Although it is always wonderful to purloin an 18th century chest of drawers from a neglected state in a neglected New England estate… this has happened to I with such frequency over decades of ‘antiques hunter’ actions taken… and will continue to happen (antiques are NOT ‘running out’) with only my own dead body closing my roving (raking?) eye for… ‘them’… that I casually, cavalierly and …compostly… put the old chest into one of my own barns and… put a sheet over it and… ‘forget about it’. Sort of.
Composting my plunder is usual. Its easier to ‘forget about it’ as a research tool than any other method. Hidden away I certainly do remember ‘I have that’ AND ‘it is high and dry’ AND ‘no one bugs me about it’. My life… and antiquarian life… went on without concern for the ‘old chest’ ‘under the sheet’ ‘in the barn’. Even the haunts of Mr. Simon and my grandmother gave me no tension to suggest that THEY were not satisfied with the EXACT treatment I had given THEIR chest.
Complimenting this was my full failure to comprehend in any way that this chest was a ‘the chest’ from way back when I was eight years old…. onward from there to when I was twenty-eight years old… that my grandmother was …along with the Pittsfield platter… ‘thinking about’ when ever she relentlessly mentioned “the poor man… poor Mr. Simon” (Part Nine).
From her vantage… she assumed the chest… that, as she knew well, Charles (starting Part Two) had helped Mr. Simon move after his purchase of it… “was given to Mr. Simon’s wife”. SHE did not know that they only ‘put it in the barn’. Under an old table cloth. (Part Seven). I did not know that. I …assumed from ‘was told’ ‘that’ is ‘what happened’; “was given to Mr. Simon’s wife” so ‘is in the house’ so… it was NOT in the house because there was no chest in the house so… ‘the family took it?’ with this… affirmed by the ‘finding the platter’ ‘from the behind the my grandmother’s sofa cupboard’ …that was part of my grandmother’s twenty year mantra. The chest in the barn… therefore… “I FOUND”… and was THAT; a chest I found. Right?
This is a splendid moment of where “I think” should not be used and “I FEEL” become the SOUL source. That’s why I ‘instinctively”, (?), “compostly” my antiques. Sometime, somewhere… somehow… ‘out there’… in old neglected New England estate realms… I stopped thinking (“no one cares what you THINK) and went ‘all feel’ about ‘antiques’. My feelings about this think-feel transition?
“I’ll see you around? Maybe? Don’t bug me; go THINK over there. Thank you for doing that promptly.”
The first sign of ‘feel’ was Charles. Charles was dead. He died in 1994. His wife continued to live alone in their modest village side street home. Eventually she, I began to hear sort of… was ‘getting too old to live alone’. “Assisted Living” rose, loomed and transpired. The house was empty of humans but ‘still just the way they (Charles and his wife) lived in it’. I heard.
Then was told by one of the family.
Who said ‘we are going to sell the house’
“We are going to clean out the house.”
“WILL YOU COME BY AND LOOK to see if there is anything ‘good’ in there”.
Nothing happened. I didn’t think there was anything ‘good’ ‘in there’. The family didn’t think there was anything ‘good’ in there.
WE, casually; the… a family member-here-or-there and I… probably bumped into each other and “COME BY AND LOOK”… a dozen (?) times from, like, ’06 on. Nobody really cared. And the house “isn’t for sale yet”. Anyway.
But Charles was a ghost. Too. He was compatible with my grandmother’s ghost. AND with Mr. Simon’s ghost. As ghosts, they shared a common experience. Part of that shared common experience was under a sheet in my barn. THAT is a very powerful state of affairs if one does not THINK but has learned to FEEL.
Meanwhile, and plowing ever steadily along as a summer place containing its fourth or fifth or sixth family-from-away owners (“WHO CARES WHO THEY ARE”) and …having its ‘twenty-sixth’ (‘since ‘62’) new white paint job on the ‘exterior’… along with every and any renovation or ‘improvement’ one can think of including the “JUST RIP IT OUT’ again “NEW BATHROOM”, plural, but always “keeping the barns and outbuildings the same” and “LOCKED” because “someone has been getting into them”…: A litany that NEVER ENDS and was defined succinctly from the River Road in front of the … “Captain Merritt Kimball Estate”… by a fisherman’s wife as “FIRST IT’S THE FLOORS… THEN IT’S THE CEILINGS. THEN IT’S THE CEILINGS AND THEN… IT’S THE FLOORS” meaning that they are, forever again, ‘done over’ ‘again’. Along with painting the whole exterior of the estate ‘white’ ‘again’. And… “fixing” “the driveway”. Et al.
Forever coming down the front stairs during the ‘LONG WINTER OFF SEASON’, were the ghosts of Captain Merritt Kimball and his wife Sophia, ‘the wrecker’s daughter’… along with the ghosts of ‘grandfather’ Compass Parker and his wife, the first (?) Sophia. (Part Twelve A, B & C). THEY, these ghosts, STILL LIVE THERE… most of the time: “I went by that house one night last February. Cold as a bitch. But I swear I see a CANDLE in the window. I swear by it I see that.” Are there also other ghost there too? OF COURSE; what does one THINK? IT’S NOT ABOUT THINK; it’s FEEL. Rufus’ (starting Part Two) ghost is on the loose upstairs back by his old bedroom. WHERE ELSE WOULD HIS GHOST BE?