All along the many shelves of Bits N’ Pieces in Paradis are the collectibles that Bonnie Guidry has gathered over the years and each piece has a story.
Walking into the store, Guidry’s bright red Coca Cola machine highlights the display. It’s special to her because her husband, Ronald, bought it for her on her 50th birthday. She estimated it dates back to the 1940s.
“It was something to decorate the shop,” Guidry said. “You put ice on the top to melt and make the Cokes cold.”
In a neighboring room is a butter churn made in 1888, offering a glimpse of a sturdier time when people made their own food.
On a top shelf, Guidry pointed to a coffee grinder from the 1930s and next to it a jug from “Mrs. Hatfield” of Hatfields and McCoys fame in Virginia. The Guidrys were buying items for her store when they encountered her in the mountains. Mrs. Hatfield told her the jug, which likely held moonshine, was a token from the McCoys to symbolize a truce in the feud.
To this day, Guidry regrets not having the woman sign the jug. It came from their many travels throughout the United States acquiring items for the shop.
A corn grinder from the 1940s is also among the items on the top shelf, and it serves as a reminder of Guidry’s days as a child on Bayou Lafourche where they used one to husk corn cobs for her grandparent’s chickens.
Amid these precious collectibles she’s collected in the 35 years she’s been in the antiques business is also a menagerie of antiques including Depression era glass and gifts for sale.
As one customer described it, “You feel like you are at your grandma’s house. It is an odd assortment of all kinds of things.”
It’s how the store got its name.
“Just a wild guess” is how Guidry described naming the shop, but it fit because it has a little bit of everything.
“There was a band with the same name at the time,” Guidry mused. “I used to get calls to go play music, but I’d explain we were just an antique shop.”
And then there is Guidry’s own story on how she got into this business.
It was 1983 when she and her husband lost their 9-year-old daughter to leukemia and it changed her life.
“That was the only child we had,” she said. “And this gave me something to do.”
She’d also grown up with the antiques.
“We were raised with all that old stuff with my grandparents,” Guidry explained. “I like old things.”
Being a Cajun of Lafourche Parish, she also enjoyed meeting people and talking.
At 71, she intends to continue with her business as long as her health is okay, but she, like her customers, is in disbelief over the size of her collection.
She added. “I can’t believe I have that much stuff,” but she loves it all because it literally represents the bits and pieces of her life.
Guidry’s shop is open Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the first and third Saturdays of each month.