"Pilfer... A Pilfer-ette"
I have, here again in my lifetime, endeavored to capture by word portrait the complex and composite roar of an antiquarian estate clean-out; the removal of “the stuff’, from an old... and never disturbed... by a “OUTSIDE OF THE FAMILY”... New England (Maine) homestead... including too... ‘buildings’, barns and ‘property’. This procedure fascinates me... especially when it is my hand, my eye and my flashlight ‘at work’ within this ...craft. I am mindful... of the numerous wholes... that I...
“Well now... haven’t we... finished YET?”
Of course not and the reading reader of my screeds (this blog) knows well that getting to a plateau of cleaning-out whereby ‘them’ who are ‘around’ are finally gotten rid of and “WHY THIS IS WONDERFUL” to be, now, alone and still... ‘cleaning out’ ...turns the point it is... for me... in each estate.
And the first descriptive word is ‘desperation’. THAT must be the household horror... of the emptying homestead. A desperate horror of roaring emptiness ever more completed by I. IN QUIET. Very quiet... in these old homes it becomes. Now. Even the mice have been routed so ...curious noises ...are scant... and desperate... too.
I know the rooms are not empty. I know the stairs to the attic... is my heart. I know the cellar... is not a basement. I know I will ‘look over there’.
I locked the barns and buildings too... to prevent further pilfering. So much today is pilfering... in the antiquarian trade villages. Little men with hulking forms and... little women wearing not particularly clean dresses. Little pillow cases of pilfer they vend... in the antiquarian trade villages. Where do they garner their pilfer? Yes... I just said ‘garner’ to convey that this pillowcasing of antiquarian pilfer is... a conscious action.
That is not particularly nice of me to say that in their conscious stupidly they... steal... poorly. But since they steal from me I have no qualms about observing how stupidly done their pillowcasing of antiquarian pilfer actually is. Crows... dumping out their fence post top cup of hoarded treasure: I’ve written a rather long set of posts about crows and their crafting with baubles; “The Crows Nest”. Good luck with that. I am not in the mood to hold your hand. These crows; that I speak of here, dump out their pillow cases... of rather tawdry and miss-managed ‘garner’... before the marketplace and... I “trace it back” to NO WHERE and only if they are very lucky do they ‘ever’ ‘have something’. As most settings for a pilfering ‘have nothing’ then ...they pilfer that; nothing. And then endeavor to vend that; nothing. A round-robin. A circle? A really desperate endeavor when viewed by a knowing eye... this be; this pilfering.
Of course this doesn’t prevent the pilfering. Finding out later that ‘it wasn’t worth it’ is... difficult for stupid people who do not ‘know anything’ about ‘antiques’. I am saying that the CROWS do a better job ...of stealing. That’s important here; in this tale: Stealing.
Now there is the normal estate-clean-out-stealing whereby the ‘temptation’ (so called) to, for example, stuff a newly attic drawer discovered and still unidentified tintype of a posed Union Army Civil War soldier... with a knife in his belt, a cumbersome ‘gun’, cocked cap, brass buttoned uniform and ‘I CAN’T READ WHAT IT SAYS’ brass belt buckle... down the front of one’s pants and... then... excuse oneself ‘for a minute’ to ‘get that’, crow like.... to a ‘their fence post’. I can follow-up their trail? I don’t have to. I am a ‘there’ before them; moving ahead of their... arrival... and am very... yes very... very... fast ‘at that’ (moving ahead... of their... arrival). That works the best... and leaving the leavings very, very fast TOO... I do. They still pilfer from the leavings; a rusted... dented... peanut butter tin... of no collector account and missing its lid too... is seen ‘vending’ a week or two later. But I did see ‘that one before’ and ‘remember it’ so... remember it ...with a “you?” “how did you get that?”
“You got to watch ‘em. All of ‘em.” A long dead lord of estate clean-out long ago told me.
But actually, it’s easy to ‘get under control’. If I say ‘show up at nine o’clock’ they WILL show up at nine o’clock so have left me... well... depending on the season... a certain three to five hours ‘there’ ‘before’ ...at least... to ah... ‘take care of the problem’ before “THE DAY” begins. “Other” areas are ‘locked out’ until ‘they are ready’.
Well here; in this estate I had two issues. The first seems trivial to the pilfering approach of an estate while the second was the stealing raised at the opening of this tale. I tread the first.... first.
The estates all tell stories and... I enjoy the stories and... so... as I have alluded, they are (the estates and their ‘stuff’), I said, “A puzzle piece of a puzzle that this puzzle is a piece to a larger puzzle that is even that too; a puzzle piece too of a larger piece of a puzzle” (Part Seven). As I go along in each estate clean out I setup mental card tables to collect the puzzle pieces and ...set up more mental card tables for more puzzle pieces too... and I enjoy doing that ...especially as the ‘as I go along’ I begin to see ‘what the puzzle(s) is(are) AND that a ‘a puzzle’ becomes too... a larger puzzle (?) “and then some”. And this is for me
Just like some people
“Murder” I wrote?
So here... in THIS estate I find myself with THREE ‘neat oh’ card table puzzles. One puzzle table is She, the dead woman, and her ‘she lived there’. This puzzle was formerly qualified by a first day clean-out team woman in a not so clean dress as “How did she live like that (!)” (Part Six). This ‘live like that’ includes her sock drawer, the death chair, the rain water laundry and the previously clearly stated of her being “well settled of things” (Part Four). Educated, wealthy and nature focused wise... she harvested a... well how about a Scot Nearing-ish life... during her life... with a Hell bent ‘old Yankee’ practical step that... included me putting her actual pair of Sears work boots... on that puzzle table too.
I do not, myself, care about Scot Nearing
So know that She did not either.
She was ‘Hell bent” Yankee and that is a radicalized intellectual state... I know well and understand concisely. How do I know She was a ‘radicalized intellectual’ Yankee? Look at her ...washer and dryer; her laundry. That is a pure expression of radicalized Yankee. It is an action; a dynamic, and... intellectually well formed. She started with ‘dandelion wine’ (Part Three) and ...left her last batch of laundry for me to ‘fetch out’ of the wash tub. I notice... ‘stuff like that’. So I noticed there was more ‘stuff like that’ (puzzle pieces that I put on this first card table). And... those are for me to know. Not you. I ‘own it’ (this puzzle). Not you. I may show you ‘things I found’ ‘every now and then”.
The second card table puzzle is a little more antiquarian. It is classic New England antiquarian actually. It is ‘the good stuff’ ...of old New England... antiques. It is the puzzle pieces of the really, really, ...really real old New England (Maine) farm homestead ‘antiques’ that one ‘dreams of finding’ in an ‘old New England farm that... ‘only the same family’ has ‘always lived there”. Simplified; it is their Colonial era ‘brought with them’ (the first chair Part Three), the settlement era ‘made there’ (in the community of the homestead), the Federal era New England ‘flourish’ of handmade decorative arts, the ‘old farm’ (“country style”) of all of those and... the classic ‘never finished’ ‘chamber’ (“attic”) to put those things in that... need to be differentiated from those that were actually still in use at the same position in the home or outbuilding ‘just as they’ve always been’...too. For this last, I am denoting that it is I who... ‘took’ the ‘dish top candle stand ‘out’ of the ‘it’s room’ for ‘the first time in two hundred years’. I... I, I , I... EYE ‘Take that; the top drawer of the chest of drawers out... for the first time in... well... ‘ever’ and... well... ‘put it in the truck’. That could be a ‘so lucky you’? I doubt it.
Here, in this estate, there was a substantive handful of ...just that; New England decorative arts that ‘represent well’ that directive... without... there being any one thing ‘too good’ nor a one thing being ‘fall back’ ‘no good’. Just a classic old New England farm house rustic ‘always in there’ (the “came from that place”). I never say a word about these fineries: If one does not know... then one does not know.
The third puzzle on its third card table is... well... we ‘fall back’... but not so far. It is a stone in the middle of the stream... I... noticed ‘right along’. The usual ‘fall back’ would be the ‘rest of the stuff’’ ‘below’ the ‘good stuff’. And not merit its own puzzle or table. It is the Civil War tintype. “OBVIOUSLY HE’S FAMILY”, etc... et al... and “ok it’s good too”. But, you know, day to day, ‘that stuff’s around’ (1825-1900 stuff). That means one CAN ‘buy’ (find) a “Civil War tintype”.
No... here was a ‘pay attention’ something else. It is that... I... very promptly found ‘other good things’ ‘in there’ that ...in addition to being good antiques... ‘came from somewhere else’. This means that these GOOD objects were not “OF” the original estate contents but had, over centuries, been ‘brought in’ to the estate. From where? Well... from family.... or ‘by family’ or... “I think”. Somehow... the English Regency drum top stand (1800-1830) found place for itself in the woman’s bedroom. She didn’t move it in there. It was ‘there’. Someone used it by the window once ‘with a plant on it’ so ‘water stained’ the leather top. The dead woman kept ...some... ‘papers’... “in it”. Anyway... I’m talking about ‘stuff’ like that.
And... there was enough of this... wealthy family-people from away-brought that home with ‘em ‘stuff’ ‘in there’ that I, well, had to set up a puzzle table. The painting in the chamber’s room (Part Six); the ‘where did that come from?’ is now explained.
And I had to make sure that ‘nobody steals that’. And ask myself... has an ‘anyone’ stolen ‘anything’ that I... ah...: Are there any puzzle pieces missing? That is where this tale started... with a thief looking at me from the bottom of my ladder (Part One). I knew that he pilfered for years from the buildings on the property. As I said at the end of Part Two: “You’ve still got a barn full of her stuff.”. This man is the second of the two issues of this estate. I now tread this second issue so return us to where we left this man; now the second ‘issue’ of this estate. I remind, he and I are together in the mostly cleaned out old house... alone. But we know now that he is... could be... or should be... discerned by I... as pilfering; he is a pilfer-ette of pieces to the....: “A puzzle piece of a puzzle that this puzzle is a piece to a larger puzzle that is even that too; a puzzle piece too of a larger piece of a puzzle”?
I knew of this; the man and his puzzle piece(s) before I started to ‘clean out’ this estate.