After “25 years or better,” Old Skinner, owner of Weekend Treasures in Birdseye, Ind., has a system for stocking his eclectic conglomeration of merchandise.
Wherever it falls is where it goes. “Generally if I’ve got it and somebody comes in and asks for it I can find it. If nobody’s moved it,” he said. “If they have, you just hunt until you find it.”
New stuff and old stuff sit on shelves, hang on hooks or balance on the worn hardwood floor in precarious piles. Ax handles, fishing rods, fiddles and flashlights make up a small sample of items Skinner offers.
“I was always fascinated with flashlights. When I was a kid we didn’t have electricity. (Light bulbs) were a bright light compared to a kerosene light or kerosene lantern in the middle of the room. So I just always accumulated ’em. I’m not a serious collector. I’ve probably got a half-a-pickup bed full if I got ’em all gathered up. Everybody’s got to have a hobby or habit or something, I guess.”
It was a move to the big city of Birdseye that saw the then-5-year-old electrified.
“When we moved to the bright lights,” he joked. “It was kinda impressive to be able to walk over there and turn that little thing or pull that little chain and the light came on in the middle of the room. I thought that was pretty high tech when you could walk over to the door and flip a switch and the light would come on over here.”