Saturday, January 23, 2010

The pajama game

Today my mom and I had a full slate of estate sale-ing and rummage sale-ing starting at Mill Middle School. That is Mill Middle School, in Williamsville.

I bought so many things a kid had to carry it out to my car for me! I got dinner plates and a lamp and a book for one of my nieces. And a mini-fridge. That is what it is called! You can put six cans of beer in it and take it anywhere and it is extremely well insulated so this summer I am going to be very, very popular.

We then went to two estate sales at two apartments in Amherst.

Zut alors, at one sale, the first thing I found was a music dictionary published in 1909 with all kinds of musical terms and, stuck between the pages, a typewritten list of numbers of instruments in the New York Philharmonic-Symphony. Before it was the New York Philharmonic! That meant it was old. When Leonard Pennario played with that outfit for the first time it still had its old name.

Speaking of which, you would think that someone possessed of such an object would also be possessed of Leonard Pennario records. Alas, such was not the case. There were a few piano CDs but no records. Shrewd in these matters, I deduced that when the person downsized and moved to the apartment, all the vinyl went.

I did pick up two little 1920s-style bowls made by Syracuse China. They were not priced and that is always a tense moment, when the sales biddies scrutinize them and decide how much to ask.

"It's Syracuse China," one of them said appraisingly.

But I ended up getting them for $1.

My mother was outraged by their hesitant behavior. On the way out she said to me, "I don't know what the big deal was about Syracuse China. It's not as if it's anything great."

Not like Buffalo China! Buffalo China would have been a big deal.

Fie on Syracuse!

At the final sale I have to say I was a hit because here we were in a crowded bedroom and first I spoke up and said, "Would anyone mind if I turned off the TV?" The TV was blasting commercials.

Everyone looked awed and said no and I turned off the TV.

Then when we were shopping in silence, going through this dead person's closets, I spoke up again. I said: "Mom, do you think I dare buy used pajamas?"

I got a laugh for that one!

And I bought the pajamas too.

But shhh. Don't tell anyone.

After that Howard and I went to two more estate sales. Howard is new at estate sales and he needs some training. You have to learn not to get depressed when you go to estate sales. Howard thought it was depressing.

"It doesn't mean the person died," I said, trying to reason with him as we left this estate sale on Middlesex, this tremendously wealthy street near our house. "Sometimes the person has just moved."

"That person died," he said.

You cannot go to cemeteries with Howard either because all he thinks about are all the dead people and what they were doing when they died.

So when I was with him at the two estate sales I bought nothing. Zip. The karma was not right.

But that's OK.

Tomorrow is another day!


Ian Bee said...

I am with Howard on this one. It seems almost macabre to delve first hand. If I see the same goods at a second-hand store, it's all got the right vibe. It's a guy thing I guess...

Libby Maeder said...

I understand Howard's feelings...but when you treasure these estate sale finds as precious pieces of someone's past, as Mary does, it's a very nice thing.

Libby said...

...treasured pieces of someone's past which you score at unbelievably low low prices, of course!

Art said...

I get depressed at estate sales, too. I start thinking of the stories and people behind the various items on sale. Rob loves estate sales, and we have estate-sale finds that we use every day, including our kitchen canister set. So I guess I can get over the depression! And since I was born in Syracuse, I must stick up for Syracuse China. They have a great outlet store -- you'd be in heaven.

Bonnie said...

We are Buffalo China people. Kind of family thing, my aunt Mae was a foreman and uncle John Lux was a VP, my step dad worked there too. Unfortunately My aunt died of lung cancer probably from inhaling china dust. When we were at Yellowstone we ate in a restaruant with mismatched china...cup from Buffalo, plate from Syracuse! (I always look)

Joe Dettelis said...

Does Howard know about the Pajamas?

Judi Goembel said...

I am impressed with your estate sale-ing! Jammies...really?!!

Larry said...

All of those sales you go to are Greek to me but, I do know one thing for sure. That mini refrigerator that holds just six beers... six beers?! That would just be enough to make me mad! But a half gallon of moonshine in there would be cool.

Bonnie said...

Oh yes, and I am with Libby. I would hope that others would enjoy the things that I love. Of course I try to pass them on while I am still here...

Mary Kunz Goldman said...

What a discussion we have going here! I think a follow-up post is in order.

Jacquie Walker said...

I do have a couple of old small tables from estate sales that I treasure. However, as much as I love a bargain, I, too, get depressed at estate sales. I'll never forget going through items in the bedroom of someone who had passed away. There must not have been any remaining family...because the most personal items were there for sale. It was ... See Moreespecially sad to see the old family pictures and know that the warm, loving times that this family had shared were now just so much litter. It was almost like seeing a long, full life erased. Sad.

Edmund said...

That Middlesex Estate sale was a total bust. That blonde haired woman was a hoot though. I think she's either Edna or Louise.

Did you make it out to Lovejoy for the sale on North Ogden? I forgot my passport, but they still let me in.
THAT is my kind of estate sale. Give me a barn in Eden with 3 generations of stuff, or a Black Rock double with 4 levels of shopping pleasure!

Howard: I'll take you to an estate sale. I don't know what's better, me shouting "What do you think this is, RETAIL!?" or me putting on a hairpiece or hat. It happens every time. I make estate sales a sport.