Thursday, April 25, 2013

Summer Place - Part Eleven

Summer Place

Part Eleven

            With the Kimball brothers physical departure from their ancestral home accomplished nearly six weeks prior to the actual sale of that ancestral property to the ‘summer people’… my grandmother encountered her first logistical problem in gaining access to the estate to …FIND… and then purchase… for very nominal amounts of money… the ‘good’ antiques in that …ancestral home.  The problem was that once ‘off property’ it was hard to get the brothers; either one or both together, to return to the property to “do business”.  After several mixed result ‘late’, ‘forgot’, ‘slow’, ‘confused’ and simply ignored “appointments” my grandmother took matters into her own hands.
            She requested forcefully to be allowed to roam the old estate without the brothers there, find anything she wanted to buy, list that with the amount she’d pay for it, submit that to the brothers with payment in full attached and… take the things she found and wanted …with Charles’ help… “out” “then”.  The brothers agreed and were ‘very pleased’ for they not only sold “a lot” of the contents of the estate but …didn’t have to “go there” to do it.  This is not an unusual procedure.  To this day I, in estate content purchases, am regularly ‘left alone’, often ‘for weeks’ during a clean out.  The owners are always ‘happy’ they ‘don’t have to be there’.  For our story, this settlement …settled… frontier number one (Part Ten).
            Again I remind that this is in 1962.  And remind that therefore a VERY LARGE AMOUNT… including virtually all of the contents of the ‘out buildings’ and ‘everything’ that was ‘not old enough’ in the actual home… was not purchased or EVEN LOOKED AT other than a ‘quick eyeballed’.  When the day of the sale of the property came, the Captain Merritt Kimball family estate property was still jammed full of what today would be considered ‘rare’ and ‘valuable’ antiques.  My grandmother …with Charles at hand the whole time… did “go in every building and look at everything” “several times”.  As earlier described, the property’s outbuildings were numerous and large (Part Two).  They DID find and take out “whatever I wanted”.  She always said.
            The problem, for my grandmother, was that SHE was “not finding” what SHE wanted to find and “expected to be in there”.  This lead to two repetitive utterances by my grandmother I heard for the rest of her life.  One was a short utterance.  The second was a long ‘saga’ utterance.  The saga utterance varied considerably in length when uttered.  We will work with the full length of the sage utterance.  I was eight years old when these utterances began and was twenty-eight years old when they stopped.  My grandmother died when I was twenty-eight years old.  I still remember both utterances ‘clear as a bell’ ‘to this day’.  This brings us back to the first paragraph of the last chapter (Part Ten) and the usage of the words ‘exact obsession’, ‘two frontiers’, ‘dead eyes the foundation’ and ‘scripted pages of the parable’.  This is the second frontier and:  It is these word’s meaning.  It is the explanation that becomes the ‘it’ of the canyon of Maine romance, summer people and ‘summer place’.
            The first utterance is deceptively simple.  It was… and is… “I cannot find Sophia’s desk”.  It adjusted after the …property sale… to “never could find” or “never did find” “Sophia’s DESK”.  What desk?  One would think that ‘everyone’ would ‘know’, at the least, ‘what’ or ‘about’ the desk and the merit of ‘finding it’ by the way my grandmother relentlessly uttered this utterance.  As it actually stood… no one knew what she was talking about and… didn’t care.  This included ME.  Who cares about an old desk that they’ve never seen and only some old crone utters about every now and then.  Further, my grandmother had never ‘seen’ this “Sophia’s desk” herself.  She had only… vaguely… “heard” “it” “is in there”.  That was all she could ‘bring to the table’ except that it was supposed to be a ‘Tambour” desk… what ever that is.  The only thing that was cohesive about this utterance was THIS UTTERANCE.  For myself, ‘a desk’ came and went constantly in physical fact; just about as CONSTANTLY as I heard this utterance.  This utterance, behind it’s “deceptively simple”… is part of the “is” that …is the “it” (Part Ten).  This utterance desk is “Sophia’s desk:  She was the wife of Captain Merritt Kimball.  It was her desk that the captain bought for her.”  “In Salem”.
            The second utterance; the saga utterance, is based on the old china bowl my grandmother hid in her china cabinet.  Before I relate the saga, I open the door with the need to define the understood… by my grandmother… actual state of ‘religion’ on the coast of Maine during the colonial era (1607-1776).  This is a strong point in understanding “why” things are the way they are in Maine and …why… this does not include ‘summer people’ in their ‘summer places’.  This ‘actually lived’ state of religion is, for the most part, NOT known in… a short, concise and foundation grade statement  It is hard to find a short, concise and foundation grade statement.  I do have one:
            “The Puritan theocracy never took root in Maine.  The manners of the frontier persisted.  The people were not fond of churchgoing and they didn’t go no matter what the clergy and magistrates said or did.  They were in the habit of swearing when they felt like it, and they continued to do so.  Puritan laws to control drinking were disregarded.  Maine continued to be a land of personal liberty where the only active religion was that of human association and friendliness.  Together with New Hampshire and Vermont, it constituted a frontier fringe where the most practical kind of democratic equality lasted until long after the Revolution.”  Ernest Sutherland Bates, AMERICAN FAITH, Norton, New York, 1940, pg. 103.
            This remains active to this day.  This includes Rufus Kimball’s rants (Part Two).  It is why I used the word ‘parable’ (Part Ten).  It is why I used the word ‘frontier’.  This is an ‘unknown’ to ‘summer people’ in their ‘summer places’.  It does explain ‘why’ things ‘are the way they are’ ‘in Maine’.
            And why my grandmother hid the old china bowl in the back of her china cabinet.  It explains her ‘exact obsession’.

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