ABOVE, Green Laker reporter Hanna Tetzlaff shows off her new purchase: a snap-on bracelet with three interchangeable centerpieces. Left, Tetzlaff had no idea what to make of the water/oil atomizer. Hannah Tetzlaff and submitted photos
By Hannah Tetzlaff
It was a fantastic maze; one I would never try to escape from or mind being lost in.
Instead of branches and green shrubbery, the labyrinth was made of booths and tables laden with vintage, antique and hand-crafted wares, along with addicting food.
I could have spent hours exploring all the mysteries and wonders of that maze, also known as the Princeton Flea Market.
Venturing into the Saturday morning market was like entering into a maze; it seemed deceptively small on the outside, but once you entered, you had no idea what you were in for.
My goal that day was to visit all the booths at the market and find the oldest and most unique item there; however, I soon realized how naïve I was when I saw just how large the market actually was.
There must have been more than 40 vendors selling their goods ranging from clothing, hand-crafted jewelry, China ware, collectible dolls, hotel bedding sets, fresh vegetables and fruits to Amish baked goods, geode rocks and furniture.
There was everything under the sun including items you never knew existed. Trust me when I say I found a few of those.
One of my remarkable finds happened to be at the first table I visited.
It was what appeared to be an old perfume dispenser or some kind of squirt bottle.
I was confused about its purpose until the vendor explained it is a water/essential oil atomizer, which people would use when they were sick.
They would fill the little tube with fragrant oil and spritz it around their neck and chest to help them recover from their sickness.
Knowing how much I love history, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon — at the same table as the atomizer — a chain mail glove that looked like it would fit in nicely with the Medieval Age.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Had the sun’s rays finally fried my brain? Was this a mirage?
I asked the vendor if it was what I thought it to be; “Could this be some medieval chain mail gauntlet?” And “Could such a thing be found at a local flea market?”
It wasn’t an old gauntlet, but instead, a butcher’s glove.
It protected the butcher’s hand as he sliced the meat.
The vendor commented it also would make a nice driving glove, which made me wonder what kind of driving one did to need such a glove.
At the next table I discovered a 1970s military gas mask. Who knew you could have access to such an item, let alone buy it crazy cheap at flea market?
I’m surprised it wasn’t in a military museum.
As I continued my explorations, I found more mind-boggling items such as an old kerosene-fueled road flasher, a factory conveyor belt scale and cups shaped like the heads of historical figures.
One of my favorite discoveries though had to be the ammo jewelry.
There were rings, necklaces and bracelets fashioned out of bullet casings.
Vendors created the jewelry as a way to show there could be another use for bullets, which I thought — as a fellow artist — was poetic.
They were taking an object that some despise and believe to be ugly and were transforming it into something beautiful.
Though there were so many items that caught my eye, I limited myself to buying only one strawberry Danish and a snap-on bracelet.
The Danish was made from organic ingredients and tasted like a treat you would find alongside some crumpets at an authentic English tea party.
I performed my first magic trick and made the Danish disappear within 20 steps. Yum!
The snap-on bracelet intrigued me because the main decorative piece was interchangeable, meaning you could make the bracelet match any outfit, so I got three “bracelets” for the price of one.
Though I spent hours at the market, wandering around — and in some cases, going in circles — I was reluctant to leave because there was so much more I wanted to see.
Next time, I’ll go before the market is even open, so I don’t lose a minute of exploring that one-of-a-kind maze.