Odd Neck: Pick of the Litter
By: Erica Szuplat, April 18, 2012
As a kid, I loved rummaging around the unusual, the weird and the just plain old items at Dick and Ellie’s Flea Market in Mashpee.
To my mother’s chagrin, I once brought home a hulking adding machine. My interest in the metal beast, weighing about ten thousand pounds, must have mystified her.
Eventually, I gave it up, but the mechanical matrix of buttons still fascinates me.
By the time I was in my teens, Dick and Ellie’s had been replaced by the South Cape Village and my parents had invested in an IBM. But I was still tapping away on my mother’s blue electric suitcase typewriter from the 70s.
I love objects that have history, and shopping for items with character can be inexpensive off-season fun, too. It’s also an easy way to add charm to your home and decorate on a budget.
Some of my favorite pieces were salvaged locally. From a closing bookshop, I acquired a rolling Cotterman oak library ladder with iron wheels. Hanging on our walls is a wooden carving of a golden dragon, trimmed in bright red and green enamel from the old Peking Palace. A friend passed along a swivel stool picked up during a Dunkin’ Donuts renovation.
Several larger items were acquired from the fantastic New England Demolition and Salvage. From their literal acres of stock, we bought a claw foot tub to pair with an old pedestal sink from my plumber father’s personal stash. A stainless steel Tracy sink with a retro red oval logo on the backsplash from the 40s or 50s became our kitchen sink.
Once conveniently located in Wareham, NEDS has since moved to New Bedford, but you don’t have to go far to seek out unusual items these days. Big or small, kitschy or mod, you just have to keep your eyes peeled.
My new favorite place is right in my neighborhood.
Pick of the litter
Located in the heart of East Falmouth, Cape Cod Pickers is owner Fred “Junior” Miranda’s first shop, and it’s no surprise he also used to sell at Dick and Ellie’s. He progressed to buying storage units and now procures merchandise from home and estate sales.
You can’t miss the white, red and yellow bread truck parked in front of CCP, or the welcoming stuffed bears amid the paraphernalia displayed on the front porch.
Miranda is committed to making sure that customers “relax when they’re shopping” and the fun and friendly vibe is evident in little touches, like burning incense and Chicago Transit Authority playing on vinyl.
He knows that it’s “hard to spend money these days,” and says he caters to clients who are “younger, older, or just starting out.” Because his is not a consignment shop, he can offer items at a great value.
Another man's treasure
Inside, a cast-iron antique Corona stove and a stack of 45s from the early 60s caught my eye. I was amused by the retro illustrations in a school reader, as well as a wooden ruler made by the Kayem Meat Corp. bearing the slogan “Make It Your Rule To Graduate From School.”
I tried to decipher the purpose of what appeared to be a 3-foot tall barrel wine press, and I purchased a sturdy kitchen side table with drawer and casters for under $20.
Whether you desire a bargain, a conversation piece, or simply a rainy day activity, CCP is worth the stop.
Or, visit Dick and Ellie’s. Turns out, they are now located in South Dennis, starting weekends this season on May 19.