Once I had tumbled MY dice and stood all my dominos back up by using inner professional reset buttons to fluff the bed covers of my ‘personal feelings’ about ‘all this’ (this estate’s sequence in process), I offered myself FURTHER internal rumination and... self doubt. This came as a ‘TOO rethink this” about the first estate visited; the coastal mansion. It was a simple wobble. IF the “CAMP” was as good an antiquarian contests as I felt it was; a layered time capsule from the Civil War ‘untouched’... and THAT ‘I felt it was’ was founded on the “NOW I GET IT STUPID” acknowledgement that the estate principals (deceased) and the heirs... instead of being the ‘annoying’, disinterested, insensitive and nonchalant controllers of the estate contents... were actually the benefactors and supervisors (philanthropists?) of the PRESERVATION of the estates in their ‘full glory’ Thanks to them all this IS intact and undisturbed... EXCEPT for ME sticking my...: WHAT have I stuck in this so far anyway?
A couple of feeble professional pleas written down in ball point pen ink by a ‘paralegal’ attempting to suggest that there ARE estates here that... ‘will add up’. And that the heirs may not realize this. That’s all I’ve done?
“I guess that means I’m clean (from having to self-inflict a guilt trip), huh.”
THEN and there is where the new self doubt alleyway opened: IF I was so damn smart AND crossed the bridge of “NOW I GET IT STUPID”... and this came AFTER I’d ‘walk through’ the coastal mansion... did I... somehow... ‘miss something’ ‘in there’? So off I went on a room by room in my mind revisit walk through INCLUDING my ‘getting my notes out (MY yellow legal pad on clipboard) and... well... shuffling through the whole damn estate again... while sitting in an arm chair.
“NO!” I “shouldn’t have taken a video”. Pictures. More notes. More... mental images. MORE WHAT?
I went over this last... after ‘walking through’ again over and over from my armchair... with and without the ‘notes’. MORE WHAT? “Simply, Stupid,” I concluded “you only failed to APPRECIATE... the estate’s... contents, its undisturbed setting and its holy creation by the heirs... provided ...on a platter... for YOU... Stupid”.
Yes; that was it. I did not discover a ‘missed something’ treasure trove. No... I HAD assuredly creeped to the far corners TOO... of the garage, the garden shed and even the little lattice doorway allowing access to ‘under the porch’. I had ‘flashlighted’ into all ‘under’ crawl spaces... including the ‘under eves’ attics... . I had ‘done it’ and ‘found nothing’ except the supra preservation of all... 1937 Harvard yearbooks and summer camp songster pamphlets. Old footballs and broken radios. Clean and never used tools in a clean and never used tool box. The rugs, again, ‘layered’. The desk cubby with ‘EVERY’ heating oil bill ‘EVER’ stuffed in it and I mean stuffed; not filed. The crummy art (framed prints). The old wool blankets. The lone file cabinet... full of papers... ABOUT NOTHING. EVEN the grass growing between the random shaped slate stepping stones in “the garden” ...made ‘perfect sense’... and ...made nothing more than that... when reviewed with the “NOW I GET IT STUPID” amplification. It (the coastal mansion) was a perfectly preserved specimen of Twentieth Century WASP... from an antiquarian artifacts found cash value perspective... LUNACY. I understood this personally. I understood this professionally. My estate summary rested unchanged; ‘add up to a lot’ from a ‘three day estate auction’... that would include the footballs and busted radios. Too.
It is hardly any jump-in-mind to be assured that all this armchair ‘TOO rethink this” carried back to “CAMP”. I revisited. I concluded.
I concluded that what was the “REALLY” of the “CAMP” was all the neat real old Civil War era Maine Farm STUFF that was layered UNDER the estate family’s ownership ....WITH a dash of their own OLDER (19th C.) ‘stuff’ tossed into the mix and: WITH a ‘topping’ of their 20th Century ‘Huh; that’s neat’ ‘stuff’ that is best denoted in their tractor in... perfect hardly used condition with ...no finger prints on it. “It’s the old Maine farm stuff, stupid”. And... the fantasy of I arriving with my team of hirelings and fleet of empty trucks to ‘clean it (the whole estate’s contents) out’... after making a successful and well calculated purchase offer... and doing that...just before the FLEET of idling diesel powered bulldozers ‘begins’ ‘the demolition’. THAT fantasy was wrapped up with “Dream on, Stupid” that I reset as “Better keep you eye on that one. Stupid”.
And did nothing more except put my notes away, go down the river to the next village and ‘door knock’ one of the ‘old sea captain’ estates I’ve been plundering for two decades... just because the old girl was out in her garden “WEEDING”.
“WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO?” she said.
I told her about the estates. I told her “they have ANOTHER HOUSE in ALBANY NEW YORK” realizing as I was saying this that I had ...’forgotten about that’. “NO.” I said. “I haven’t been there YET. MIGHT HAVE TO GO.”
“All the way over to ALBANY NEW YORK MY land you DO get around”.
“Any chance you want to get around up into your ATTIC this afternoon?” I said.
“BE too STUFFY up THERE today.” she said.
“WELL how about selling me ALL that OLD REDWARE out in the MILK ROOM today? ALL OF IT... WILL ADD UP. Four... FIVE HUNDRED dollars. IF you sell me ALL OF IT.”
Her head come up and then she straighten up holding a hand full of pulled weeds.
“I NEED to spend TOO MUCH this afternoon on some OLD STUFF like that. NEED to CLEAR MY HEAD. SELL ME that old redware I’ve wanted. To buy. YOU know what I mean.”
“You really think you’d PAY FIVE HUNDRED today?” she said.
“You really think you’d PAY FIVE HUNDRED today?” she said.
“GOT TO today. I’m all DIZZY from those people’s ESTATES. I NEED to get back to old FARM antiques. You know; like out in the shed. The MILK ROOM. NO ONE goes in there EVER anymore. Not even YOU.”
“Well.” She said and looked over past a shed toward the far corner of the old barn where the box shaped building of the milk room was ‘butted on’ to the barn side. The outer door; the in and out door... was in clear sight. The sun beat on the door... and the room. That means it’s ...hot in there. I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything. “YOU’D be PAYING CASH as always?” she continued.
“Oh yeah; on the barrel head; cash in YOUR hand, like always.
“Well... I suppose then... we better go look... if your gonna be... that foolish with your money today.”
After about thirty minutes of excavation to be sure we found “EVERY PIECE” of redware “IN THERE” and a trite one sided dickering that was trite and one sided because once she got ‘FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS’ in her sun bonnet it was a FIXED NUMBER that only I finding “EVERY PIECE IN THERE” acted to ...reduce... the MY cash in HER hand ‘cost basis’.
I bought the lot.
I loaded it with her helping me by making local small talk.
I drove away.
I’d forgotten about the “TOO rethink this’ of the estates.
I’d forgotten about the Albany house.
I forgot about ALL OF IT.
For two days.
Then a paralegal from the law firm called ‘to ask’ if I ‘would go’ to ‘Albany’.