I was unable to watch. I was ‘kept away’. All I could do was ‘heard’. Not hear. Heard. And that time frame of ‘heard’ was short. Too.
It wasn’t the season. It wasn’t the ‘holidays are coming’. It was ‘them’; the H&W trio. They’d “discovered”, in a not focused but blossoming way, that they “CAN DO THIS”. AND they did “do this”. What is ‘this’? “SELL ANTIQUES”. They discovered they could “LOOK THINGS UP ON THE INTERNET” to find out “WHAT IT IS” and “HOW VALUABLE IT IS”. And then ‘sell’ it.
And they proceeded emphasizing the ‘not focused’. Simply, a single item would, by the H&W trio, become ‘discovered’, be designated to be ‘antique’ and ‘valuable’ so worthy of ‘looking up’ to affirm these and… that actually worked every now and then so that… vintage nostalgic domestic iota… such as a ‘Sessions Electric Clock’ would be ‘fully researched’, ‘priced’ and ‘put in the sale’. I’ll get to this last; ‘sale’, right along. Most of the time though, the long flying arrow of success fell short during the ‘look up on the internet’ effort so was… “MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ANTIQUE” and… this ‘fell short’ item was… also ‘priced’ and ‘put in the sale’. Too.
And no one cared. Including I for I understood that IF there are no ‘antiques’ to ‘wrong price’ …how can one, therefore, ‘wrong price’ an antique. I did care about ‘the sale’. THIS was, I heard, ‘coming soon’ ‘as soon as’ ‘we are ready’ “MAYBE” “next weekend”. Not so: Three days after I ‘last visited’ I HEARD that ‘people are’ “ALREADY” ‘being let in’ to “BUY THINGS’. And they were.
And this continued to be “THE WAY” with ever expanding access into the “HOUSE” for buyers. The trio ‘started’ ‘selling’ from the front rooms of the first floor of the house. They would restock the spaces created by successful sales with ‘more’ brought in from the ‘other rooms’. This lasted a half day for not only did space from sales not open up fast enough but the work of “moving this stuff around” …disqualified that option. Quickly, a potential buyer had the run of the whole house. Oddly, no one seemed interested in the shed-summer kitchen-barn complex BEHIND the house that was “out through the kitchen”. The kitchen was the staff headquarters for the H&W trio and their team of help, ‘brought in’ and this included twelve packs of soda. And beer. “THE GIRLS” held firm grip on the internet and pricing while designating active physical tasks for youth and manpower. The youth held firm grip on their cans of soda. The manpower held firm grip, court, “out-behind-the-building” and “cold one” on “THEIR” beer cans. The system worked. By the end of the ‘first weekend’ ‘of selling’ that was actually a five day stretch, “THINGS LOOK GOOD” with “A LOT” “SOLD” and …now “THE GIRLS” issued a proclamation that “LOADS” would now be “TAKEN” to “the transfer station” “BY THE MEN”. The men did not ‘decide’ ‘what’. They ‘loaded’ and ‘drove the truck’ with the ‘NOT THAT FAR AWAY’ designation allowing for keeping ‘a firm grip’ on “THEIR”… beer can. Too. The ‘staff’ at the transfer station ‘knows’ ‘everyone’ AND that included knowing Mr. Beer Can. Too.
I was kept away? I kept away.
By Monday afternoon a ‘during a lull’ had set in that was longer than previous lulls. The manpower was sluggish from days of keeping a firm grip on their beer cans. “THE GIRLS” were “exhausted” from “FIVE DAYS” of looking things up on the internet in the kitchen, pricing the ‘its’ and then selling (or better; trying to sell) the ‘its’. HOW much of this was actually being ‘done’ by these “THE GIRLS”… I didn’t debate. I just ‘stopped by’ “TO SEE” and …chatted.
Them up. Patiently. UNTIL:
“THE DESK? IT’S STILL”… right where I last saw it? “Really?”
“Really. WE’RE TAKING IT TO AN AUCTIONEER OUTSIDE OF BOSTON WE THOUGHT. BUT. WELL. ***** (the H&W team who lives ‘IN NEW HAMSHIRE’) IS GOING TO SHOW IT TO ***** (naming a well know Portsmouth, New Hampshire area auctioneer). HE COSTS LESS.” This I took to mean ‘commission / consignment’ ‘stuff’? And drive time? And… word was getting out fast about… someone finding ‘a desk’ “IN MAINE”? And:
I felt a firm grip on the back of my shirt collar as if… the ghost of my grandmother was grabbing me there just like the time when I was six years old and she removed me from playing in the mud pit I created in the little stream behind the barn. She had grabbed my collar from the rear, lifted and reversed me and said “MARCH” …up to the barn where my clothes were stripped off and I was ‘washed off’ with the water from ‘the rain barrel’ at the front of the barn. I believe I even heard the ghost whispered word “MARCH” right now. Too.
“MAY I PLEASE SEE the desk again?”
“OH SURE JUST GO OUT THERE YOU KNOW WHERE IT IS”.
I did. ONE of “THE GIRLS” DID… come too.
WE… found the desk to be EXACTLY where it was last AND I… I found that the REST OF THE ‘antiques’ that were there too… were… still THERE TOO. “AH…” I SAID. “How much is the chair?” The ghost collar grip from my grandmother WAS CHOKING ME.
“OH WE DIDN’T PRICE THAT!” I’d already moved to the Roger’s group.
“THIS TOO. How much for THAT?”
“I. …I… HAVE TO ASK”. WE FORGOT THAT.”
I’d picked up the kerosene lamp. “I…”
“THAT’S BROKEN. YOU CAN HAVE THAT IF YOU WANT”.
“Ah… SURE. THANKS”.
“MAYBE; I’ll go ASK THEM.”
She left the doorway. I looked at the desk. I looked at the crumpled old oriental rug on the floor by the chair. I looked at the chair. Victorian? Earlier. Empire? TRANSTIONAL. English? French upholstery? I stared down at the moth eaten seat. I looked at the shoulders. “Soft shoulders” I said to myself. Soft shoulders… just like Sophia’s …soft shoulders.
OF COURSE this would have been the Captain Merritt Kimball “wrecker’s daughter” wife’s GRANDAUGHTER’S ‘chair’… most probably. “Right?” But SHE had ‘soft shoulders’. Too.
H&W girl one returned with …H&W girl two… saying, at the doorway: “WELL THAT ONE. We didn’t even get it OUT. SO: HE wants to know HOW MUCH.”
“That one?” said H&W girl number two. “Well. WE HAVEN’T DONE VERY WELL WITH CHAIRS. Selling them. NOBODY BUYS THEM.”
“Right.” I said.
“I… don’t really mind saying… I UNDERSTAND WHY NO ONE would want to SIT in that.” she continued. “It’s fine by me… let’s SEE… to LET YOU HAVE IT for TWENTY DOLLARS”.
I did not say anything. THEN I said “And that?” gesturing to the Roger’s group”
“OH THAT. IT’S SIGNED!”
“Yes. A Roger’s group”
“YES: LOOK at IT. JUST AWFUL”.
“Oh. I see. How much”
“Oh… you. NOBODY ASKED about IT. So. BUT: THEY SELL FOR A LOT WE FOUND”.
“BUT PERFECT CONDITION. Nobody is going to CARRY THAT HOME like THAT.”
“JUST: You’ve been VERY HELPFUL so JUST TAKE IT AWAY and I won’t SAY ANYTHING. Do you WANT the chair too?
“Yes. I’ll buy that. And the rug?
“That?” followed by a long surveying-with-eyes pause. “You can TAKE THAT TOO.”
After five days of yard sale running. After five days of ‘kept away’. On day six I… what? Got lucky that the WHAT was ‘still there’? They had yet to even start to touch the ‘out there’ regions of the home. They were MIRED in their current efforts and didn’t even know it. They were already taking the stuff to the dump and needed another twelve pack of cold ones to do that and DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT. They were… already… “exhausted” and had… barely started to clean out the house.
“I HAD A DREAM ABOUT YOUR GRANDMOTHER THE OTHER NIGHT” one of the trio said as I came into the kitchen carrying the Roger’s group from the workshop to my truck. I already had ‘loaded’ the chair, rug and lamp… in that order. “I REMEMEBER YOUR GRANDMOTHER FROM WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL. MY MOTHER KNEW HER. YOUR GRANDMOTHER WENT TO SCHOOL WITH MY GRANDMOTHER. MY MOTHER ALWAYS SAID: I REMEMBER SEEING HER WITH MY MOTHER AND SHE SAID ‘THERE SHE IS ALWAYS CARRYING SOMETHING OUT OF A HOUSE AGAIN’. SHE SAID THAT: YOUR GRANDMOTHE WAS ALWAYS CARRYING SOMETHING OUT OF A HOUSE. NOW YOUR CARRYING SOMETHING OUT OF A HOUSE TOO. ISN’T THAT FUNNY!”
I said “Yeah” and kept going.
On the sixth day of a local yard sale I purchased Captain Merritt Kimball’s granddaughter’s desk chair, the rug it sat on, the lamp that lighted the desk and … the American decorative genre sculpture “Coming To The Parson” by John Rogers that …was probably on a Victorian table – now lost – (?) - as decoration next to the… “Sophia’s desk” …in the ‘Lady’s Parlor’ of the Captain Merritt Kimball Estate. It wasn’t luck.