"The Shoe Fits"
A tapping came next. It was not a tapping of this woman’s Topsider. It was a tapping OF ME; a tapping of my antiquarian expertise for... as usual with Janet... free. I was introduced to the woman; “Chris” “Broadhead”. (?). It was only “Chris” ever after. I say here that... then (fifteen years ago)... and NOW... I am ‘scared’ by blue jean wearing antiquarians (male and female) in addition to being ‘scared’ of anyone wearing... clean... with lightest wear... crisply pressed... blue jeans... period. In my earthy realms of antiquarian plundering; the rummaging, ransacking, looting and ...carrying off, I ‘don’t see’ ‘people’ (other humans involved in this plundering) ‘wearing’ ‘them’. Nope; just don’t, across the board. I DO SEE them worn in antiquarian theatre but... I spy that from a safe distance and... veer off. I’d already, with Chris and her foot nodding, veered off. Her blue jeans just ‘sealed it’. ‘Veering off’ is a ...tremendous... and ...primary... antiques picker skill... that is employed and perfected by pickers such as I.
What exactly ‘blue jeans worn’ means to antiques and the ‘trade’ of these ‘same’... is NOT concise. It is ‘felt’; a ‘feel’. THAT roughly (fuzzy) translates into ‘no money’ and ‘don’t know what they are doing’. THAT may lead to a further... state of affair... where THEY (the blue jean wearer) DOES feel THEY ...do know what they are doing... and that YOU (I) don’t know what your doing... so... a perspective of “advantage”, etc, et al... manifests... smack dab in your face while your standing there going “Is this person really that stupid?” The answer? “Yes: Never over look the obvious”.
The short way round this bush is to... FEEL... that IF someone is that ‘blue jeaned UP’... with their blue jeans (and here throw in the Topsiders and socks) ‘PRESSED”, “CREASED”... they’s ah lot more on top of that then, well, hooking a ‘painting on old board’ “OUT OF THERE?” (Part Nineteen [A]) for ten bucks cash banditry... and chucking it into the back of the truck – NOT doing as I did ... of putting it behind the seat. I’m ok with this; keep ‘em away.... KEEPS ‘EM AWAY. It’s what I call ‘the swagger factor’. In blue jeans, I can see that a mile off. And... that swagger goes EXACTLY where one... of common sense, would FEEL it would go. So I veer off.
But here at Janet’s coffee table I was trapped. Sort of. As fast as I veered off I ‘trailed’ my escape route. It is a standard classic I use all the time; ‘don’t be too good’. LET the blue jeans... throw me out. And why do that? Because in antiques land... it’s about the stuff. It is not about your pants. I ‘am about the stuff’. SHE (Chris)... is about... her pants. Her shoes. Her socks.... AND YOURS TOO.
“GOSH IT’S SWELL TO MEET YOU!” is not what Chris said. She didn’t say anything. She just ‘took note’. I know that directive too. I defended myself by releasing the sensibility that... what ever I said... about anything in the universe including my small world of expertise; being an antiquarian... dealer... SHE is NOT going to... ANYTHING. So... therefore... “I’M FREE”
“TO DO WHAT I WANT”.
Cocky... but I have ...not only professional pride... but a ‘load’ in the truck parked outside that PROVES IT. The ping-pong match began.
Janet... paddled the ball ...over the nets: “Chris is STUDYNG her FAMILY TREE (personal genealogical record) and I have been helping her with it. Her family is VERY large. There are many more people in HER tree than anyone’s I’ve WORKED WITH. It’s VERY interesting.”
I looked at Chris from my chair and slightly nodded to the... nodding foot... in a cognitive manor suggesting I was both on top of her interest and verified her superior tree within that interest. For example, ‘my family tree only has two people on it and they were born yesterday’ is the proper ‘give ground’ response. Or does it be more crafty? Would I be using that old New England turned up side down tactic learned so long ago in this tale of... falling back and fading away? (Part Six [D]).
“We made a lot of progress; a lot of compilation, at first. But NOW we spend most of our time trying to TRACE individuals whose NAMES we’ve DISCOVERED but just don’t know WHERE they fit in. Chris DISCOVERED an old SAMPLER among the papers of her NINETEENTH CENTURY family’s ESTATE RECORDS. She brought it with her today.”
At this moment Chris reaches to her right out past the nodding foot to a... leaning against the back of the loveseat small frame having its frontal view against the sofa back. She picks this up, reverses it and presents it to my vantage. She does not hand it to me. I see, reporting both the rear than front views I get as this action happens: Rear first, a ‘newly’ and ‘professionally’ framed... with brown paper back and the... requisite.... gold (or silver) modern framer’s label on a small, square and NEW frame. This is reversed to show me the frame’s front with this being an ‘under non-reflecting glass’ sampler; a small, square and typical school girl academy style ...first THIRD... of the nineteenth century... ‘embroidered’ ‘sampler’ ‘with verse’... and little decorative corner floral cartouches... AND including a lower center ‘basket of flowers’ AND... ‘with (an embroidered sewer’s) name’. This last is, obviously the ‘the name’ of the ‘trying to TRACE’ interest. I cannot see any of this clearly from my ‘across the coffee table ‘vantage’. That’s’ ok; it’s all the vantage I want anyway.
I... ‘hate samplers’. Actually I don’t hate them and do, for each I see, ‘like’ them... in the professional context of their decorative art heritage. What that last means is that I ‘like’ a sampler for what it is and that ‘what it is’ sampler’s actual ...art merit. This means MOST samplers escape needing more than a ...passing glance.... Very, very, very few samplers I’ve found were ‘loved’ by me. Unpleasantly... I am presented the ...opportunity to view “WE FOUND IT. IT’S A SAMPLER”... all the time. That is where ‘hate’ comes in. It’s not the sampler. It’s the people. Who have found ONE sampler in their lives and... obsessively... perform unnatural carnage upon ALL viewers of “THEIR SAMPLER” for ...several eternities. THAT is happening right here, right now with foot nodding Chris and HER SAMPLER. I am already ‘gone’ because HER sampler is... an... “is one” of ‘art merit’ meaning... I don’t have to ...care.
But, be assured, Chris does NOT feel that way about the “IT’S A SAMPLER” she found. Nope: Chris has found ONE sampler in her life. Before that ...she didn’t know they existed. NOW she “LOVES OLD SAMPLERS”. As entry level art merit goes, that is not ‘bad’ or ‘hard to do’. The stumble is that beyond her ONE sampler... her LOVE OLD SAMPLERS... doesn’t see ‘many’. Or maybe even ‘another one’... especially IF the HER sampler has a “FAMILY NAME ON IT” (in this case “WE THINK”). Further... buying and selling ‘old samplers’ as “art” based on ‘art merit’.... or... and... ‘historic merit... does not happen with Chris; NO MR. WALLET support from Chris to “LOVE OLD SAMPLERS”. That, of course, does NOT include “HOW MUCH... is my very special sampler.... WORTH?”
“NOTHING” I want to say. I can’t. I HAVE said... after saying how much I would pay for a specific sampler... “that’s a lot of money for something you can blow your nose on”. After a day long rumination on THAT, ‘they’ ‘sold’ their sampler... ‘to me’. I actually look at it as I ...bought it... from them. Here, with pressed blue jeans and nodding foot... I can’t do THAT either. Nor do I WANT the sampler because... it’s ‘not that good’. Not mentioned by I (eye) and... ‘would scare the bee-Jesus out of (both) of them is the... “GO AHEAD AND PROVE TO ME THAT SAMPLER ISN’T A... tawdry old ENGLISH import ‘for the American (antiques) market. I mean... it sure could be... girls. I never have to get that far for THIS SAMPLER? It, framed in a NEW frame... is NFS (not for sale) EVER. (“Thank you”).
“BECAUSE IT’S A FAMILY NAME. WE THINK.”
“You had it framed?
“Yes. The old frame was falling apart.”
“Yes. It was falling apart.”
“Do you still have that?”
“No. I was going to throw it out.”
“But you still have it?”
“No. I gave it to the framer.”
“I was going to throw it out but he said it could use it.”
That old frame... is ‘so sold’ now...: Ms. Nodding Foot ...would ‘never believe it’. The FRAME could easily have been ‘better than’ (worth more money) the sampler... meaning that in dollars and COMMON sense too. So I fell back and faded away further BUT:
“SHE NEEDS to find OUT how much it’s WORTH. I told her YOU’D KNOW. BUT; I mean... YOU KNOW but... this is for INSURANCE. You understand ME don’t you?” Said Janet. I understand her alright; get the bailing buckets out I’m taking water.
“Yeah, yeah... I got you. AH... IF... it’s a family name better go HIGH at... say ...sixteen hundred. If it’s not... well... about half. IF your not SURE; better stay high.” Wham-bang I did THAT real quick and... stepped back behind a tree to ‘avoid getting hit’ by any return fire. I didn’t ‘get any return’.
“MY FRIEND who is an ANTIQUES DEALER said about the eight hundred but YOU are more of the way I see it. I am sure it’s a FAMILY sampler”.
“So just tell him you want that value.”
“Oh... he can do that?”
“Oh. YOU could do...”
“No. I don’t do appraisals”.
“No. I’m not qualified.”
Janet is looking at me ‘weird’. Chris... sets the sampler back... face inward... on the sofa... and doesn’t say anything more about it. Ever. She didn’t want my appraisal anyway... but since it ‘doubled” the ‘shop price’ (retail in antiques shop price) my utterance will ‘do in a pinch’. Don’t worry... someone; a fine fellow no doubt, will... sell her insurance ‘for it’. For the record... I don’t insure ANY antique. It’s about the stuff... not the money.
THAT sampler ping-pong game went as... according to my wife on the telephone: “SHE HAS A SAMPLER FOR YOU TO LOOK AT.”; the purpose of my... ‘stop’. I may leave now? NOT so quick and... “OH PLEASE.” I said back to Janet when she:
“Do you know that Chris thinks (as opposed to ‘feels’) the NAME on that sampler is of one of the WOMEN who MARRIED one of the SAVAGES.”
“What do you mean by that?” she said... after my utterance.
“That could be... and it COULD BE some English school girl’s class work.”
“Oh.” she said with no further comment meaning IN FACT ...that exposition... was not only going in the ‘wrong direction’ but... was not understood. Then Janet continued “WE’VE FOUND several MILLS names and ONE GIRL; a MILLS, married a SAVAGE in 1872.”
“That... Ok... The sampler is probably 1820’s or earlier so... I mean; that fifty years so what.... that girl would be SIXTY in 1872.”
“WELL Belinda is one of the SAVAGE girls’ name. That was in 1911.”
“Right. Could be then... I guess (meaning throw-in-a-towel). You’ll get it worked out.”
Chris shifted on the sofa but did not drop her leg. The topsider nodded some more. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. And I didn’t care.
“Mr. (Dump) and his assistant (Crap Pile) told us your still trying to buy the Savage family papers. You are aren’t you?”
“I really haven’t gotten that far yet.”
“Oh, well... the HISTORICAL society THINKS they may get MOST of the papers. Mr. (Dump) says he’s SURE they will get all of the local history in the end. We can’t WAIT for that because we can find Chris’ sampler THEN.”
I said I was taking water earlier. NOW I’m “going down’. Why even bother to bail. The real reason I’m here at Janet’s is that all of these... well intentioned idiots... have been talking for MONTHS that “I” am “GETTING” the “SAVAGE” “ESTATE” and have NO IDEA what that is about, means or IS? I... DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT The Savage Estate IS!
That’s why I said Janet is an enabler (Part Nineteen [A]). She is. She twaddles, prattles, babbles, serves coffee, invites over, says things like “OH HOW WONDERFUL THAT IS!”, helps clean up, greets at the door, telephone calls and generously name drops YOUR NAME: She.... shows up... in the thick of things and is USED by... I can make a list.
I want her to enable me? I think she IS enabling me RIGHT HERE. So how come all I want to do is steal MY fork from her crummy silver plated “coffee service” on its tray? I wonder what she thinks of Chris’ blue jeans?
“Have those two gentlemen given you any more photocopies of local archives?” I ask.
Janet looked at me then said surely “They don’t GIVE those to us. We have to BUY THEM.”
“They’re making you PAY for those? I thought they donated those.”
“Oh no: We have to pay.” She said.