Esmi's: A treasure trove on La Salle Ave.

Marian Fleischmann

It was one of my favorite Waco institutions: Esmi's on La Salle. Esmerelda (I never knew her last name) ran a store of treasures for many years in an old rangy building near Oakwood Cemetery.

You could call it an antique store or a small flea market, or you could call it a place of treasures. That's how I think of it.

I spent many wonderful Saturdays roaming through the crowded aisles. I met interior designers shopping there. I met the mother of a Broadway set designer there. I met interesting students and collectors of all ages, sizes, sexes, and income levels.

Esmi had the eye for form and shape and quality whether it was high-heeled shoes or women's church hats or office chairs. She shopped rummage sales and estate sales and any other sale that interested her. She purchased whatever interested her.

Her markups were modest and her stock moved quickly. It was never smart to want something and think you'll buy it next Saturday when the store was open again.

When last I came to Esmi's, some of the interior doors were closed and the store had dwindled to the big room on the north end.

I bought a ring set with an inexpensive black and white pearl that reminded me of Ying and Yang — on my finger courtesy of $3 and Esmi's great eye for treasures. I'll miss her.

Marian Fleischmann is a Waco resident.

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