Susan Dromey Heeter's Budget Vogue: A word scrapbook of column memories

By SUSAN DROMEY HEETER August 19. 2017 2:24AM


Scrapbooking is to me is what thrift shopping is to my husband: something foreign, distant and vaguely confusing. I have never made a scrapbook, but am entirely in awe of those who do create these legacies of memories, capture time and showcase beautiful words, thoughts, moments.

I'd like to scrapbook a bit today - simply in black and white with words - to showcase some of the highlights of my Budget Vogue columns, ones that warm my heart with memories of time and place.

My very first column showcased a pair of Gucci boots I found at Wonderland Thrift Store, now in Stratham. At the time, Wonderland was located in Exeter and the boots were in a box of shoes located in the back. I tried for days to get those boots over my thick calves but to no avail. I ended up selling those $2 boots on EBay for $300. Score.

But my favorite score on that column? Walking around Full Circle Thrift Shop in Kittery, Maine, and hearing a woman say, "I just read about a woman who found a pair of Gucci boots for two dollars and sold them on EBay." I was flabbergasted and approached the woman and said, "That was me!" I felt I had arrived. If I did scrapbook, I'd put a picture of her in there. She made my day. Someone read this Budget Vogue column. I was amazed.

When I first started writing Budget Vogue, I was a brunette. My hair was as dark as it had been since the day I was born. Alas, for decades that hair color came out of a bottle. The column I wrote about going gray was one that seemed to resonate with quite a few readers.

My hair is entirely silver now and very often I'm asked about the process. I refer readers to my column where I'd imagined Oprah interviewing me. If I scrapbooked? I'd cut out the front of a Nice 'n Easy box and put a big "X" through it. And then maybe I'd put a strand of my gray hair under the plastic.

My life this summer has involved quite a few trips to New York City. I've written about Manhattan on a budget, and I recall the first time I wrote about trekking down to Gotham with my girls - who were 7 and 11 at the time.

At this writing, my 17-year-old has spent the entire summer in NYC and I've had a myriad of opportunities to visit. If I scrapbooked, I'd put the tickets to "Book of Mormon" we just won via the pre-show lottery for $30 each. Front row. We were so close we witnessed sweat, saw the tiny microphones the performers wear on their foreheads, had absolutely no obstruction. Brilliance. I bask in the glory of continuing to trek to the Big Apple on a dime.

Budget Vogue has been a venue to share not only the joy of thrift shopping but the joy of frugality and simplicity - shopping at Market Basket, celebrating my late dear friend, Joan Ryan, as the "Matriarch of the Repurposed," hyperventilating at the 700-Family Yard Sale held in Durham year after year. I'd scrapbook a picture of the ganache cake of Market Basket - perhaps with a picture of Artie T.

As I write, this scrapbook in my head looks delightful and I hope you readers may enjoy the walk down memory lane. At some point, ideally I will gather these columns, these "best ofs" and compile them in a book. I invite you to let me know any you might enjoy seeing between its covers.

Best for a lovely end of August. I'll scrapbook my memories of your lovely notes and comments.

Susan Dromey Heeter lives and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at dromeheet@comcast.net. Budget Vogue appears monthly in the Sunday News.


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