By August of 1962, the ‘summer people’ had purchased The Captain Merritt Kimball property and ‘moved in’. The Kimball heirs (Merritt and Rufus) had moved out. The key to the estate was passed to the new owners. They did not change the lock. The buildings on the property, other than the front door to the main house, did not have locks. They never had been locked and… they were not locked by the new owners. Yet.
My grandmother no longer explored the property in search of Compass Parker’s ghost. She was “done” meaning she had found and purloined by nominal purchase amount “what I want”. By September, she had “forgotten about that” (the estate). This was just like the way she’d “forgotten” about Sophia Kimball’s chest. And Mr. Simon.
She ignored the new owners; “summer people” she called them. Although the local minister, when he visited my grandmother and “sherried”, did comment upon these “new people” who “come to the church they SEEM very NICE.” it was only a short and one-sided mention. My grandmother had nothing to say about ‘them’ and she would never speak to the minister about …Compass Parker’s ghost. Quickly… all of the spring of 1962 faded and, as the decades passed, ‘was forgotten’. It was forgotten by me… too.
After twenty years… in the year 1982… my grandmother died. I was twenty-eight. My grandmother was an antiques dealer …with diminishing ability… until her death. Local visitors “sherried”. Local history was ‘recalled’. Occasionally… antiques were bought (purloined) and “sold”.
I, by 1982, had become an adult and a full time antiques dealer. I became a dealer with vender’s license in 1969. I ‘dabbled’ for a couple of years before that licensing. I was in ninth grade in 1969. I was married and owned a house with a big barn in 1982. I was not a direct heir of my grandmother’s estate. I had nothing to do with my grandmother’s estate. I was, in fact, locked out… of grandmother’s estate. I didn’t care.
After 1962 and starting as early as 1965, a new market for ‘antiques’ blossomed, grew and flourished… ever after. This new market was described by words like ‘collectibles’ and ‘primitives’ and… other ever expanding outward ‘labels’. In its wholeness, it was a new cash fueled ‘interest’ in ‘old things’ that attracted the whole spectrum of middle class Americans. The whole spectrum means from ‘collector’; a person who ‘keeps’ to… someone sleuthing yard sales for ‘anything’ they ‘can sell’ ‘occasionally on weekends’ ‘maybe’. These latter show up in my yard late on Sunday afternoon WITH their ‘wife’ onboard with ‘something’ ‘I found’ that ‘maybe you’d want?’. Then, if possible, they go out to dinner with the proceeds of our …commercial intercourse.
This big …extension… of the ‘antiques market’; an ever expanding big boom reaching ever ‘more stuff’ CHANGED the way old Maine village estates were ‘looked at’ by ‘antiques dealers’. As time passed… quickly… all that ‘old stuff’ in the ‘old barns’… out buildings, sheds, attics, cellars and the WIDOW’S WALK… that had ‘just been left there’… became ‘good’ meaning that ‘it’ could ‘be sold’. Rapidly ANY and ALL old buildings were ‘got into’ to ‘get’ ALL ‘that” ‘out of there’. No building escaped.
At the Captain Merritt Kimball estate… now owned by ‘summer people’… the first sign of this ‘extension of the antiques market’ came when these summer people reported that they “believed” “someone” “has been going into the barns” (at the head of the private dock road on ‘The River Road’) and “taking things”. They could not say “WHAT” was taken but could show empty spaces where “something was” “WE THINK”. They were advised to “lock the barns”. They did that. Hasps with padlocks began to appear on EVERY BUILDING at the estate. And in the whole village. Further, it was slowly discerned by casual mention that ‘the thieves’ were ‘taking antiques’ ‘to sell’. The hasps and padlocks did not stop the pilfering. The ‘thieves’ ‘broke in’. The old building down between the docks that the summer people “never even BEEN in THERE” was ‘robbed’. A better word is “emptied”. They took ‘everything’ ‘in there’ “don’t know WHAT was in there”. The two barns continued to have ‘people getting in there’ “somehow”. They were being ‘emptied’ too. Before long up at the ‘main house’… the ‘out buildings’, hasped and padlocked AND the ‘main barn’ were suspected of ‘having someone getting in there’ ‘too’. One building in particular, a ‘tool shed’ that was, once, ‘full of old tools’… was ‘emptied’ and …no one heard or saw a thing. That’s because it ‘must of happened’ in the winter “we think” “they came in on snowmobiles”. I knew that ‘old tools’ ‘sold well’ by… 1967.
By 1982 ‘everyone’ had ‘locked their buildings’. This did… and has done… a great service. It preserved ‘buildings’ ‘that are (still) full’ ‘of antiques’. Within the first twenty years of the ‘boom’ in the antiques market… old Maine farm building were ‘locked up’ and therefore… in lock down. No admittance is extended to anyone except under the owner’s EVER MORE cautious supervision. This is fine with …and for… me; not only does it get rid of the riff-raff ‘dealers’ but in most cases… at best… a building contents will hold a ‘one or two plums’ among the other ‘swill’. This is because I am an ‘antiques’ dealer; I buy and sell actual antiques. I ‘get’ ‘swill’ in the course of business. I do not buy it. Others… ‘did’; the market ‘isn’t what it used to be’ for ‘swill’. Being escorted to a locked building on an estate ‘to see’ is NOT an opportunity these days. For those who ponder to know what an opportunity is… I tell; it is ‘in antiques’: ‘The people don’t know what those are’. Most ‘antiques’ are not found in locked sheds. This weak floor of the antiques interest; ‘that no one knows’ real ‘antiques’ … becomes… the foundation of the rest of this tale of ‘summer people’ in their ‘summer place’.