Today I went on a grown-up Easter egg hunt. Garage sales and estate sales are a lot like Easter, complete with hidden treats and a maddening hunt which may include fighting off others after the same "eggs."
My friend Lynn, who is seriously professional at this, picked me up at 7:30 a.m to find me staggering around with my coffee trying to wake up. We referred to the treasure map, aka newspaper and put together our strategy. Although it says in the paper, 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. NO EXCEPTIONS, there is a class of very special vulture out there called a Dealer who doesn't believe in anything except get there first, pillage and burn and try to get everything for nothing– and then drive very fast to the next village and do the same thing all over again. It would be fascinating if they weren't such ugly people inside and out, Reptiles wearing hairspray and carrying coin purses.
Luckily, I was after broken junk and not terrifically interested in a a score off a little old lady that I could sell for 100 times what I paid, which brings me to the other side of this warped coin. When did the prices for garage sale crap go through the roof? Old, but not very, wing chair with reprehensible upholstery, $150.00. Quoi?! and a little sewing chair, $50.00. People, its a garage sale, not Macy's and your driveway is the last stop before the Salvation Army.
Perhaps I'm being snippy because the taste and junk was so WalMartian at the first several stops but we finally landed in a divine multi-family sale that provided a lot of great pieces to repurpose. For some reason I bought a wooden flute for $2.50. That makes 5 different penny whistles and flutes in my studio now, I counted them. I can't play anything but Do Re Mi, what was I thinking?
After we paid for our piles and lugged them to the car we strolled up and down the street to all the neighbors who spontaneously began to have garage sales after seeing the foot traffic at the three family big one across the road. One gent sold Lynn a zippered up wig box with the name "Sharon Solberg" in gold across the front and an empty bowling bag, apparently these items are in hot demand, obviously I do not get out much. He gave us a toothbrush as a prize for our purchase to boot, it was new but still, it is sitting with the silver polish not the toothpaste at this point.
I found a bunny with a broken toe for 50 cents. He came home, got his toe fixed and a hole drilled through his hand. He can now swing from the rafters in my room and he has been added to the running rabbit crew.
After that, it was time to tank up on more coffee and head to two estate sales. Estate sales. These make me sad and they make me feel odd when I visit them. I realize these are what make the vultures really slaver and duke it out in line to get in and get the good stuff. Luckily, I have never tried to get there first and so have not been forced to cold cock one of these sows, but I am not a morning person and I'm just saying, it could happen.
Okay, now I've vented and I'm feeling so much better…where were we? Estate sales. There is something inherenently sad and creepy about estate sales. Think about it, someone died and their families or the court or whoever hired someone to just come in and clean the place out like African ants. Seriously, at one of these sales today I saw a bottle of soy sauce and a box of tooth picks for sale, right next to the lady's silver ware and her old pots and pans. I always wonder what the stories are behind the possessions we are all pawing over, these piles of pyrex, blankets, sheets and tea towels. A garage full of tools and Christmas ornaments or a bag of balls of wool. I have made my peace with the process by vowing to myself to treat what I acquire with care and respect.
These little pliers seem made for my hand and they are old as is this file which I will put to work again. I found a super duper metal cabinet today, a tiny flat file that is already cleaned up and holding a ton of stuff waiting to become new cool stuff. Allay confusion: a rat tail file is going to work to take off rough edges and a flat file with drawers is my new studio piece for holding stuff. I wondered at the man who left it behind along with a tie clip and enough razor blades to scrape paint off all the windows in the Vatican, but I'll treat it well.
I have to wonder though, about the things I would never buy, like really ugly clown dolls, and 50's-70's kitsch, including a great old sign somebody got someplace that said "international order of teepee creepers." It was on varnished maple decorated with a picture of a cowboy in longjohns on one side and a buxom Indian lass on the other. Not Native American either, this thing painted on a maple trivet was probably the height of cute in the 50's and that Marilyn Monroe of the Mohicans is an INDIAN, old school movie fake-indian style. Strange…
There were boxes of vinyl records in mint condition including everything Neil Diamond every recorded, a bunch of Barbara Streisand, kid records from the 60's and what I bought: Peter, Paul and Mary and the Ventures, Telstar. I had to laugh, when we got outside to pay the lady taking money looked in the jackets and charged per RECORD. So if you had a two album set with two records in one jacket you paid twice. Nope. You may keep this nice vinyl recording of Rhapsody in Blue. I will just take Peter Paul and wotz her name along with the Ventures, thanks much.
At the last sale, a gigantic rummage sale and bake sale, you could tell the goods were donated to some degree, and their owners probably just wanted them gone. I found but did not purchase these truly riveting books:
and who could live without:
Just what every girl needs don't you think? And when I'm done working up a sweat, or is that a glow since I'm a girl? I could refer to this cookbook and listen to some hair music.
Wow! Favorite desserts of the great plains. Who knew? And there are really 500 sandwich types in the world?
Partay! Mullets and pretty boys to eat those sandwiches and desserts. I may laugh at the ridiculous nature of our recent history, but I do like finding things I can put back to work, giving them new life and beauty. And I'm sure I'll find a great use for the Spanish to French dictionary and the flute I can't play.
You know, next time I go garage saling I have got to begin the search for a cane like this one. Just think, I could stave off evil dealers and drink before noon all at the same time while ringing my bell for the right of way!