Mari Plamondon grabs a rusty looking contraption off a shelf and wonders if kids would even know what it is.
“This is a turn-of-the-century egg beater,” she says before giving it a spin. “Still works great.”
The suspect kitchen appliance is among many knick-knacks and oddities of the past now being sold off at Wait’s News. Plamondon said the purge has become a sad necessity after the 82-year-old diner was notified it would be evicted from its building by Dec. 31.
The trinkets behind the diner’s bar slowly filled the shelves over the years. There has been a bit of everything: vintage cameras, glass bottles, tins (one of which, Plamondon points out, still has cocoa inside she estimates is 50 years old), hockey memorabilia, 8-track tapes, various toy cars and figures.
Then there’s the weird stuff. She takes a random item off the shelf and shows it to a Star reporter, who has no idea what it is. It turns out to be a piece used inside an electrical transformer.
Why is it even on the shelf? Well, why not?
“I love those things that nobody knows what they are,” she says.
Many of the items predate the Plamondons taking ownership of Wait’s in 2009. Others were donated by patrons who wanted to contribute to the diner’s hodgepodge of 20th century history dating back to its original opening in 1937.
“People come and sit and eat here and they look, because it’s like a mini-museum in here,” says Plamondon. “They look at all this stuff and say, ‘I’ve got one of those in my basement.’ We’ve probably got 10 times more bottles than we did when we bought the store. It’s like an archive. People just kept bringing us stuff.”
Some items have been placed for sale on the now empty magazine rack. Others, Plamondon said, will slowly be added over time, except the cameras and Greyhound items. Plamondon and her husband Jim previously operated Nelson’s Greyhound depot, which closed for good last year, and she’s considering donating those memories to Touchstones Museum.
But before the final grilled cheese sandwich is sold, the iconic shelves will be empty.
“We can’t necessarily take everything with us,” says Plamondon. “It all has to go somewhere.”