Between the incident just reported of I capturing the clean out of my own grandmother’s estate and… the 2012 ‘fifty years later’ re-emergence of Mr. Simon’s ‘summer place’ and the Captain Merritt Kimball estate in the local village’s antiques dealing realm… two actions… ?... or ‘activities’…?... should be recorded. Maybe these are best noticed as ‘no action” or ‘non activities’ ‘taken’.
First, and promptly, I cleaned out the estate. I took everything. I did this just the same as I did estate cleanouts then, there, after, ever after …and now (to this day). It is a polished precision “ALL” “goes to the warehouses” leaving …the estate ‘broom clean’ empty and… a “I’ll get to it” stored in a warehouse… unsorted mound of ‘stuff’ ‘from there’. What is a good warehouse in Maine? I personally prefer ‘drive up flush’ with the truck tailgate three or four floor ‘old barns’. They hold a lot, are very dry and… don’t attract attention (the state is full of them). Again; once in the warehouse an estate contents status is ‘I’ll get to it”.
This mostly means nothing happens. That, in my experience (applied experience) in the trade is ‘good’. The ‘stuff’ ‘just sits there’. Eventually one ‘looks at something’ and there begins the long process (in no hurry at all) of … ‘looking at something’ and ‘selling it’… ‘sort of’. In the case of my grandmother’s estate this was an enhanced ‘I’ll get to it’ simply because it was my grandmother’s estate and I, being a twenty-eight year old antiques dealer in fine antiquarian such-such… felt “there’s noting good” “in there”. And… that was true… sort of. It was the …very helpful at this time chart spot of my career… CONCEIT… of my self serving antiques dealer ME …that simply packed “ALL” of it “OFF” without thinking too much about any of this and then turning promptly a ten on Monday morning after the ‘walk through’ “DONE”; the door locks behind me …of my grandmother house forever… that I hardly noticed… MOVE ON TO THE NEXT… high octane ‘antiques’ ‘deal’.
NOW do not think I was a fool blinded fool while active on the site. I moved with snake slither poison fang strike abandon through the whole wholeness of the estate and, in fact, purloined what most would begrudge ‘looks like pretty good stuff to me’, truck full after truck full on down to the FIVE truck loads of Maine perfection grade stacked dried hardwood ‘stove wood’. I left behind not a single fagot. There was found… by I … and is still found to this day… by I… ‘treasure’.
To focus this treasure and to assure we remain ‘in’ this tale, I show two examples to portray the process… of sorting (a broad sense)… an estate… over decades of time. Reminding of my “whose in a hurry” work policy, I assure that I TOOK MY TIME. And pieced a ‘the pieces’ together …slowly.
WHEN I went into the upstairs bathroom on the …frenzied rape and pillage first ‘walk through” to “SEE” ‘anything good’ I spied… forlorn and alone and up above eye level …a pair of smaller early American pressed glass (EAPG) diamond point pattern decanters… ‘sitting there’ where they’d been ‘sitting there’ for a ‘God knows how long’ including being undisturbed during the distribution of the estate. “POP goes the weasel” for those and off into a box and into a truck load and… that was it for about ten years. MEANWHILE my old eagle eye “huh” a EAPG diamond point spooner (a glass vessel used before the Civil War to serve coin silver spoons to tea drinking guests) ‘turned up’, ‘went by me’ and got, an again, “Huh” BUT did not get the slip of paper in there (with the spoons) too “noticed”. For fifteen years or longer. “NICE” did get out from me for the set of six “MUST BE HER OLD” diamond point sherry glasses (?) neatly ‘sideboarded’ off the living room next to a bottle style ‘a nothing’ brandy ‘near full’ decanter (“No one took that?”). The glasses I could figure they’d leave; too good for them to ‘understand’. Just… ‘your grandmother was funny’ …BETTER GLASSWARE THAN… your lips… HAVE EVER TOUCHED.
OK so I took those no problem. And found another ‘spooner’ too. That could be a ‘spill holder’. What’s a spill holder? It’s a fine EAPG vessel that held little tubes of hand rolled up scrap paper to be used to ‘light’ ‘lamps’… before the Civil War.
I sort of kept those ‘set of six’ ‘in sight’ over the years. They’ve been ‘on a shelf’ ‘in a building’ for, now, like… thirty years. They’re for sale. No one has bought them. No one asks about them. IF a ‘they do’ it seems they are ‘too expensive’. “Huh”. Yes and just like my grandmother with the old Compass Parker punch bowl… these ‘her sherry glasses’ …just sit there “no one wants them”.
Until one day.
That day I happened on the spooner with the silver spoons and …noticed the paper slip and… had to walk outside into the barn yard light to read the cryptic scratch of my grandmother’s penciling that read… simply… “Captain Merritt Kimball”.
Except that ‘Captain Merritt Kimball’ would have been DEAD before the EAPG diamond point pattern glass was made SO: That cryptic pencil scratch simply recorded that my grandmother had ‘gotten these’ from that estate. I understood what I read; what the message “means”; that she found the EAPG diamond point glassware scattered in the Kimball estate and it was “THEIRS” meaning “someone in the family” “purchased it”… probably in Boston… before the Civil War and brought it back on ‘the boat’ and ‘the family’ used it as their glass ware and “THIS” (what my grandmother found and purloined) was “what was left”. “Huh”. Then I began collecting the “diamond point I’ve found” “together”. Sort of. Over twenty years. Sort of. I mean… no one ever asks about it, knows about it, sees it, handles it or …ever had their lips touch the rim of the glasses “I’ll show you”. My grandmother said.
So THESE are truly from ‘The Captain Merritt Kimball’ estate as… documented… by my grandmother who purloined them and documented them way back in 1962 ‘from Rufus’ probably for a nickel apiece. “Cool’. She put those decanters up on the top of the …upstairs bathroom’s medicine cabinet… for ‘safe keeping’. She looked at them all the time. No one else did. Or ever has. Except me. I work with idiots.
That last is easily proven.