The Best $5 I Ever Spent

Nowadays, five dollars doesn’t buy you an awful lot.

Unless you’re at ‘Second Treasures’, the recycling shop at the Wellington dump. Then it buys an astounding amount of happiness and excitement.

But I should start at the beginning.

Yesterday was not an ideal day to go to the dump. It is windy, even by Wellington standards. Not even the capital takes 140km/h gusts in its stride. There were also downpours of rain – or more like side-pours, because the wind meant it was raining sideways. But it was the only day my flat had access to a van and we had a heap of green waste that really needed taking to the dump. So we waited for a break in the weather and three of us threw in as many bags of weeds and branches in as we could and headed to the dump.


Here’s one I prepared earlier – when it was only regular windy and not oh-god-we’re-all-going-to-die windy. But you can still see what a wind tunnel the dump is built it.

Even the drive out there was hairy, the wind catching the van and shoving it about. The dump at Wellington is hidden in a valley, but still fairly high up and the wind was gusting through. It was worse when we got out to unload – the wind caught everything and threatened to take us with it.

But then, as a reward for our hard work, we got to go to the dump shop. We all love the dump shop. Everybody loves the dump shop, right?

One of the first things we see when we walk in is an old Singer sewing machine, still with its original table. But it was too far gone to restore really. A bit more wandering later and then I spotted something that made me yell so loudly the rest of the shop heard (or at least that’s what my flatmates claim).

It’s an Elna TX Tektronix, very similar to my Mum’s Elna Stella Air Electronic just like my mum has. It’s the sewing machine I grew up with. When I bought my own sewing machine a few years ago, I was never really happy with it; I wanted an Elna. My Mum’s Elna.

It was five dollars.

I hugged it in the shop.

Not even joking. Right there in the shop.


It sat on my lap in the van and I hugged it all the way to the brewery and then to the fancy supermarket and then to the not-as-fancy-but-still-good-supermarket. I told my flatmates repeatedly how much I loved it and how excited I was and they (bless them) patiently smiled and nodded (we’re a flat of many hobbies. They understand).

When I got home it got even better. It goes. Well, the power works and the needles goes up and down. I haven’t tried running fabric through it yet because I have schoolwork to finish and a bridesmaid dress to make.

But until then, I shall smile upon it fondly and be happy. Because I finally have my Elna.

2 thoughts on “The Best $5 I Ever Spent

  1. Sharon says:

    Love this. My mother had an elna too. Compact and metal, although rather difficult to use by the time I tried to learn to sew on it.

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