Tuesday, May 10, 2016

This Weekend's Estate Sales

I love estate sales and the glimpses they can give you into people's lives. Living where we do, we sometimes find those neat sales where a couple has obviously lived in the same house for fifty-plus years and raised children and grandchildren and happily collected things along the way.

And then there were the houses we saw this weekend. They were time capsule houses, but not the happy kind. I hope I'm wrong and that the people who lived in these houses spent many wonderful years building memories that their children and grandchildren will cherish forever. But these houses had a feeling of sadness to them (and creepy, but I'll get to that later.)

I almost deleted this picture when I got home, because it looks like such an odd angle. But that's half the room. I was standing against the far wall. My 1920s farmhouse has those same plywood panels on the ceiling. Ours are all one color, not an irregular pattern of pink and green and white. This house wasn't sad, just very old. There was a fantastic range in the kitchen, not for sale because the grandkids were keeping it.

Different house, worse picture. The camera on my phone doesn't do well in a room with entirely black walls. The ceiling was red. That floor is the same stuff that I uncovered in the boys' room, in a much less obnoxious pattern. And the piece of paper next to the box springs? That's a typed drive test report from 1977.

We saw more medical equipment on Saturday than you would believe -- wheelchairs, walkers, crutches. Three sets of crutches just in this room. Back when we actually needed a wheelchair, there were none to be found. I don't think I'd have been able to use one of these (better to find one in a thrift store and not guess about its history.) Between the two of us, Hubby and I have two pairs of crutches and a walker tucked away in the attic for the next time a knee or ankle twists the wrong way. So maybe I shouldn't be talking.

The newest of the houses we stopped at was probably built in the 60s or 70s. The kitchen was partially restored and had The Most Gorgeous Sink Ever.  A copper farmhouse sink is not in my budget, but I'm going to do more research into concrete countertops.

The bedroom at the far side of the house was an obvious addition. There was a painting on one wall, a portrait of an older man. I don't know if it was poorly done or just creepy. I was trying to figure out my reaction to the painting and what the smell in that room was. Not dry rot. Not mildew. Not cat pee. I'd smelled it before in other old houses, but I couldn't put a name to it.

Then hubby came up behind me and whispered "Someone died in this room. That's what the smell is."  It's now driving me nuts that I can't remember exactly what we bought at that sale. I know there was a lawn chair for dragging down to the river and an unopened bag of lava rock for the barbecue. I'm almost positive I didn't buy my box of zippers there because I remember paying for those inside and the lawn chair outside.

We went to a bunch of different sales and bought some odds and ends and when Hubby handed me the pink box along with some hose attachments, I didn't even wonder what was inside it.

Now I'm wondering...just a bit. I guess it falls into the category of "neat and old and cheap."

And it came with the original prescription.

We also found another styrofoam cutter, also "neat and old and cheap." This one doesn't plug into the wall. And this one  came home with us. Hubby had a theory for how it might use batteries, but it scared me. I shouldn't be at all surprised that there's a You Tube video proving him right. And I still have no plans for cutting styrofoam anytime soon.

It was a fun afternoon. I did find some sewing goodies, but those will get their own post in a few days. 


Rob and Monica said...

We know exactly how you feel. So often, the old houses we visit tell their own stories. We see the basement bar and the knotty pine walls or, even better, the cool wallpaper and imagine the parties that took place there. We peek inside bathrooms that are still pink (or blue or turquoise) and know that it has been untouched since the house was built in the 1950's. We see the walkers and wheelchairs and hospital beds and know that their mobility slowed to a crawl in their later years. We always hope to find both men's clothes and women's clothes aplenty, hoping that neither of them was left alone too long. The saddest part of the visit is when we run across boxes of old family pictures. It makes us sad to think that no one in the family wanted them. Estate saling is so much more than just finding treasures. It is just as much about listening to the stories that the four walls tell. (Rob)

Ruth said...

That DeVillbiss contraption looks just like one I saw in a movie!! The movie was about an old General Practioner Doctor who suspected that there was a polio outbreak starting up and went around his town giving anti-polio treatments through the nose, with this machine! when the town council voted to continue plans for the fair instead of paying for the medicine. It was a good movie! He was proven right, by the way.

Anonymous said...

An interesting hobby you have. I've been to estate sales in Sun City, Arizona, but they were mostly happier homes and newer than these, or better kept, anyway. A friend bought a gorgeous sofa at one we went to. I bought the love seat, because she didn't want it. I wish I still had it, because it was cheerful blues and yellows on a light background. You collected some neat, old, just-because things. =)


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