Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Ava Gardner Museum

Yesterday Kristin and I decided that we should drive an hour or so to nearby Smithfield, North Carolina, so that I could visit their local attraction (other than the outlet malls):

Ava Gardner Museum (2)

The Ava Gardner Museum.

I've been hearing about this museum from Kristin for several months, starting with a phone call:

"Hey, I was out driving around, and I saw this museum for that old movie star lady you like!"

"Which one?" There's a Bette Davis museum?

"It was a short name... I think it started with an L..."

"Lana Turner?" I'd go to a Lana Turner museum. I started googling while we were still on the phone. "There isn't a Lana Turner museum in North Carolina. I don't think there's a Lana Turner museum at all."

"Are you sure? It was a museum, and they had a sign and everything."

"Where were you?"


"Google says there's an Ava Gardner Museum."

"Yes! Ava Gardner! She was a movie star, right?"

"Yes..." Now, I can guarantee that Kristin has never in her life seen an Ava Gardner film, or if she has she has no idea who was in it. "Remember The Aviator? With Leonardo DiCaprio? And that scene where he was all hermit and creepy and peeing in the jars, and he had to go testify, and Kate Beckinsale has to go in and convince him to shave and clean up?"


"She's playing Ava Gardner."

I know it's a horrible example, and probably an insult to the long career of Ava Gardner, but it was the most recent example that I could think of. Using examples like that is probably one of the reasons why a few months ago I also had to explain to Kristin that Joan Crawford isn't actually starring in Mommie Dearest. I am part of the problem.

Anyway, we were met with slight disappointment when we reached the museum.

Ava Gardner Museum (3)

I knew that would happen.

"It's closed?"

"Yes. I told you when we were going to dinner that the museum closed at five."

"Like we listen to everything the other one says when we talk."

She has a point. I've tuned out a number of stories about her job this weekend. We still looked around a little:

Ava Gardner Museum (1)

Me and the Ava Gardner Museum

We were late to the museum because we spent our day doing other things.

First, before we got on the road to Smithfield, we stopped by the Salvation Army, which we missed during our thrift store tour of town the day before. I don't give money to the Salvation Army due to their abysmal track record on LGBT issues, but I guess I'm willing to buy things from them, because Kristin spotted this:

Shenandoah 401

and it was only three dollars. Shenandoah (released in 1981) isn't normally a Pyrex pattern that I collect, but the 401 is a handy size to have in the kitchen (good for beating a couple of eggs, a single serving of soup, etc.) so I picked it up. Kristin bought a stovetop popcorn popper pan, the fancy kind with the hinged lid and a crank to turn the popcorn inside, and then we got on the road to Smithfield.

Which we detoured off of, because of me.

See, as we were driving along, I saw a billboard for the Selma, North Carolina Antique Mall, "The Largest Antique Mall in the South".

"You want to stop?"

"Yes! Yesyesyesyes!"

So we stopped.

And, oh my God... The Pyrex:

vintage pyrex (1)

Booth after booth of Pyrex:

vintage pyrex (2)

So much Pyrex that in some of the booths they organized it by color, shelf after shelf of Pyrex moving through the many shades of the rainbow. And after a few hours at the antique mall, and booth after booth of reasonably priced (in some cases shockingly underpriced) Pyrex, you're probably wondering how much I bought, and if it will all fit in my car.

Well, here's my massive Pyrex haul from the antique mall:

Early American 441

Early American 441, in gold on brown, which means it is the dip bowl from the Early American chip and dip set.

That's it.

They had a lot of Pyrex, but not a lot of any of the things that I was looking for. This is one of the few non-extremely-rare pieces I was still missing from my Early American set. Early American is my jam:

Early American (1)

My Pyrex jam:

Early American (2)

and now that I have this piece all I'm missing is the 404 mixing bowl (which I could buy online but refuse to pay fifty dollars for), a lid for my 503 refrigerator dish, and the brown on white 963 (I have the gold leaf on brown version in middle of the stack in the second photo above). Everything else in Early American is really, really hard to find and expensive (the 4 quart roaster, the shallow square dish, a gold leaf on brown 443) and will probably never be part of my collection unless there is a magical lucky find somewhere, someday in the wild.

For yesterday, though, I got my six dollar 441, so I was pleased.

We also did a little bit of shopping in downtown Selma, which is pretty much all antique stores:

Selma, NC

and I found another treasure:

Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero

Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero

The Spider-Man rock opera from 1975, on vinyl.

Now I'll have to get a copy of the CD, so I can listen to it.

So, yeah, after we did antiquing and thrifting and outlet shopping and then had a late lunch/early dinner (Did you know that Cracker Barrel has a light menu? If you didn't, you probably don't want to.) the Ava Gardner Museum was, sadly, closed.

Maybe some other time.

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