Best Of 2001

Best Place To Buy Retro: Neon Lady

The Neon Lady herself, proprietor LaDean Harlow, is a blond, pretty, talkative widow whose husband was bitten by a brown recluse spider right after they bought their dream home. Harlow just kept going, surrounded by Anheuser-Busch steins and trays, chrome deco telephones and toasters, old metal coolers and lunchboxes, Betty Boop figurines and Mickey Mouse glasses and Osterizer blenders with their rippled Michelin-man bases. What you won't see is the Neon Lady's ghost, Bubba. "When I first moved in, doors would fly open so often I finally had to bolt 'em," Harlow recalls. "I thought it was a lady ghost at first, but after a couple years I found out that in 1946, a guy hung himself a little bit to the right of the first-floor lighting fixture because his family did not join him here right after the war." Bubba's contemporary mission? To make sure Harlow's customers rejoin their own families by enjoying all the classic American stuff the earlier generations grew up with.

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