Except for once and that was on the way TO Maggie’s because sometimes we’d actually GO there instead of this round & round “be going by” thing they did most of the time to ALL of the houses we went to. We’d ah “be go’en by” more OLD houses that we’d spend THREE HOURS in TWO minutes after my grandmother SAID that same “be go’en by” line over and over. It always worked, especially along with the “The DOCTOR” stuff. Anyway: WE were going THERE so I mentioned how I’d seen this little box that had, well, a bunch of little “pearl handle” jack knives in it, with some little (ink) bottles and some papers & letters and how the lid “was off” but had an old belt hitching it down but that was loose and I’d “moved it” that last time and could see in it and, well, THEY were interested in THAT after I told them about it so I explained how it was EXACTLY in the upstairs’ front hall space at the head of the stairs but I’d moved it because of “that table thing” They “taken out” of the room next to it but it was probably RIGHT where I pushed it in-under that “desk-bookcase thing” she “won’t sell”.
Nobody SAID anything but when we did get “up there” which was well late in the visit because I had already been “called in to help” my mother started bobbing up & down in front of the ...18th Century SECRETARY... until I pushed her far enough over by these other cardboard boxes that she DID see the little wooden box with the loose belt. Then THEY did this little damn thing that I knew They were doing and am proud to say I know how to do with MY DAUGHTER so as to do the round & round and sure enough... MAGGIE “give it” to ME. Then my mother gave me a little kick in the ass which meant to “get that out of here” so I did that but when I got to car I didn’t put it where They put their stuff but put it in back with me because, well, I was MINE. THEY never fought that but did say how that “is a good little box” and my mother would always look at the stuff in it a real lot. There was, inside of the box, another little paper box and that had little paper cushion in it but I didn’t; no one did, pay any attention to that for along time, probably four years, but one night I just happened to hear something sound like it slid UNDER that paper cushion so I took it out and THERE were TWO five dollar gold pieces. But that was YEARS after we “found it”. The rest of the stuff in the box was one of the “girls” from “the family” “school box” of her letters and little keepsake things that were mostly from when she was in Portland in the 1820’s but I guess she had a boyfriend later too from there and they did get married and live in Portland but he died and she ended up living in the second house until she died. The box was outside of “her room” when I found it.
They wanted that secretary in the worst way but Maggie being sort of in the know knew not to sell them that. I couldn’t see it being “worth it” much because one side of “the lid” was broken (had been for a long time) because they all said someone “Forgot to pull out the slides”. My grandmother did actually get that but I wasn’t there for that because that was years later when Maggie was “finally sick” which was when she “did die this time”. But we got all of the books out of the top one time and I had to pack those up and carry them. That’s when I found and KEPT the little pirate book that had this picture (woodcut) of Blackbeard’s head cut off and stuck on the front of a sailing ship that I had forever and showed everyone and ...everyone “always liked it”.
We got a lot of old books out of there that now, being as I AM a “rare book dealer” and have had ten zillion “lots” from “old houses” “just like it” know that I... I ... didn’t have to “piss bananas” over ‘em BUT YOU MIGHT HAVE and so will also mention that a lot of the old papers in that desk went WAY back from their family in Massachusetts and WAY up through right before I was there (1958) and eventually we had ALL of that out in my grandmother’s barn in boxes that we’d go through over and over to “find stuff” “to sell”. I had pretty good free range on the papers because they “weren’t worth much” then and I kept things like the scrap book albums in my room because they were neat to “look at”. No one ever wanted to by them back then but this one woman from “the Coast” did always want this pretty old valentine in it own special box that was hand painted too but... she’d never pay anything GOOD for it so I kept it. Still have that somewhere, I believe, even though... I haven’t look at a lot of that... “old stuff”... “from that place” (“Maggie’s store”)...