From the collection of John and Barbra Kauffman.
This vintage 1984 photo shows John Kauffman sitting in his and wife, Barbra's (she's in the background to the left) newly opened vintage shop in Forreston, Texas. Times were very lean for the couple, but they got this space on the second floor of an old mercantile building in the middle of nowhere for the paltry sum of $1 a month for the first year, so they decided to give it a go.
The doors opened on August 1, 1984 with less-than-spectacular fanfare, but with each passing month, more and more people came, and John and Barbra amassed more and more vintage goodies. Soon, they took over the other half of the top floor and the entire downstairs, and now, the place is totally packed with vintage furniture, records, and books on the first floor (John's domain) and clothing on the second floor (Barbra's area).
So, if you're on I-35 between Waco and Dallas from Thursday to Sunday, look for the Forreston exit seven miles south of Waxahachie, drive into the speck of a town, and stop at the old mercantile building. Go inside and you'll hear breezy, easy 60's jazz playing on the stereo (a former jazz musician, John is the master of the music mixes), and you very well may encounter him and one of his buddies playing a riveting game of chess on the white Saarinen tulip table up front. Sit down and have a coffee and a chat, or go on upstairs and you will see Barbra playing dress-up with her mannequins and happily chatting with the many customers that wander open-mouthed and wide-eyed around the vintage delights that fill the place.
I was one of those wide-eyed customers back in the late 80's the first time I stopped by Forreston on my way to college in San Marcos. I met John and Barbra and fell madly in love with them and their store and spent an entire afternoon browsing and chatting (two of my very favorite things to do). John told me stories of the days when he and Barbara were part of a jazz combo that played clubs in and around Dallas (mostly at an upscale hotspot called Arthur's), while Barbra and I talked about how she and John got married less than a week after they first met and raised three kids on musicians' salaries.
Soon, I found myself stopping to see John and Barbara every time I was either heading home to Dallas or driving back to San Marcos -- not to buy as much as to just sit and talk to them (on many a rainy day, for some reason). John and Barbra were so fun and interesting, and their shop was so wonderful that I began bringing all of my friends from Dallas and college by to check out the treasure I found at Forreston. To this day, even though we are scattered about and have families that take up our time, my friends, Anna, Ali, Nikki, and I make at least a yearly trip to Forreston to visit John and Barbra, to ogle at all of their marvelous goodies, to hear their vastly entertaining stories, and to feel like we're at home with family.
So, here's to you, John and Barbra, and 25 great years at Forreston, 50 wonderful years of marriage, and many more visits in the years to come!
For more history about the town of Forreston, go here:
For John and Barbra's website, go here:
Go here to see some shots I've taken in John and Barbara's shop: www.flickr.com/search/?q=forreston&w=25726169@N03