Monday, August 22, 2016

Ice House Ephemera


Everybody likes to find something for nothing. Dealers are particularly fond of “making a hit”; the generic expression for finding “something great” well, WELL below it’s “true value”. A good “hit” makes a great day, week, month or, most pleasingly, one’s “YEAR”. We were not the ones who discovered this “hit” but we are close enough to it that we will, I am confident, share in it’s final distribution in the market. Sit back a read about a good day’s pay!

Intrude upon two young men whose circumstances do not include “going on to school” nor entering the “job market” with anything other than to “keep on doing what we were already doing anyway” for... rural Maine offers little “opportunity”. Odd-jobbing is a resource for the young and un-employed. Often this entry level position develops into a permanent position. One of these two has “a truck” while both have “girlfriends” they “want to marry” “if I get some money” “You know?”. They live in and share an “apartment” that... you wouldn’t live in... ever. Behind this building is a shed they “can use too”.

To do this “holding steady” of week to week, the two combined friendship and circumstance to, as they say: “Do anything”. Caucusing with them includes a tale of shoveling mounds rotting baby diapers up from an access road to a future “waterfront development” using snow shovels. “We pretty much ended up showering together during that because it was so bad we almost got into a fight about who’d shower first”.
Not all opportunities are so foul.

The two do a great many “site demolition” jobs for local contractors and carpenters. This work involves taking down and removing what exists at a site so as to “clear it” for the new construction by these professionals who are “won’t do that work”. “Renovation” is the term the “boss” applies to these smaller commercial or private home jobs. These young men are the “demo team”.

From this calling, they have acquired the shrewd sense to “be sure” and “take anything” they can “sell”. Lumber, hardware and architectural fixtures dominate their acquisitions but they have learned to gather “everything” that’s being thrown out that looks “like there’s a chance”. “GOOD BOYS!” and it follows that my first contact with them began at the next step up from their private… bottom of the food chain… of antiquities and bibliognostes[1].

One step above them and a near neighbor to their parked truck, apartment and “shed” in Topsham (Maine), one may find a considerably older man who is “retired”.
He retired from Bath Iron Works (“BIW”) “early” because they were going to fire him if he didn’t “accept” a “package”. This shrewd Yankee deduced his options by himself and left his fellows only to be “proved me right” by they ...being fired “the next day”. In any case, he turned to new work by opening a “recycling business”. No, no; this is not one of those environmentally sanctioned and true penny corporations seeking to remove “that” from ... YOU “forever”. It is the very opposite whereby he has a magnetic sign that he may put on the side of his truck at his desecration and, preferably, arrive at the home of a forlorn and recent widow who wants to get the former material opulence of her “dead-ee” “OUT” “now”. THIS is recycling for... the antiquarian and ...BIBLIOGNOSTE will find him worth showing up at… to “check on”.

I do. You don’t. That’s why I was there first to hear a “You’ve REALLY gotta SEE THIS!”. Smoking cigarettes from a habitual nervous frenzy at the front door to his little sheds (a coupling of odd buildings forming an enclosed passageway around the rear of his very modest home) he told me that “they” (for he is sure to visit the two young men EVERYDAY) “really found something this time”. The squawking of his grandchildren, (foisted upon him and “Mother” [his wife] by a child that deserted him, her and these children...) and “Mother” squawking back at them... interfered with descriptive discourse. Furthering this was the normal for me but I presume UNUSUAL for you... state of bibliosophy where this man’s illiteracy (he CAN’T read) greatly complicated the detail of “what” he was talking about except to establish that there was a very large amount of printed something discovered the day before by the two young men.
“What is it?”
“The shed is full and they are taking the rest to his mother’s garage.”
“What is it?”
“It’s a lot; all old papers.”
“Is it books?”
“No. Papers. All old ones.”
“What are they?” (a hopeless question for HE CAN’T READ).
“I don’t know but you’ll want them.”
“Where is it?” I asked intending to locate the SOURCE but I was returned to:
“Mostly in the shed so far. I’ll take you over there. They said I could.”
“Is it for sale.”
“No.” This last was a fatal utterance but I went anyway.

At the padlocked shed, a structure without foundation dating from about 1870 and having no attention taken of it’s appearance for a least fifty years, my recycle-er pulled back one door to show, mounded in cubical cascades, blocks of, well... “old paper” piled to the roof line. “Wow!” was more fair then the dealerly “Huh.” I should have uttered while I was informed that “most of it” is at the mother’s garage. “There’s still some more coming too.” I touched several blocks. I pulled a few apart to prove to myself that they truly were what I saw; cubes of tightly packed old paper. It IS crispy white printed pages of old paper stacked imprint upon imprint to form, after evidently being pressed together and remaining that way for one hundred and fifty years... these curious blocks of biblio-gold that one may pick up as if they were, for comparison, a cubical block of Styrofoam. They are dry, stable and oddly light. This “WHAT THE?” has a wonderful explanation.

Up the river (Kennebec) from Topsham but before one reaches Augusta, one passes through older villages whose current decline is founded on the deceased 19th Century agrarian aristocracy. “Abandoned” is the term I used for this pervasive New England village breed. Once glory (and money) brought “great” “farms” to the landscape. These have... “declined”. Some are abandoned. SOME are being “restored”.

The “new” Maine finds us supplied with white collar commuters who “buy a place”, “fix it up” and “work in Portland”. The Yuppie dollar has taken “old places” and made them “beautiful” “again”. Money, money, money flows toward these places where no one ventures to “live” until it’s “ready”. “Ready” means that even in Maine one may find a flourish of interior decorating “firms” who, well, get these places “ready”. Before accurate reproductions of high Victorian wallpaper grace a “parlor” or TWO, “work” is done... by carpenters and contractors. BEFORE this “work” is done, “demo work” is done.

Alone on an abandoned farm with strict instructions to “take all that down” and “get all that” “out of here”, one soon finds two young men with one old “truck”; FOR WEEKS turning to... months. As the old goes out... and the new spaces come in... the giddy “new people” perpetually commend everyone down the food chain while issuing gilded commands to “Get that out too.”, et al. It is a big moment for “recycle-ers”, antiquarians, and bibliophiles: One never knows what they’ll “get rid of”.

Well: They got rid of something this time! On the 1840’s property are several buildings including a barn. To “make that into a studio” was the “architect’s idea”. GOT IT? If you don’t, it means taking a giant old structure that has only had cows and hay in it “forever” and “finishing it” using LOTS of MONEY so that “an artist” may work and live in it. This ain’t the FIRST time this has been done. Our demo team was called to “strip” the barn; they removed the interior constructions (cow stalls, etc.) and “exposed the frame” for “renovation”.
“KISS MY ASS” is what most people think about “doing” “this work” so our team was alone “in there” for weeks. ONE of the “problems” in the barn was a two storied construction that, looking down into it from the upper (second) floor of the barn, showed a giant 12 foot by 12 foot by 24 foot high square “hole” enclosed by “thick” walls with “doors” to the “outside”. This was centered on the north side of the barn; the dark, cold space evidently very carefully selected. What was this enclosed hole? An ice house
[2].

It was empty: An empty space traveling two stories up from a field granite floor and two foot stone foundation. One entered from outside and one could, as the blocks of ice were stored ever higher, “get in” from doors further up the enclosure. “Huh.” and “Neat” summarized the interest.

“It goes.” were the orders. A floor has been put in NOW and one would never know such a curiosity was ever in this “old barn”. Our team knew “no problem” when they saw it and… that these walls, inclusive of the 8 inch finished and matched boards with beautiful 19th Century patina and a minimal of nail holes... (“lumber”)... that made up the walls to this room: “It goes? - No problem.”. They knew this old lumber would enhance their pay check if they took extra time and removed the boards very carefully.
“GET IT OUT”
“All of it?”
“ALL OF IT!”
“OK: No problem.”

Starting at the top, the boards came off easily. They carried them to the large front door on the first floor to be “removed from the site”. The walls were 12 inches thick with the near one inch planking preserving an interior space of approximately ten inches. These ten inch spaces ran vertically for the twelve feet of each floor and were enclosed by “studs” that were in fact, ten inch wide rough cut two inch thick boards (“rough pine two by tens”). These, too, were desirable once they “GET IT OUT” - “YES SIR”. It was “odd” “over built” construction, although clean and easy to remove and of traditionally little surprise to discover in the lumber rich state of Maine. Starting at the top of the second floor and working downward, “The work” progressed rapidly until... they struck gold.

Gold appeared about four feet down within the upper floor walls. As the plank removal reached this level, our team discovered that the formerly empty space in these thick walls was “full” of “paper”. From there on down; to the bottom foundation wall, each space (between the studs) was “packed solid” with “old paper”. Just like that; vertical shafts of nearly twenty feet each packed full of old paper. NEAT, even, stacked, DRY columns of old paper, side by side on three walls. The outer barn wall had nothing in it. The joke on that is that the original builders figured (?) “How they gonna know?” because “How they gonna get over there to see it?”. This is the group opinion as to why that wall was empty. The other three were not.

This was “no problem”. All they did was take off a couple of boards and then lift out “chunks” of “old paper”. They put the blocks in the truck and got it ...out of there. Since “most of it is dated from the 1800’s”, they figured it was “good” and they could “sell it”. So they started putting it in the shed behind the apartment. Then into the mother’s garage. “There really is a lot of it!” I was told.
There really IS a lot of it and it took ME micro seconds to begin a calculation as to “just what and how much” “there is”. I didn’t SAY anything, nor have I as I write. ALL I said was “How much you want for that?”
“Well, ah: We don’t know.”
“I’m interested”.
“Yeah, well, ah: We think it’s worth a lot.”
“It is.”
“Yeah, but, ah: HOW MUCH?”
“As much as you want to sell it for.”

There rests the commercial aspects to this moment. There have been some nuances added to it and I suspect... that as the string pulling puppeteers of the old book trade endeavor to fit their ASSES through the door of the... shed..., we’s ah gonna see some fine “opinions” about “what it is” and “how much its worth” “offered” before it’s a “done deal”.

Well, lay bibliolestes[3], you’s ah gonna run a gauntlet including your checkbook and the “reach bottom” of your formerly highly valued perfected “skills” before you’s ah gonna break into the clear PAST ME cause if these two kid’s and their illiterate agent don’t have enough fingers to do the calculations, I’s ah promise that I’S will give you ah goud-un. And I ain’t ah gonna use no DAMN bibliographies like you “I gotta look it up” zombies.
Current conditions rest as follows: After having a series of regional experts “look at it”, the team decided to relocate the lot so as to better protect it from “everything”. This has been done. Several experts have helped the wagon circling impulse by being very, ah, “pushy” “with us”. Thank you for doing this and I do believe it’ll be real hard for just “anyone” to see this whole lot now. I am letting nature take it course and… it is… for the marketing team has selected by themselves a portfolio of a core sample of what THEY feel is “good” to “SHOW”. They have “figured out” how many “things” “there are”; “22,000”. That’s a lot of finger counts for these new bibliophiles. They have, throughout this, told me of and... even shown me “things we found”. They have begrudgingly agreed not to throw out “ANYTHING AT ALL” although at first contact one will quickly deduce that they feel “some of it is no good”. Behind all of their marketing calculations is the resplendent verbal notification that “We really are able to figure this out; we’re learning fast”. This last, for the student of bibliographic studies, includes the antidote assessment that “TOO BAD this stuff doesn’t include the Civil WAR; then we’d REALLY have something”.
The discovery does not included the Civil War for the most recent date of ANY of the paper is 1856. The earliest date? It is, TO DATE, a 1742 Boston theological pamphlet (“about God”). Is there a lot of “18th Century” and “Colonial” “material”? No. How do I know? I have had plenty of time to review the chunks and purvey my thoughts. The paper that packed the shafts was gathered rapidly and locally at the time the walls were built, PROBABLY as the walls “went up”. Above the farm was the publishing house of central Maine (the Augusta area) while below one garnered “toward Portland” imprints. It appears that “What ever you got” was, randomly, pushed down into the shafts. BLOCKS of newspapers “saved”, religious dogma “un-circulated” and the delightful “household ephemera” “not collated” were... SHOVED into place forming layer cakes of BIBLIO “IT’S A GAS TO LOOK AT!” “stuff”. Leaf by leaf may be easily lifted to “get to” the “next one”. All and any printing that would fit seems to have gone down the shafts so, for example, one may find “a stack” of a broadside for a church supper “on the Kennebec This Sunday!”. Or the lone, lost and scrappy hand bill imprinted “Boston, 1801”. Which of these is “better” and how are the curators of this collection doing at inventorying their acquisition? As I said; I am letting nature take a natural course. It is.

While the reader may churn in one’s chair and the ephemerist may palpitate, sweat and then ...feel faint; any sort of dizzy spell will not get you past the more professional check writing teams I’s already am sure have “got on this”. Good luck; visit our store when your in the area but, please... DON’T tell me what you “think” about it or... what I “should do” especially ... if I “get it”.

[1] Bibliognostes: "One knowing in title pages, colophons, editions, dates and place printed, printers and all the minutiae of …rare books".[2]: “ICE”, from the riv-ah, cut in the win-ta, was “an industry” “along the ...riv-ah”. Here found was an ice house BIGGER then usual but surely not “big enough” to be an “Ice Factory”. “Sold some, prob-blie” was the logical use.[3] Bibliolestes: "a book-robber or plunderer".

Friday, August 19, 2016

Careless and Callous - Accumulation of Inherited (Antiquarian) Art - Part Four - "Affected and Placed"


Careless and Callous

Accumulation of Inherited (Antiquarian) Art

Part Four

"Affected and Placed"



            Careful screening (“vetting”) allows for sure
            Careless and Callous home décor
            “Um”?
            Affected and carefully placed ‘all’ fill the décor of space
            “There”;
            “My home”?

            Hardly... and all of that is not hardy enough ‘for the region’ (old New England)
            To last.
            Look at the map on the back of the packet; it shows where ‘that’ (the affected and placed) are ‘frozen out’ (frost killed).  “Too early” or “too late”.  Anyone’s old eye for old things may deduce the fraud; ‘endeavor of fraud’.  That is all it is anyway; an “endeavor” that is
            Brutal
            Fraud.
            Whose bones are broken? 
The fraud-dee.
In their home.




            The curious want to know?  Actually they do not
            Want to know.
            “A clutter bug in there they are” is an easy pass
            Bye.
            Notorious hodge-podge of gathered (no... never gathered... “HOW DID THEY GET ALL THAT?” “THEY INHERITED IT.  HIS MOTHER.  You KNOW”.  “OH”).  There then ...is the regulation of placement; no ‘screening’... or affected ‘place’.
            That is such a serious stage that no one may understand this unless THEY TOO have a vantage from behind a ‘good eye’ (antiquarian eye).  It is a murky morning mist.  A dream.  A charm.  A way... of old things.




            Beginning with poor lighting; “it is dark in here how can you stand it?”.
            “I do stand it”.  And cold... except for there; the ‘her old chair’.  “We don’t turn the heat on in the summer (April 15th to November 15th).”
            So it is dark and cold “When you were in there”.
            What follows next is rooms; ‘the rooms’.  Lots of rooms never used “anymore”.  Actually they are used... just not ‘anymore’.  The rooms; lots of rooms, are ‘used’ and just fine ‘that way’ (the way they are used).  That ends that doesn’t it:  You don’t have any rooms like that
            Do you.
            Then there are ‘the things’ in ‘the rooms’.  Each rooms has each things in
            ...each rooms.  And all just stowed away in there; each things in each rooms.  Yes...:  Clutter bug.  It is actually easier at this juncture of careless and callous domestic decoration... to denote that to accomplish this it is, in fact, easier for the people to ‘move in’ to the home with the rooms... then it is to move the rooms with the things into the home of the
            People (inheritors).  Peeking at this that way... it gives a better sense of scale to the ‘things’.  There are a lot of ‘things’.  In a lot of rooms.  Dark cold rooms.  You think you have one of those (a dark cold room) you say?  Aren’t you just FOOLISH.
            If a thing is in there... it was not put there.  PUSHED there maybe... after ‘being in the way’
            One day.
            You didn’t (push it) but someone did and no one knows or cares of a reason why.  So now this that is ...there.  The drawer is full too.  No one has opened the drawer
            Since “I don’t know when”.  That is a valid time designation for a full drawer in a ‘thing’ in a ‘room’ that is used as a room that “isn’t used anymore”.  It is dark and cold in that room.  Too.
            Are you starting to get the hang of this?  Presuming so... one must now be becoming a self enlightened ‘good eye’ as to the
            “WHY?” of what I am speaking of; the true careless and callous décor; not the affected and placed fraud (phony) endeavoring to fool by emulation.




            Density is; each room has a ‘deep stock’ of things (inherited).  Each thing has a drawer that is full of things never looked at.  Never opened.  “For how many years?”  “It never occurred to me (to look in there)”.  The drawer... or the room?  Or both.  We already know the ‘explains this’ (Part One).  The whole of the inheritance was “admired”.  Admiration does not require looking in drawers and rooms.  That is why they (the heirs) never do.  Maybe once they push “that” “back”... once.  Otherwise it all just sits there in the dark and cold room.  Except, we understand (Part Two), for the ‘good things’ that have become the ‘they were sold’.  There is a hallow... but not much of one.  There are never many good things because good... good things are few... so when ‘sold’ they are ‘not missed’.  “There is just SO MUCH else”.
            There is; “density”.  A ‘deep stock’.  That is the stumble.  One cannot just ‘get that’.  No.  One must ‘inherit’ that.  That is why it may not be ‘affected and placed’.  No one may ‘affect’ and ‘place’ inheritance.  It is ‘too much stuff’.
            If one is not sure of what I am speaking of; the density of inheritance, then one ‘has not’ any of this.  And you won’t (will not).  No.  Your admitted to ‘only a safe distance’.  They won’t have you grubbing around... with your decorator tabloids designating ...oh... ‘your adolescent whims’.  No... your never in... and should you ever get in... they certainly don’t want you talking about it; what you “SAW”.  Go home to your rolls of paper towels.
            Correctly denoted, the ‘box store’ of the old New England inheritance... should be furtive... and furtive only to the knowing eye.  It should suggest, at a ‘behind eye’ moment, that ‘there could be’ a... ‘there could be’... ‘in there’.  THAT is the... the.  Careless and callous already assures that THAT ‘has been sold’ BUT that should ‘could be’ a ‘something’ to the ‘that old eye’.  “I WANT TO LOOK IN THE DRAWERS”.  It is that foolish a decorum.   And it works.
            It is like no other ‘home’ ‘in there’.




            Let us practice this so we are clear; a concise ‘we understand’.  I am stating that the actual eloquence of ‘careless and callous’ is the mirage it creates to the knowing viewer’s disciplined eye that... even though it is concise and precisely understood that the ‘good things’ ‘have been sold’, the imbedded density of the remaining inheritance... found properly distributed within the rooms of the family and/or heirs... convey a decorum that believably purveys that... a ‘good’ (‘great’) ‘thing... may still be found.  And that voyeur believes this... with no self dispute.
            “OH GOD THAT IS NASTY”.
            But... too... real.
            Such a successful decorum; the ‘careless and callous’... it assures ‘you are not’.  No...:  Not a ‘vanity of’, for example, of an ‘old money’ decorative touch...  That is not an ‘it’ and, too, makes the ‘one look (very) foolish’.  No, no, no.  I said pushed back... in the cold and dark.  That is not what you actually do.  No... you cannot escape your own ‘show off’.  You...
            Are not dense enough.  Old enough (generational).  Rich enough.  Own enough.  Know enough... about NOT knowing enough.  No... you are not a full drawer that has not been looked at.  No.... YOU ...could not resisted... “going through that”... then worse... insisting upon... showing ‘it’ to me... inclusive of the false pretence that ‘the room’ is “dark and cold” too... with its ‘pushed back’ “I inherited’.  You lie.  You live a lie.
            I... with my eye...
            Know the difference.





            “Not hardy enough for the (old New England) region” I advised at the opening of this chapter.  Go back and look.  It is there.  Old New England... frost.  Kill.  Killed by old New England frost.  It is dark and cold.  “It” is ‘the whole inheritance’.  It is not, in the whole, the “THINGS” one “I GOT”.  No.  Never on the ‘your wall’ hung... does one find the frost line.  It was too cold.  Too dark.  One did not... does not... ‘go there’.  Once, now; you are thinking back, you think once you... could have been near a room where the things in there could have been, in there, dense enough that THERE, then, THAT could have been
            A room
            DENSE and dark enough that THERE THEN could have been a HOME that this there; the careless and the callous... WAS that THERE THEN
            But
            It was too... dark and cold and
            “I could not see”.
            You think, now, you remember this; that.
            You are a ‘little sure’ of this-that being that:
            A careless and callous
            “In there”.  Don’t you still wonder... if.








Monday, August 15, 2016

The Old Antiques Store


The Old Antiques Store




We drove by the old antiques store last month. We drive by it when we are in that area. The old store is not on the main road but is just a tenth mile off of it. This time we stopped and I took a photograph of it. The store has been abandoned and looked like the photograph for at least twenty-five years. It has been thirty-five years this past October since I did business there. It looked less overgrown and abandoned back then but still had the same "old store" appearance.


Today is August 15th, 2016. I last did business at the store in October, 1979. I went to the store for the first time in October of 1966. I was twelve. I went to the store with my soon-to-be Boy Scout assistant scoutmaster. I was a cub scout, soon to be a boy scout.  The assistant scoutmaster had interviewed a group of us prior to our joining his boy scout troop. At that interview, my interest in "antiques" had been voiced under "hobbies". This assistant scoutmaster had a strong interest in antiques too. His interest was more than a hobby. Through a continued conversation about my interest, he offered to take me to the store in the photograph and introduce me to the owner-antiques dealer with whom this scoutmaster did considerable business. We drove there after my dinner, in the dark, on an October school night. We ended up spending hours there. I didn't get home until very late but my mother, who "liked" antiques too, never said anything and seem very pleased that I "had a good time" and "liked antiques". That was my first visit.


Following the directions from my assistant scoutmaster I returned to the antiques store very soon, probably that weekend, WITH my mother. SHE liked the antiques she saw there and we spent hours there. Thereafter we would go to this antiques store every few weeks. 1967 began, I turned thirteen, I joined the boy scout troop and the assistant scoutmaster and I continued our antiques interest exchange. He introduced me to more adult men who "liked antiques". Some of these men knew my mother and that she liked antiques. Along with the men, I met adult women who "liked antiques". Before I knew it I was a member of a little circle of adults who liked antiques, went to this store and were always talking with each other. My interest in antiques expanded avidly and rapidly, helpfully nurtured by these adults. Meanwhile my grandmother had always been an antiques dealer.
Antiques to me at age twelve-turned-thirteen was …finding anything old… anywhere… bringing it home to my bedroom… keeping it… finding out what it was… sort of… and generally having all my other friends think I was weird (unless it was an old rusted rifle or sword). My bedroom filled with this "stuff". I was very protective of my "stuff". My mother never bothered me about my "stuff". I constantly arranged and re-arranged my "stuff" to feature my latest find and… I believe… she was impressed with this management. I never thought I ever found something good and have deeply considered this in hindsight. I believe now that I DID occasionally find something sort of "good" and THAT find… was purloined by my mother to become part of HER "stuff". SHE was constantly… finding anything old and bringing it home TOO, but it took me a few years to realize that "she's serious".


All of this changed one day in the spring of 1967. I had been "turned loose" (my mother's words) by my mother at my uncle's farm with his blessing to "go anywhere you want" and "can have any antiques you find". This was not the first time for this "turned loose" there and… it was a farm with six barn size outbuildings way out in the middle of nowhere and having been built in the 1820's. The setting as just described didn't mean much to me THEN for I considered "these old farms" to be "LIKE THAT" and "normal". The compounding of "this changed one day", unknown even to me, was that MY ability to "find antiques" was "growing leaps and bounds". What started as a nine year old's "curiosity" now blossomed into "THAT'S TOO MUCH WE CANNOT FIT IT IN THE CAR!" gathering processes. As my mother said: "Turned loose".


That day off I went and after several hours of rummaging, retrieving, bringing to show my mother and uncle and leaving in a pile next to the car… I was down on all fours creeping around the bottom of a stairs in an out building and …could just see through the stair crack a "bunch" of "old glass" behind that stairs. I crawled in-under and behind the stairs and retrieved three fruit jars and… skipped them over to the pile after showing them off and receiving just about as much interest in them as I had in them… except that I HAD seen the 1865 dates on the lids of the jars.


The fruit jars rode home, went to my bedroom and …languished. In about a week or so I talked with someone about something and somehow gained inkling that "old fruit jars" were "worth money". I resurrected the three jars, washed the three jars and put them on display… in my room. One jar was called "DEXTER" in print on it's front and this was surrounded by an embossed ring of fruit and vegetables. The other two jars were embossed "FRANKLIN DEXTER FRUIT JAR". After another week I went to the antiques store with my mother. There, in conversation, I told the dealer about my fruit jars. I told him about the one embossed "DEXTER". We left, two weeks went by, we went back and… in conversation… the dealer asked if I wanted to sell the fruit jar embossed "DEXTER". "No." I said  "I will pay forty-five dollars for it" he said. My mother's attention was had. MY attention was had. WE agreed to "SELL THE JAR" and "Bring it next weekend". We did. I had forty-five dollars in cash. I still had the other two fruit jars. The dealer didn't want them.
When we were home, later in the school week, my grandmother was visiting and heard the story from my mother. She hunted me down, congratulated me on the sale and asked "What are you going to do with the money?" I knew what I was going to do with it and told her right away that I "know where there is a historical flask I want that costs $65.00 and as soon as I can get another twenty dollars I am going to buy it." My grandmother… and I have never forgotten this… stood looking down at me for a moment and then… saying nothing… opened up her pocket book and gave me a twenty dollar bill.


I bought the flask. I had, until that day, a job as a paper boy delivering newspapers and a job mowing "peoples" lawns. "Peoples" were like my fourth grade teacher and… such. THAT DAY THAT ENDED and I became an "antiques dealer". That was 1967 and I was in seventh grade. I procured my state resale vendors license two years later in 1969 when I was in ninth grade. I have been an antiques dealer… and rare books dealer… ever since I found those fruit jars and sold the one at… the old antiques store.





Thursday, August 11, 2016

Careless and Callous - Accumulation of Inherited (Antiquarian) Art - Part Three - "Decoration"


Careless and Callous

Accumulation of Inherited (Antiquarian) Art

Part Three

"Decoration"



            When... one... walks
            Into a room does
            One walk noticing?

            The room
            The entry
            The doors
            The windows

            The whole affair?
            And the ‘things’
            “In there”.

            “My things” you say?
            “Put there” you say.
            “I
            Suppose it is, as you say:
            Decoration”
            “I”.




            So it is an accumulation after all.  Isn’t it?  I just purveyed (Part Two) that you did not ‘take’ the ‘good things.  No:  You wouldn’t pay and someone else
            Took them away.  But you did
            “GET”
            Lots of things
            “From there”
            And I have to look at them again... after years (decades) pass.  You introduce them as a whole, an all, as ‘from there’ and then carry that prefix as an understanding, to
            “Each and every”
            Thing
            You now show as your own “in there”.  Yes... you are now old enough that you too, now have your very own ‘in there’ of ‘things’.  How many ‘rooms’ of ‘things’ do you have?
            It “turns out”... you don’t have things.  No... seems to be more
            Toward
            “Stuff”.
            You have stuff “like”.  That bad?  Yep.
            AND you took that and you put that and... then-there came
            The ‘stuck with it’ ever after.  I mean... it is not as if one is going to have an
            Epiphany
            And order out the stuff like and buy crazy good things to be your
            “In there”.  No... your not going to do that; it does not happen.  Your stuck with it; your ‘get’ ‘lots of things’ ‘from there’ (“inherited” “antiques”).




            And then, you, too
            Do not think I notice (know); that you ‘decorate’ with ‘stuff like’... and not
            Real things.  Oh no:  No, no, no.  Go back to your rooms and look.  I am NOT over boundary.  I am speaking of fact.
            The fact is... that it (each room) is... a decorated with accumulation...; the ‘your rooms’.  I may denote this just as I enter each room.  Whom did you think you are fooling and... I did not want to be around them ‘anyway’.
            So let us stop with the ‘decoration’ of each room and drag the ‘stuff like’ around as it should be; push us against and stood upon; back to the wall front to service.  Dirty drawers filled with clutter.  Old wrinkled and smelly carpets.  No one’s eyes see that
            Except mine.



            Yes there is a back edge to the gold blade of one’s accumulation of inherited antiques.  But one must put them (accumulated antiques) down.  IF you have a tall clock (grandfather’s clock)... do not decorate with it.  Do not display it ‘at me’.  No.  Never.  Unless, of course, it IS a ‘an actual good one’.  THAT means THE old CLOCK has merit... not YOU.  But:
            Careless and callous.
            Is a secret Santa?




            The first bad boy (Part One) was the objective status that the ‘things’; each thing, in the inherited estate contents were not ‘know what they are’ by the heirs and that was
            Careless and callous.
            The second bad boy (Part Two) was the objective status that the ‘things’; each thing, in the inherited estate contents, were distributed (with and including denoted cash valuation).  Most if not all of the truly ‘good things’ were purloined by a silent “I know” who, too, actually ‘paid’ for those ‘good things’, too; the ones that were ‘highly’ valued (appraised ‘high’).  Although not noticed or understood by the heirs, this looting-of-the-best (things) was, too
            Careless and callous.
            The third bad boy has just been broached.  Gathering your ‘I take’ from the leaving and scrapping still within the estate, one’s “I LIKE” (“I know”?); your fair share of the “of that” and... taking it to ones own home and...
            Yes...
            Decorate.  THAT... the ‘decorate’ IS domestic promotional... a showing off of
            ‘My good things’.
            It is too...
            Careless and callous
            Pungent
            Enough for you?




            And now we are back to the ‘but...’
            “Careless and callous... is a secret Santa”:




            If you are really stupid... you think Careless and Callous is a ‘style’ you
            Can do.  Oh take a bite from that apple.  It is poison.  Careless and callous is a style but
            It
            Does you.




            First the old ‘inherited’ estate must be “full” of (good) “things” “not known”.  Then (second) it must be looted of these ‘its best things’ by those who are “I know”.  Then the heirs ‘come though’ and “take”.  Then the estate is formally ‘cleaned out’...  Leaving only, thereafter, the ‘come through’ and ‘take’ cashes... spirited away to a ‘new and better’ “HOME”.  There is ‘nothing good’ ‘in there’ (the new and better home).
            BUT:
            No Wasp estate will settle for that.  No.  They...
            Cart it all home and shove it everywhere.   ALL of Dad’s books.  Ratty chair after ratty chair... to be used as seating for old dogs to lick themselves in.  ALL of the flower pots.  MOST of the kitchen... “THE DRAWERS ARE FULL” with little odd ‘bottle twisters’ from ‘mother’s house’.  All the frying pans (“SHE NEVER USED THEM”) (or “HER” “bean pot”).  Rakes, tire irons, bird feeding supplies, flashlights that don’t work.  Telephone directories from the cottage.  Door mats.  “TV tables”... what ever those are.  Children’s sleeping bags from the trip to the New York World’s Fair... in 1964.
            If you leave it
            I take it.
            But; Careless and Callous
            Done right
            Leaves little behind.
            The mess and clutter moves to your house.  “Isn’t that interesting!  THAT’S how its done.  I always wondered.”  No fanfare.  No speaking of.  The grandfather clock... in the first estate ‘didn’t have a movement’ “in the appraisal” but that movement was found in a cardboard box on the bottom shelf of the backdoor cupboard then
            Moved to the heir’s home with the clock...
            Almost:
            It was... ‘put down’
            “Somewhere.  We HAVE It I’m sure” but, too...
            With the BONNET (whatever that may be) of the tall clock’s case
            “SET OFF” in
            “THE OTHER ROOM” “THE CEILING WAS TOO LOW” (to put the bonnet on) “OK?”.  And everything else is that way too.
            “Mother’s”
            Is a careless and callous
            Wasp interior decorative style.  It takes generations to perfect and may be spotted by the knowing eye in seconds. It cannot be ‘faked’.  It may be tellingly emulated and THAT be a LIE.  Oh don’t think for a moment that I don’t know exactly what I’m talking about and what it looks like.  Just because you’d never live that way doesn’t mean it is not a way... a Wasp way.  They just won’t let you see it and... none of their things are ‘that good’
            Anyway.




Monday, August 8, 2016

Dead Mother's Place



Dead Mother's Place




They sold everything in their mother’s summer
Place to me.
I bought everything in their dead mother’s
Summer place.
They were “glad to be rid of it” they said
When I paid them.


The oriental rugs on the boathouse floor.
The oil paintings hanging in the horse stalls in
The barn.
A broken Tiffany floor lamp
In the upstairs’ hall closest.


“You can see all the islands from here.”
“My mother kept it that way.”
“That was her desk over there.”
“This is where the servants lived.”


Most of the silver was taken in the robbery
Except for the dinner soon lying between
The granite stones of the front steps.
I took that for my collection.


Several family members wanted
The painting
Of the ship at sea
In the storm.


They “didn’t want the memories”
In boxes stacked behind, before
 Down under
And up above – in the back.
  


They screeched when the
Bats flew in the attic
The water had been turned off
So no one could wash their hands.


“Can you?”
“How soon?”
And “All of it?”
“You want all of it?”


“So much of it is trash.”
“Our plane is on Friday morning.”
“My sister doesn’t want that
after all.”


I promised myself I wouldn’t
Show too much interest,
But I did bring three trucks
For the first three loads.


They wanted to help
But got tired and dirty
And hungry and hot
And Itchy and stabbed through


By the
Ghost bitch devil
Scratching and clawing
In their brains.


“Feel guilty.” They said
And wanted to
Wash their hands
And “be rid of it”.