Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bargain Blanket

A tip from a Facebook friend (a high school classmate I haven't seen in 40 years) led Doug and me to a flea market at a local senior center this morning.

We arrived early in the hope of catching things as they were brought out of the building. At first, we saw a lot of holiday decorations, craft supplies, and toys, which didn't interest us much, but I soon spied what I thought was a Hudsons Bay blanket, with the traditional dark green, bright red, egg-yolk yellow, and indigo stripes at both ends:

It was marked $2.

I grabbed it and hunted for a tag to confirm my find.

But the label indicated that the blanket was made by Pendleton, and it was marked "Glacier Park Blanket."  I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a Hudsons Bay, but at $2--less than the cost of a large ice tea at Panera--I figured it was still a deal.

When I got home, I immediately googled it and was surprised to get a lesson in Americana.

In the early 1900s, Oregon-based Pendleton began to make blankets similar to the Canadian-made Hudsons Bay blankets, which had been made for trading with the Indians.  The blankets were also sold at gift shops and lodges in national parks. 

In 1915, Great Northern Railroad's founder, James J. Hill, asked Pendleton to create a blanket for him to sell at his Glacier Park Lodge. The company made the Hudsons Bay look-alike for Glacier Park and then went on to make a series of different blankets for a number of other parks, which are still made and sold today. The label on ours places it sometime between the 1930s and 1960s.  

New ones sell for up to $218 depending on size, and I found a vintage one on Etsy that had more patches than blanket, with an asking price of $149....

I also found this cool 1940s ad for a Glacier Park Blanket:

The woman is happy because the ad says this blanket is going to last "for the rest of her life," and I guess that just might be true.

Now, Doug may think that because this post is about a blanket and not a project, he's going to be invisible this time.

Wrong. A man who looks like Doug is never invisible.

My FB friend, Jean, was out of town and couldn't go to the sale, but she called one of the women at the senior center, Micki, to let her know that I would be coming.  Micki spotted me right away and came up and mentioned Jean's name. We chatted for a minute and then Micki went off to put out more merchandise and set up her cashbox. I was a little puzzled as to how she had identified me so quickly, but I didn't give it much thought as we picked through boxes for more treasures.

We met up with Micki again about an hour later when it was time to check out. We paid her and as we were saying good-bye, she called out, "It was nice to meet you--and you too, Santa."

Ah, now I got it.  Jean had seen pictures of Doug on FB, and she must have told Micki to look for a woman whose husband looks like Santa. 

Sorry, Doug, incognito just doesn't work for a big guy with a white beard, blue eyes, and wire-rim glasses.

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