Sunday, August 30, 2009

Recommendation for your next adventure ... if you're brave enough!

Imagine this blog post as part review, part scary, scary ghost story. I'll let you decide which. Come with me to Laredo, where there is a creepy old complex of buildings and patios that have fallen into disrepair. Even they admit it is an "overwhelming maze."

At one time, it was a bustling store, chock-full of treasures from Old Mexico: Mexican rustic furnishings, old doors, religious folk art, primitive antiques, trunks galore. Now, bustling is not a word you would use to describe it, but it is a scavenger's paradise.

First, you have to call ahead and someone will open it up for you. Kind of makes you feel special: who doesn't like to be "VIP"? But what are you walking into? A trap? So far, I've made it out alive. Once you're inside, you have to venture past the first room to find the good stuff ... if you're brave enough. You must wander from room to room, inside and out. But watch out! A lizard may scare you half to death. A random worker might pop out from behind a door. Where did he come from? Prepare to sweat.

I made it a point to watch for snakes. I mean who knows: It's Laredo. And hotter than hell, and dusty. Weeds were growing among the iron pieces. There was an old truck from the thirties or forties, like my Papa used to drive on the farm. The merchandise is stacked on top of each other, and hung from the ceiling, much like Rafael's in Nuevo Laredo used to be, back in the good old days. And, apparently, as in Mexico, the prices vary according to the mood of the proprietor and her assessment of the buyer. All that being said, aren't you intrigued? Would I even tell you about it if I didn't think it would make for an interesting adventure, where you just might find the absolute most perfect treasure you've been seeking for years?

For example, you never know when you might need a stuffed buffalo head.

I first discovered Oscar's Antiques about six or seven years ago. My brother had come upon it one day and called me from his cell phone to tell me I'd better get down to Laredo and check it out. So when my friend Kelly and I owned McQueeney Market, we went down there, and actually bought some things that we sold in our store, and other stuff that we bought for ourselves.
Flash forward six or seven years and a few kids later, my friend Wendy and I figured out how to get there on one of our trips down to Laredo looking for pieces for her nursing home remodel. It's still there, only now, given the ailing condition of Laredo because people are too scaredy-cat to venture that close to the border (big chickens!), you have to call a number (956.723.0765 or 956.723.7785) and the owner will come open the store for you. To get there, put 1002 Guadalupe St., Laredo, TX, 78040 in your GPS. I couldn't tell you how to get there because I've never gotten there the same way twice.

I thought these would make fantastic porch lights.

This piece of folk art was one of my favorites. Check it out: there's a guy on his deathbed, a couple of priests giving last rites, a crying wife, angels and devils. Pretty creepy. I really need that painting ... as a reminder, perhaps?

I loved the patina on these old doors. Wendy bought one of those oxen yoke things and it's hanging on the wall in Nesbit Living and Recovery Center, as art.

They have all kinds of angels and santos.

Tucked back in the corner ... do you see those wooden Our Lady of Guadalupe carvings? Look past the cliche Mexican rugs, next to those charming monks.

At Oscar's, you get the feeling that the primitive antiques might actually be antiques. At all the other Mexican rustic places, you know they're just made out of pine and then distressed. I always wonder where the stuff came from, whose house it was in, or whose house was torn down for the old doors and shutters ...

This set of old doors still includes the hardware and the door jamb. It's just sitting out there in the hot Laredo sun, being baked to death.
Loved these old rusty lights.
More doors. I like the ones with interesting color combinations like these with greeny blue and mustard yellow.

Outdoor statuary and pots.

This old cabinet would be great for extra storage.
I spied this table hanging from the ceiling. What a great island it would make in a kitchen.

See, I told you there were trunks galore. But what do you think is inside the trunks? Curious?
Seriously, the woman who runs Oscar's is very nice, and very accommodating. And I can almost promise that you'll be fine if you go there. I know you'll have a great time and you can't go without finding something you just must have.


Lavender Chick said...

When are we going?

Greyeyes said...

Sami, That's pretty cool. I love those hidden away places like that..

lpollard said...

Loved this post! Some of my most favorite treasures came from Oscar's!! Actually, I'd forgotten all about the place. I really do think a Laredo trip is in order!