Chicago Exploration: The Brown Elephant
By Sabrina Turman
Chameleon Staff Writer
It occurred to me the other day that while I live in one of the most famous cities in the country, I don’t spend a lot of time exploring it. I am either in Rogers Park going to class and studying, or I am downtown at Water Tower Campus doing essentially the same activities, throwing in a trip to Water Tower Place every once in awhile.
As a sophomore, I found this thought rather unsettling. And that’s when I realized it…I am a victim to the Loyola bubble.
Well, no more!
I am pleased to say, in my efforts to explore the city, I was triumphant.
Upon entering the shop, I was greeted with the thought that I could find hidden treasures for a cheap price, something essential to a college student.
The space had a charm that immediately put me at ease; the exposed brick walls and piping, worn warehouse floor, and faded neon yellow walls beckoned me to explore the items haphazardly placed all around.
In the center of the store were dilapidated couches and futons, making me wish I had known about this place before my own futon purchase last fall. I meandered over to the multiple shelves of mismatched plates, bowls, mugs, and silverware, and then gazed upon the dusty vintage mirrors and men’s old smoking jackets.
Seriously, this place is a hoarder’s dream.
Shelves and bookshelves took up a whole quarter of the store. Some of the titles were familiar, but a lot of them weren’t, and I could have spent ample amounts of time picking some out, especially since they were priced at a single dollar. I was also drawn to the collection of records and cardboard boxes filled with old CDs. In fact, my purchases included an old Alanis Morissette album, as well as INXS’ greatest hits—both for just a dollar, I might add.
But by far the best item I stumbled upon was an old mannequin, which had clearly seen better days, although her makeup was still flawless. However, this mannequin lacked hands, which made me wonder exactly where this odd thing had come from. It clearly had a story and probably an interesting one, because you don’t lose extremities over nothing.
Also, I was curious as to why someone had decided this would be a worthwhile object to donate. It’s not as if anyone is out salvaging for dismembered mannequins.
And if there is, then who am I to judge? There’s a reason the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” exists, and this is a prime example.
My adventure was a success, and I left feeling content with how I spent my Saturday afternoon.
I am eager to see what else this city has to offer and can only hope that my ventures include more intriguing encounters similar to the mystery behind the mannequin.
To contact Sabrina Turman, email her at email@example.com.