Louie and I spent many a Saturday at the Englishtown, New Jersey flea market. We would meet before dawn and drive down Rt 33 in his light blue Simca. In the early 1970's the dealers at Englishtown dealt mostly in used, unwanted stuff. Other than farmers selling fresh produce, the only new merchandise to be consistently found there were wigs sold by Koreans.
We rarely bought anything, we went to photograph what inspiried us and laugh at the rest. The bags of rusty nails. The broken dolls. The dirty clothes. The people. Two people in particular stand out.
One was an older man, in his 50's. He was a regular dealer, one of the outside ones. Very good natured, he was always shouting out to buyers strolling past his truck and tables. The day in question was a bitter cold, winter morning. While the rest of the dealers drank hot coffee and pounded their feet trying to warm themselves, this industrious gentleman was to be found laying down on one of his couches, covered with blankets, yelling at his son to feed the fire in the 55 gallon drum at his feet.
The other person whom most sticks in my memory was a woman. Actually, I can't remember anything whatsoever about her. Just her story. She'd arrived before dawn, after a hard rain the night before. Her car, a big old relic from Detroit, got stuck in the mud behind her booth. No big deal she thought. She hadn't figured on the cold front moving in. By the time Louie and I walked past, she was near tears. The mud was now frozen solid. Halfway up her hubcaps.