Visit our Online Flea Market!

October 17, 2012

 "Speckled pups!" called out the farmer.
"Smart speckled pups for sale."

Do you remember when you first became interested in flea markets?  My obsession interest started at a very young age, around 5 or 6.

Living in north Alabama, we had relatives spread throughout the area and spent Sunday afternoons driving throughout the countryside visiting family.  Those trips often resulted in a drive through Scottsboro, a small town that still retains its homey atmosphere.

Like many Southern towns, Scottsboro conducted a monthly 1st Monday event on the square where farmers came into town to trade, barter and sell.  The market actually began on the Sunday before and you could buy just about anything there - guns, produce, hunting dogs, chickens, churns, crafts.

Daddy would give us a dollar to spend which we thought was a kingly sum. Hand carved wood toys, homemade fried pies, baby chicks, marbles - the choices seemed endless and my brother and I tediously deliberated over our purchases.   In the end
he usually bought at least one arrowhead for our father and I would settle on a flour sack tea towel or pot holder for Mom.

One of the most fascinating things I remember from the market was seeing my first memory jug.  Ever heard of them?  Theories speculate that memory jugs originated during the 19th Century in the southern Appalachian states and were often used as grave markers by the poor
who couldn't afford a tombstone.  Other historians theorize that they were a post-Civil War arts and crafts form of an early scrapbook originating in Africa.  

Everyday items were adhered to a clay jug with plaster or river mud, small mementos of loved ones.  Each was unique and gaudily beautiful in its own right.  I was fascinated by the tiny treasures that were forever frozen in time.

                                Appalachian History                           Purple Palette Artists

 The jug to the left is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.   Many historians speculate that the resurgence of memory jugs as an art form during the 1920s and
   30s was a result of the Depression.  Collectors today can expect to pay hundreds
   of dollars for an authentic jug.

Although I have vivid recollections of the fried pies and the memory jug, the smart speckled pups won my heart.

Maybe that's why we have a smart speckled pup today.


  1. Hi Jan, Just a few minutes ago . . . I added you to my front page blog-list . . . then I double checked to see if your blog popped up on the list . . . and there was this new post. I said I'd be back . . . You must have been typing your post as I was typing my last comment, LOL.
    I love this post and all the research that you put into it. It's very interesting. Bravo!
    Have an incredibly wonderful day, Connie :)

    1. Thanks, Connie! I've compared blogging to writing a mini-term paper every day - it really hones your writing skills and you learn something new everyday. Thanks for posting me in your blog list! -- Jan

  2. I never heard of the memory jugs -- aren't they wild? Your little speckled pup looks pretty comfortable there!

  3. You know, I have seen these in art collections and in museums before and always thought them rather vulgar, moving by quickly! But to know a little history behind them, puts me to my shame! What a lovely notion :) "treasures frozen in time" is so very apt!

    Your little pup is very cute too ;)

    1. Memory jugs are kind of like goofus glass - it's not for everyone! What appeals to me about the memory jugs is the personal items that are cemented into time. Were the trinkets owned by the person the jug is in memory of or did they belong to the crafter? Definitely going to study them a little more. -- Jan

  4. Thank you, so much Jan. If you would like to share it on your before and after, I would love that. Thank you, for your sweet comment.

    Su J

  5. Okay I love the speckled dog the best too. Now did you buy a memory jar back then? It would be worth $$$ now. I have never heard of them. Love to go thrfting. Sandie♥

    I would love if you took work verification off - I have such troulbe reading them. LOL .Love, sandie

    1. Unfortunately, I've never owned a memory jug but I'm fascinated by them - they're such personal walks through the past.

  6. I never heard of memory jugs..thanks for sharing, I found it very interesting. A lovely idea :)

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