I like Estate Sales. Real ones. 99% of the time, someone has died and the heirs want to liquidate in the easiest way possible, and it quickens the cleanup process. You walk through someone’s home and everything is basically intact as if they were still living there. I feel like a voyeur going back in time to spy on Grandma. Boxes of expired Lime Jell-o are in the cupboard, quilts are stacked in the closets, slightly moldy prosthetic shoes are jammed on old metal shoe trees. Glass Christmas ornaments with vintage lights are stuffed in bags marked $1 each. Treasures that were once sentimental and clearly cared for over decades are now reduced to clearance pennies begging for the taking.
I don’t go into Estate sales looking for anything specific, ever. If anything, I go in with respect and keep my comments to myself, or on the downlow to family. Afterall, it’s not uncommon for a family member of the deceased to be floating around and it would be rude to yell out, “Holy hell, how many quilts with clowns on them do you need?” Yeah, keep it to myself. Today’s house was previously occupied by a woman who loved to sew and knit. A bedroom was dedicated to blankets that she handknit. In the corner of a room, a small vintage tube T.V. flickered black and white snow. An estate worker came in and said she was still looking for another antenna to make it work. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that thing wasn’t going to do anymore than what it was already doing, anytime soon. I sort of liked it like that though. It was a dull ‘old’ light, and I found myself staring at it because it was relaxing.
One of the rooms had thick bright red plaid carpet. The room was smelly, but I had to wonder when that style was in fashion. Perhaps it was her husband’s study? It was probably expensive at that time and it was a strong design statement. I hated it and liked it at the same time. In the living room, I stopped. My ‘like’ button was clicked. On the wall, in all its retro glory, was a vintage 1960’s Syroco Sunburst clock. I am not really into mid-century design specifically, but sometimes certain things just speak to me and this one said, “Take me down off this wood paneling and take me with you!” It wasn’t working and green battery powdery acid leaked from the back. Do I really need this? No, but if I don’t buy this now, it will end up in some landfill. Plus, this clock was in pretty good condition and is a statement piece that some hipster would totally dig. It had to be saved. I put it on my lap in the car, and lo and behold it started ‘ticking’. The battery was clearly corroded, yet tick tick tick it went. Yeah, you’re welcome – you weird old clock.