light and I understood her thinking.
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.
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.
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.
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:
FYI: Check back for photos from Jim’s Antiques and Collectibles, another Lonsdale shop I visited.
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling