I love to go to estate sales. I especially love the ones in big old houses. You know you're going to be exploring a lifetime of things at those sales.
Last month, I was at one. I bought a couple boxes of note cards, old ones, that were pretty cool. $2.00. I found some stencils that I could use for a project I've had in mind. 50 cents each. I found a very realistically carved duck w/ glass eyes. $5. My finds tend to be kind of eclectic.
As I was roaming through the rooms looking, I heard a woman say to her friend, "This is so strange....that a person just walks out of their house and leaves everything behind??!! I mean, who does that?!!!" Her friend gaped at her, and I have to say, I stopped in my tracks as well. The questioner stood there in her confusion. I said, "The person who lived her has probably died." The look on her face. She looked at her potential purchases with poorly disguised horror.
I didn't laugh at her (although her friend did...) I mean it IS kind of creepy. Clothes hanging in the closets, shoes, bed linens, even toiletries. People will buy half used toiletries. I cannot bring myself to do this. I've been to sales where you're looking at a box full of hair curlers with strands of gray hair around them, and yes, it is a little macabre. So no. I didn't laugh at that woman although I was amazed that she would have to be told that she was walking through a dead person's home.
Another cool thing is that you get to look inside some pretty neat houses that you have only seen from the outside.
Like the estate sale that I stopped at after work tonight. Tim called me at work and told me to get $20 and buy a toy tractor, a John Deere for William. He also wanted me to check out a four poster bed. That's one of the things that we try hard to do, buy furniture that 'fits' the house. A four poster bed would fit in nicely.
I parked along the street in the general vicinity of the house and I walked to it. I was pleased to see it was a house that I'd always admired from the outside. I was pretty excited to get inside, It was a grand house, with interesting woodwork and stained glass windows, and a charming stove with a little mica windows set into the fireplace. There was a key wound Seth Thomas that they wanted too much money for (it had been badly repaired). There was a gorgeous armoire that did me a great good favor by being sold before I got there. An empire couch and interesting old rocking chairs. Books, games. I enjoyed myself a great deal.
I found a pile of books and I went through them. I found an old book inscribed to a child on May 18, 1906. I found a book from the 30s about a little cowboy. I found an ABC book from the 70s with very cool illustrations. At a buck apiece, I bought them. I spent some time roaming from room to room daydreaming about the house and people that used to live there.
I walked back out into the blustery day and came home to a hot cup of soup from the crock pot (cream of celery - all I needed to do was add a dollop of cream to my cup of broth). I curled up with my books and my daydreams and my hot cup of soup.
One of the books I bought turned out to be a book from a local school library. In the back, there was the old cardboard pocket with the card. The last time the book had been taken from the library was 1962, and children's names were carefully written on the card, along with the stamped date that the book was due back.
What a cool Christmas gift that would be, don't you think? To have a book that you had borrowed as a young child, the proof of it your name carefully penciled in cursive next to that stamped due date? I posted the names on facebook. I live in a small community. Someone will know one of these folks. The first person to get to me can have it.
Pretty exciting, innit?