Is Your Attic?
Back in Maine this week we have been old rolodex A-Z style tending a back log of estate inspections. Most have been of little interest and have been sent on their way toward “distribution”. One call rang true to its telephone description by the supervising heir. She stated “mother gathered a lot”. “Mother” did “gather” “a lot”.
We arrived, were escorted into the home and were eye dazzled at first steps by “her things” everywhere. Clean, very carefully shelved, sensitively arranged and displayed with a collector’s eye, we quickly discovered a woman’s treasure trove left behind that showed that she, over at least fifty years, went out antiques hunting all the time.
She brought home her plunder, cleaned it, displayed it and kept it. Forever. Sometimes she visited a local auction. Another day a local tag sale. Another weekend a local antiques show. A local flea market she was “always going there” for a quarter century. And always “bringing home”. Not a hoarder or clutter bug, every purchase seems to fit in addition to announcing her broad and roving eye of “what she liked”.
A quick walking tour told us to get down to business. “Our interest? We would buy it all”.
“Well… we do not know what we are going to do yet.
“Fine. We would make an offer for all of it when you are ready”.
We “gathered” that a tag sale manager “wants to do a series of sales”. We “gathered” that an auctioneer (or two) “are expressing interest”. One of the heirs has spoken of “putting it all on eBay ourselves”. The supervising heir was unsure of “who” was going to do “that” but said “it won’t be ME”.
We pointed out that the mother had truly “gathered” a great amount and keeping track of it all could be a problem. Again stating that “when you are ready” we would buy all of it and remove it all promptly. She thanked us and we went outside the house. We had been there less than forty-five minutes; it was still before ten in the morning. The supervising heir turned and looked back at the house. “Mother DID gather a lot didn’t she”.
Yes she did.
The photograph shows a nook in one of the attics. A small & well proportioned cherry wood 20th century “hutch” cupboard holds a… “gathering” of partially arranged 20th century pewter; a “work in progress” left behind by the gatherer. The baskets, banister back chair and old red child’s chair are all “early”. The hutch top holds an old school bell documented to a local one room school house two miles away. There too is found an exceptionally large bail handled pantry box in an original teal blue paint. This attic nook gathering is no accident. There is no clutter or trash in the space. Everything was carefully gathered by the owner over decades. All was brought to this space by her where she had many happy moments studying, working with and arranging “her things”. Considering the size of the estate, the amount of the gatherings, the quality of the gatherings and the utter lack of “trash”, this estate is a model of collector “gathered” diligence.