Monday, June 25, 2007

The Flea

I sold my crafts at the Chilmark Flea Market on Martha's Vineyard for almost ten years in the 90's. The show ran every Wednesday and Saturday from June to October. The first year I did it was tough. It was not a juried show, per se, but you had to get past the twins, two ladies from the church who had the power to reject you if they didn't like your attitude. I was young, which was a strike against me, and selling a lot of jewelry, which, as many of you know, is always in abundance at shows and makes it hard to get in as a vendor.

Mom and I would get up so early it would still be dark. She would make egg salad sandwiches and we'd pack the car with tables, chairs, an umbrella and my little duffel bag of goods. The roads were quiet at that time of the day and the 15 mile drive up island was idyllic. The sun would be up by then and we were able to enjoy the old stone walls and sheep pastures, the grape vines and picket fences without the terror of a tourist bus hurtling around blind corners on the narrow winding road. Birds who were not expecting traffic for some hours would look up from their clatches in the middle of the asphalt and petulantly walk to the side. We were not playing by the rules.

We had to be there early, it was first come first served. At 6:30 we'd line up and try not to look like trouble makers. One of the identical twins was nice and one was a ball buster. But I got into every show and set up my card tables with my tiny offering.

After that first year, I was considered a "regular" and I earned a permanent spot up on the hill under an old shade tree. Fragrant honeysuckle would tumble over the stone wall behind us. Mom set up under an umbrella and drew pictures of the scene. She loves being "backstage".

We would celebrity watch, baby watch, we made friends with the other vendors, it was quite a scene! The hardest thing I've ever done, too. So exhausting. We'd pack up to leave at 2:30, get home despite those buses coming at us on the wrong side of the yellow line, and I would sleep so deeply, a wad of wrinkled bills safely tucked in an envelope in the bureau drawer.


  1. All true!!!Beautifully written. Make me cry, why don't you?
    So touching,so sweet.
    Love, Mom

  2. Ah well, didn't mean to make you cry there. Thanks for being my co-pilot for all those fleas!

    Love you, Liz

  3. That is such a great post, full of good humor and nostalgia!

  4. What a lovely post... and I thought that was a pic of your sister.. till i read.. you young thing you!

  5. 1993! I think I'm better looking now, so funny.

    They still hold the Flea, but not in the field next to the white wooden church, it's moved up the road to a different field with more trees. We go as tourists every summer to hug our old vendor friends (and gossip about the ones that drove us nuts!)

  6. I enjoyed reading your story! I live on the Vineyard and Chilmark is so beautiful- always enjoy the flea market and artisans show.

  7. Hi Megan, I saw your shop on Etsy because you posted in a forum. I have previously convo'd with Moderncard too! I miss MV, mom and dad are there 6 months, I'll be down in August!

  8. Wow, was that visually written! I could see all of it. Thank you for the touching story.