Friday, January 30, 2015

Old New England Glassware in the Home - Part Eight - "Don't Give Up Ever"

Old New England Glassware in the Home

Part Eight

"Don't Give Up Ever"

            The historic position (trail?) of glassware in the New England home... and in the ‘old’ New England home... is a peculiar one-one (win-win) ratio between primitive man and sophisticated women.  The brilliance of this ratio is that it continues and is active to this day.  It is a brutal ratio too.  But it is brilliant, as physical object, in the New England home.  And the old New England home.
            The determination (both by mental direction and by physical blunt force) by men in New England to ‘make’ glassware was, one to one, held as equal determination for women who... ‘want that (glassware) for my home’.  Fellow travelers on the glassware trail of old New England they were.
            “Are” today... is crass, tacky, junky, cheap... at best tasteless but more common as ‘bad taste’.  For both man and woman.  The lumbering domesticated man’s grip on his glassware... is a horror show.  It is actually a... horror SIDE show.  Most ‘man’ and ‘glassware’ fail to be a ‘front and center’...ever.  Dirty glasses left around is... about it.  Opening a covered glass dish discerned in the refrigerator to contain ‘leftovers’ with the stubby, fat, dirty... fingers... touching this... glassware.  And goes from there; ‘empties’ are ‘returned’.  (Glass) bottle openers are found by rummaging through a drawer.  And... then there is ‘pulling the cork’ and... pouring... what... into what.
            Ms. Domestic New England Glassware participates in this; glassware in the New England home, by... having... either ‘it’ or... ‘some’.  One querying from a design perspective about these objects (glassware) will... receive a ...very... limited design critique.  Usually this is verbally graced as PART of the SINGLE sentence and blanketed by the summarial expression of no taste; “I like it”.  “Verbally graced as part of” includes ‘my’, ‘those’, ‘have’, ‘are’ with specific design designations of ‘wedding’, ‘gift’, ‘bought’, carrying to ‘sale’ (church, yard, charity), ‘mother’, ‘broken’, ‘nice’ and.... “those are”.
            “Those are what?”
            They don’t know.
            How about “Those are junk”
            Glassware in the New England home.

            Back when all of this started... ‘things were different’.  Man and women... presumed good taste (the man) for those who ...had good taste (the women)... in glassware... in the New England home.  It was ‘gather round boys’ literally, ‘We’re making GLASSWARE for the GIRLS.  And the world of that; glassware and girls is STILL HERE TODAY, in the dining room cupboards of... the old New England home.  “Grandmother”... ‘knew the difference.
            “Who dropped the ball?”
            And who cares?

            Men in the back room of New England glassware making ‘gathered’.  A ‘gather’ of glass metal is the goo-gob of molten glass metal “gathered” on the end of glassblower’s blow pipe to make... free blown and blown molded glassware, et al.  So ‘gather round boys’ has a double meaning in the back room of glassmaking... men.  In this back room... and taking the goo-gob of molten metal the... these men... of the one-one ratio noted earlier... ‘dumped’ the... on blow pipe gathered... gob into a flat, open top, carved wood, soaked in water... ‘mold’ and, after putting a ‘top’ on the mold, stomped on it
With the result, including steam, of creating a ‘glassware’ that was ‘pressed’.  They did that; created a ‘piece’ of ‘pressed glass’.  “Huh”.
You say.
Well that IS what that piece of pressed glassware looked like; a ‘pretty damn crude’
Pressed glass

            They went from there.  In the back room.  “Mold Making” became a ‘job’ of a “mold maker”.  It ‘replaced’ (displaced) “glassblower”... and his surround of little boy assistants.  “I don’t know about this” summarized the perceived commercial possibilities of the ‘pressed glass’ ‘dish?’.  But men, being men, pushed forward by stomping on more gathered goo-gobs of molten metal in... more molds and, they liked doing that; stomping on molten glass.  In molds.  “Innovative improvements in mold making and pressed glass manufacture” took place ... leaving the primitive design form “DISH” behind and introducing a historic New England glass design form called “LACY” ‘pressed glass’.

            May we spend a few minutes with this ‘dish?’?  Thank you.
            I knew about the (sweetmeat) dish... for a long time.  I never found one.  I saw them.  In museums.  The museums said they ‘like it’.  I, inspecting it in the locked display cases, did too... like it.  With the dish... they ‘made’ too... ‘salts’.  These were small rectangular open top generally box shaped vessels intended to serve salt ‘at table’.  A little salt and a little spoon were put in the... (‘blown’) pressed glassware... ‘salt’ and put on the table to offer dining ‘salt’.  The outside of the glassware salt... was mold press decorated by wooden mold carved decoration of designs, to no surprise, directly endeavoring to imitate... Anglo-Irish cut glass imports (Part Four and after).
            These salts... being small and therefore easier to make AND having (here she comes) someone who WANTS THEM... as... glassware in the New England home... ‘did good’; actually sold well to the intended market who did want them, ‘liked them’ and used them and:  Yes... a commercial success from being... the only (clear) pressed glassware game in town”.
            “THAT IS SO COOL” I have been told... when ‘showing’ ‘an early’ New England ‘pressed glass’ salt... ‘to someone’.  In (antiquarian) general, they ‘are around’; one can find one and they do not, even in the hands of collectors, ‘cost much’.  They are usually ‘beat up’ with ‘chips’, etc., due to having been actually used for a long time... in the New England home... AND...  from’ crude production methods’ (men stomping in the back room).  I have bought and sold a lot of these salts and do so still.  I like them.  But:  “No biggy”.

            And the ‘finding’ the (sweetmeat) dish... ‘escaped me’.  Until one day a couple of years ago.
            “I WAS LIKE” coming ‘back down’ from ‘up country (Maine) with the wife after a forlorn something antiques related ‘up there’ and, approaching Lewiston in happenstance, pulled off at a dirt crummy flea market-something-sort of-market to “LIKE” “SEE”.  The wife was “(this place is so bad and hopeless) I will WAIT HERE” (in the truck).  I’m used to that.  But I always... ‘look’.  ALWAYS.  So... pop in-pop out in process I bounce in and around and down the isles at record breaking speeds of ‘antiques hunter for a half century’ and
            “DAMN” and stickered “$2.00” be one of these ‘earliest’ New England pressed glass sweetmeat dishes “LIKE RIGHT THERE” and I
            Grabbed it
            Paid for it
            And was gone.
            The wife, who is used to this sort of ‘early American design’ ‘hit’ by I over and over for the ever we’ve been together... was ‘who cares’ merged with “That’s very nice Dear”.
            I sold it to a collector for eighty-five.  Dollars.  They are rare.  He was delighted.  He kept it.  He still has it.  It is not for sale.  His wife says ‘That’s very nice, Dear”.  Too.
            The ‘that dish’ is ‘about as good as I can expect... but in fairness to my professional aspirations... I still have not found... and do very much want to find... the very rare... sugar bowl... made of this earliest New England pressed glassware the home.  AH... it is of two pieces; it has a lid.  It is ‘bigger’ and ‘hollow’ so was harder to make.  It was...  and is...
‘Not many around probably’.  It IS pictured on the cover of Ken Wilson’s NEW ENGLAND GLASS AND GLASS MAKING.  I’ve, like... I bought the book when it came out (was published) (1972) and have... stared at that sugar bowl pictured on the cover dust jacket... ever since.  That’s as close to one as I’ve ‘get yet’.  But... people like me and their interest in ‘glassware in the New England home’...
            Don’t give up

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Ira Benjamin House Contents Sale, On Going - Part Two - "Dog Fight"

The Ira Benjamin House Contents Sale, On Going

Part Two

"Dog Fight"

            “Spring” means “March” as a Maine estate sale... planning... dateline.
            By March I could ‘hear’ ‘something’.  I did.
            I had been through the whole house and attached buildings in February.  I bounced off all the walls, opened all the any door and
            Furtively looked at all the ‘their contents’.  And said nothing.
            “Bailed right in there” is, in picker words, what I ‘looked at’.  IF... the back corner of a room showed a Colonial era banister back chair’s TOP sticking up... I saw that and, too, will not tell you (or anyone else) if it “is” “an arm chair”.  Most of you wouldn’t ask after it any way.  “I can bet on the dog”.
            Is picker ‘say’.
            About this... and what happens next.

            Straitening my tie and ‘approaching’ the ‘estate’ was
            Not going to work.  I
            Dropped that.
            Sister Bitch got herself into trouble herself ‘in there’ trying to over-manage Edn’s own over-managed ‘grab that’... ‘quest’.
            I heard that in March.
            “Fourth of July” I heard “that the FAMILY”
            to “DO”
            “THE SALE”
            What I’d seen of the bailed-in-there... be a dog fight of  a sale... doing that.
            So I stopped by when I see’d the front door... to the Ira Benjamin house... wide open one day and
            “Jesus the whole damn family” squeaking like rats and bats up FRONT in the house with I noticing that ONE of the “garage” stalls’... doors was open showing stacked up banana boxes... evidently full... next to the next stall that still had the one car of the estate there “No one’s taken that OFF yet?” I said to myself
            THAT is a trail sign, Mr. Man.  Especially when those banana boxes are FULL:

            Inside the front door Ms. Bitch was bitching at the hiding men and
other ‘barking dog’ women.  Outside this front door smoking.  Hand-on-can drinking
            I could see
            With their BIG-BLACK pickup truck BIG WHEELED backed up TOWARD the door.  And that garage stall.
            “THEY UNLOADED THAT SHIT” (in the banana boxes).

            The front rooms to the right and left were qualified by a “PUT THERE” table next to the front stairs ‘go up’ to block a straight walk to the back of the front hall AND be the ‘pay here desk’ for... ‘the sale’.  The actual stairs was ‘piled high blocked’ with
Banana boxes.  I
            Could only get admitted to the doorways of the two front rooms and them rooms was ‘in make-up’; having a make-over and were not “READY”
            I was told.  But my eyes ripped around both rooms and I could...
            I’m not telling you what I saw.  Go to the damn sale yourself.
            The line will be down the street
            And that bitch told me that “No one can go in before the sale”

            I seen enough to ‘figure’:  “Bet on the dog”.
            My dog.  I’ll bet my dog against your dog any day:  Any dog fight.
            Any day.
            “I’ll bet the dog”.
            You can bet all you want on your dog.  You’d be better off betting on my dog.
            You can bet on that too; that betting my dog is better than betting your dog.

            I went betting them too; that bitch and her family.  Easy bet.  My dog will rip their dog’s head off.  “Better keep that little dog LOCKED in the CAR”.  So I poked out.
            After poking in.
            “Others tried it” I heard; other pickers tried to ‘get in’.  “Bet my dog that’s one Hell of sale.” one picker... confided.
            “Ain’t gonna be no God Damn SALE.” Another one confided.  “THEM BRINGING IT IN.  I ain’t going there to buy their GOD DAMN baby toys JESUS”.
            Him... he bet his dog right.
            This sale... was a  ‘Frozen Charlie’.  That’s doll collector slang for an antique doll;  the deliberately fixed white ceramic porcelain unmoving head and vacant mesmerized expression of a classic ‘NOTHING THERE’ Victorian doll head.  A ‘frozen Charlie’ of a ‘SALE’
            I bet the dog.
            But there’s gonna be a dog fight
            At that sale.

            First they moved the sale ‘back’ to Memorial Day Weekend.
            Then one of them told the other one that she’d hear that ‘they run out of money’ before that (professional yard sale buyers have spent all their money before Memorial Day so ‘stop buying’ ‘good’).  So they moved the sale back to the first of May.  And had it:
            The sale.
            You’s stood in line and they let twenty people in.  At a time.  You’s could ‘go in’ the garage stall next to the estate car in its stall.  That car weren’t for sale “BUT TELL US IF YOUR INTERESTED”.  The banana boxes were gone and the open stall was full of... ‘brought in’... ‘for sale’.  You didn’t need to stand in line for those offerings.  You could ‘just buy them’.
            INSIIDE the ...front rooms of the... Ira Benjamin house... was the
            Heart of the sale.  I understand; was told... so... understood.
            I didn’t go to the sale myself.  I bet my dog.
            That “ROOMS” were the only “ROOMS” where “ANYTHING IS FOR SALE”.  No others spaces were accessible.  Nothing else but what was in those rooms was for sale.  Very little, I understand, “CAME FROM” “THE HOUSE”.  Pickers told me that.
            Over and over.  Most of them had ‘bet their dog’ on the “SALE”
            And lost.
            The sale was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It ‘started at nine’ the first two days and ‘after dinner’ (1 PM) on Sunday.  When I arrived at the sale on Sunday, no one was there except a stringer of family members ‘sitting’
            Around outside the front door.  No one was buying anything.  Both front rooms ‘still have’
            “A LOT”
            “FOR SALE”.  I didn’t buy anything either.  I didn’t even WANT anything.  I poked around.  I joked around with one guy about his ‘chop saw’
            “IT DON’T WORK” he... confided.  IN the front right room, at the front wall... between the two front windows, the wall was blank.  A small hole suggested that something had ‘hung there’.  I stared at the wall.  The blank spot.  The tiny hole.
            I tilted my head back and looked up at the ceiling.  Right up above where I stood was the upstairs room used as ‘her dressing room’ (Part One).  In that room, directly above where I stood looking up, hanging centered between the two front windows of the room, was the small Federal Neoclassical gilt wood looking glass.  I’d ‘seen’.
            And said nothing.
            I bet my dog.
            It was still hanging there with I standing below it looking up at the floor board ceiling and ...feeling the looking glass’ warm light halo shining down through the floor board ceiling on me right then-there in the front room...
            I bet my dog.

            The next year they; the heirs of the Ira Benjamin house, had the exact same sale all over again.  Just exactly the same with I going on Sunday exactly the same and standing in the front room the same staring at the floor board ceiling.  This year
            I bet my dog
            They’re gonna “HAVE ANOTHER SALE”
            “This year’s gonna be a dog fight in there”
            One of the local pickers has already told me.
            “HOW YOU KNOW that (looking) GLASS IS STILL HANGING THERE?”
            “I don’t
            Know.  But I’ll
            Bet my dog
            It is”.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Old New England Glassware in the Home - Part Seven - "Sidesteps"

Old New England Glassware in the Home

Part Seven


            At the conclusion of Part Six, I said that all I have presented so far is merely an introduction to reviewing the appropriate old glassware found in the old New England home.  This is true.  I now turn to presenting this whole-of-object introduction all over again by denoting the astonishing expansion of what glassware in the old New England home actually... invented itself... by itself... to become.  It is a defining old New England design saga.
            It defines... good taste; the appropriate objects and their placement, of old  glassware
            The old New England home.
 In old New England
            For this last?  Yes... it is ‘that big’.  And... the reader is now prepared, through the display of... (old New England glassware object) beautifications... and vile discernments of equal ‘bad tastes’ (note plurals) to undertake a ‘re-do’ using all again, inclusive of
‘old wedding glassware’ from the attic and dining room cupboard... ‘recycle that please’ ...cleanings too... to
            “Make appropriate corrections”
            Using the forthcoming pontifications on ‘old New England glassware
            In the home.

            TODAY, though, in this chapter (blog post) I pander an information ‘fill out’. I sidestep to present three helpful points that do ‘fill out’ but do, too, have lasting impact on the reader’s discernment skills or/and... AND the proper
            Glassware in the old New England home.
            “Oh shut-up” you say.  “I like my crummy juice glasses and I abhor having anything less than blatant bad taste in glassware displayed in my old New England home.”
            “We do know that, Darling”.

            Sidestep one is easy.  It is called, in old New England glassware, “Midwest’ or ‘Midwestern’.  And often ‘Pittsburgh’.  These are antiquarian glassware collector’s terms
            To discern
            Glassware that was ‘made’ in the ‘Midwest’ at the same time old New England glassware was being made in ... old New England.
            Like I said... ‘easy to understand’ but.... ‘with points’.
            The big point is that... glassware made ‘there’ (Midwest) was made, too, in a wilderness so... “yeah”... impurities in the glass metal, et all, but... more consequential... “Who you gonna sell that stuff to around here (1810-1820 Pittsburgh)?”.  Soooo....:
            “Go east new glassware”.  It did.  Old today but then new glassware needed a... stable rising middleclass domestic focused happy community of like minded economically prospering big white old New England home building (think “Sea Captain House, Maine” and such communities as Beacon Hill, Boston)...; ‘a marketplace’ “for that stuff”.
            Including the Erie Canal (1824) as an ideal route east transporting an ideal cargo (boxes of glassware) (crated, not too heavy and packed in straw)... one may easily understand “HOW” ‘Midwestern made glassware’ ‘CAME’ to New England.... homes.  This is why
            Find it
            In old New England homes
            YOU CAN TOO
            Find ‘early Pittsburg’ made glassware at
            YARD SALES
            And thrift shops in...
            Old New England. 
Keeping Eve and Bing (Part One) in mind, too:  Better watch what they, still wearing their flip-flops, ‘recycle’.  Too.
            The key sidestep point here is to introduce ‘Midwestern’ glassware, its production and its marketing.  It ‘doesn’t go away’.  In fact, the opposite happens.  As glassmaking design ‘revolutionizes’ in New England, they and the Midwest ARE... ‘team players’... for the whole of... old glassware... in the... old New England home.  So... old ‘Pittsburgh’ glassware
            In the old New England home
            “Good taste”.
            “Yes Darling; good taste”.
            “You mean I have to Midwestern glassmaking too?”
            “Yes Darling; plan to look into it.”
            It’s in the museums...  too.

            Sidestep two is the word “color” and the follow words “is everything”.  This is a New England glassware collector mantra that... includes Midwestern glassware so therefore becomes the mantra of ‘Early American Glass” “Collecting” (capitalized).  “Color is everything” denotes the passion, and that passion backed by the wallet, for ‘rare color’ objects (early American glassware).  It is a multi million dollar; probably ‘a billion’ now, mantra that....:
            Actually has very little impact on... glassware in the old New England home
            But that (mantra)
            One should be aware of.
            The reason it is of little import to the home is that most all old New England glassware is NOT and was never intended to be ‘rare’ ‘color’.  It was made, as I have repeatedly suggested, in an effort to achieve a ‘stunning’ high quality CLEAR glass metal equal to and surpassing ‘European imports’.  So... good taste in the old New England home, including a ‘touch of color here and there’, is ‘clear glassware’.  This color mantra does two things.  It makes the clear glass old New England glassware ‘accessible’ and:  It saves the old New England home owner seeking proper glassware.,, a fortune of their own cash.  SAVES is better expanded to “MAKES” “old New England glassware” “DIRT CHEAP” in the antiquarian-collector marketplace.
            “Thank you for doing that”.  It means that of all that I have harped about...  the good taste of what one should seek... is very, very, very, cost affordable extending to ‘absurdly’ ‘dirt cheap’  If there is a single reason to ‘CARE’ about ‘old New England glassware’ it is because one may, in the current forty year old marketplace ‘buy it’ for LESS than one can buy CRAP glassware... at ‘the (box) store’.
            “Color” commercial values are limited to ‘color freak’ collectors.  They are, themselves, NOT found with their glassware in old New England homes.  It is very rare to actually encounter a ‘color freak’ ‘serious’ ‘collector’ of ‘old New England glassware
            In the home.
            One might... read about... in a something... about a someone... paying a “THAT”... for a “THAT” of “Early American Glass”.  But that’s about it unless one TAKES OUT ones WALLET and tries to ‘elbow in’ to “THAT” (color freak New England glassware collecting).  It is, for the subject of this essay, a commercial salvation that one will not find in other New England design mediums.
            The salvation is ‘further more’ by the simple redundancy that this... old New England glassware... may be found
            All over the place
            In old New England
            And nobody cares
            Meaning that affectionates such as myself ‘get it’ ‘all the time’ ‘for nothing’.  It is a ‘you can too’ marketplace leveled to an ‘it can’t get more level in old New England’ status.
            “We know, Darling.  But...
One still has, as most do,
Bad taste
Of glassware.

Blue; the color blue... is sidestep three.  This sidestep may prove to be difficult to “SEE” at first and, properly, it IS a “SEE”; one uses one’s TRAINED eye to discern the “THIS” of sidestep three; the color blue.
Within my harping up to this point, I have noticed that clear glass metal production repeatedly ‘hung fire’ due to impurities contaminating the glass metal thereby turning ‘clear’ in to an unacceptable ‘tainted’-‘tinted’ glass metal.  At best.
            “At best” means... for example... when, in 1817, Henry Schoolcraft failed in profitable clear glassware production at Keene, NH (Part Five) and ‘went out west’, the Keene glassworks continued to make the same objects he tried to make in clear glass but... made this glassware out of utility or bottle glass (impure amber-olive-green glass metal).  That did ‘work’; they were able to sell utility glassware.  Utility glassware is not glassware for the old New England home.  Utility glassware is a container filled with something that is brought to the old New England home.  That is; it’s the stuff IN the container, not the container, that is ‘intended’ for the ‘old New England home’.  This is why ‘at best’ glass metal...; impurity plagued clear glass metal... was... “at best” for ‘glassware’
            In the old New England home.  In 1817.
            Now... with clear glass metal production effort came a MINOR blue glass metal production effort.  It was a “let’s try making some of that’ glass metal effort that was TOO, impurity plagued.  SOOO... ‘blue glass’ WAS made but in scanty amounts AND
            It’s coloration was... impurity plagued soooo....
            The blue glass (“cobalt blue”) color, due to the impurities, has a ‘hint’ of ‘gray’ in its intended ‘rich cobalt blue coloration’ (again in direct imitation of European and English blue glassware imports)... that TODAY... to the ‘trained eye’ is a very distinctive ‘character’ of ... early BLUE glass metal production in... old New England.
            So what.
            There are two ‘so what’s’.

            The first is that this tinted blue color to the eye ...of the collector AND student... is ‘adoring’.  Once one trains to denote this ‘hint’ of ‘gray’ in the blue... this tainted ‘old blue’... one and one’s eye DEMANDS it be there.  IF it is a ‘not there’ then the blue glass under scrutiny is... TOO... BLUE ‘to the eye’ AND, often, TOO BLUE TO BE “OLD”.  I am not at all expecting the reader to ‘get this’ let alone ‘know this’.  Further, I don’t care.  You’ve been told.  It is a feature.  It is a factor.  And I do not leave the point.
            What is the point and if I don’t leave it where does that point go?  The point is that impurities affect the actual color of  old blue glass found in old New England toning the blue glass metal so it is NOT “TOO BLUE”.  And...  the... not too blue...
            Becoming ‘So what’ number two... takes up and
            Carries to OTHER (blue) antique’s design; antique blue colored objects
            Like OLD dark blue English Staffordshire transferware ‘china’....
            That, TOO, has a ‘hint’ of ‘gray’ in the blue color, again caused by impurities AND defining why MODERN blue English Staffordshire transferware is “TOO BLUE” to the knowing eye.  (And explaining why trained eyes like I dismiss suggested ‘old china’ across a room as ‘not old’).  Yes:  The ‘hint’ of ‘gray’ in the old blue ‘thing’ is real and ‘big’ in its influence in discerning TRUE antiques that are blue.(“old blue”) or ...TOO BLUE so, therefore are “NEW” (of modern production).
            And more Hell Fire...
            This tinted-tainted blue ‘thing’ of color... and ‘old color’ carries WAY across the board game of ‘antiques’.  It carries to other design mediums, design forms and their COLORS.  Basically, it is best to ‘assume’ ALL antique color is ‘affected’ by this so... learn to look for “OLD YELLOW” instead of “YELLOW” (No; not ‘earth tone yellow’ either, they fake that), etc., et al... and...
            Hell Fire again
            “WASHED” (new) color to “LOOK LIKE” ‘old color.  YES I am talking about the ‘like washed blue jean pants” Eve and Bing wear:  WASHED COLOR to ...FAKE... an ‘antique look’.
            “WHERE WHAT WHY?”
            You say.

            Ok.  How about ‘oriental scatter rugs’... on the floor of ... the (your?) old New England home.  That’s right:  What I am speaking of here allows me to AT FORTY FEET AWAY, denote a true ‘old rug’ based on it’s ‘old colors’ as opposed to a ‘later rug’ with it’s... “ah... no thank you” color OR a NEW ‘washed’ rug with washed colors that makes ‘people’ (“idiots”) think that ‘that rug’ “IS OLD”.
            And it goes from there
            “Like where?”
            “Old paintings  Try those
            One needs... NEEDS... to ‘know’ (study) ‘old color’ of antiquarian design.  That’s what this blue sidestep is about:  One needs to know of and study ‘old color’ and understand it influence on “ANTIQUES”
            In the old New England home.
            One may not think so right this moment, but one WILL THANK ME for ‘telling this’ after one... ‘discovers’ how influential this ‘color thing’ is.  It is not ‘just glassware’ in the old New England home.  It, actually, ‘touches’ every thing (antique) in the
            Old New England Home.
            YOUR trained EYE WILL DELIGHT in
            ‘Knowing the difference”.  Sighting true ‘old colors’ does ‘take the breath away’.  It is also very profitable to ‘know about’ around others who
            Do not.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Ira Benamin House Contents Sale, Ongoing - Part One - "I Never Much Cared For Her"

The Ira Benjamin House Contents Sale, Ongoing

Part One

"I Never Much Cared For Her"

            The Ira Benjamin house and its contents had moved quietly along in ownership over the past fifteen years.  No one would notice that the house and its contents was... moving quietly along.
            When Ira died, his wife of sixty-three years continued to live in the house with the whole of the contents.  She inherited this whole; the house and contents.  No one would notice this.  After twelve years, bringing her to seventy-five years as Ira’s wife and of living in the Ira Benjamin house with its contents, she was moved out of the house by one of their children, a daughter, to a nearby senior’s residency; an assisted living center of local preference.  After three years of senior residency, Ira’s wife died peacefully on Ground Hog Day.  That morning.  Before the snow storm.
            Two more snow storms followed in the next two weeks.  The Ira Benjamin house, when I would drive by it during that month, became snowed-in.  No one would notice this.  Except me.  Until Ira’s wife’s death, the Ira Benjamin house was always plowed-out after each storm.  In fact, I deduced in my mind, this ‘snowed-in’ would be the first time
...ever... that the Ira Benjamin house... had ever... not been plowed (or ‘dug’) out and allowed to be ‘snowed in’.

            I never much cared for Ira.  Ira’s wife.  Or the daughter.  Ira, I had ‘given up on’ trying to get into his house, in my capacity of being an antiques picker, over a quarter of a century ago.  Ira would not budge toward the doorway of any building on his property let alone the ‘let me in the house’ doorway when I would periodically stop to poke him.  Poke him it was for he behaved, when I would stop, like a porcupine ‘caught out’.  He’d roll into a ball and stick all his quills out.  Until I left.  I gave up.
            His wife would watch us speak, say nothing and move off should we; Ira and I speaking, happen to even ever slightly move in her direction.  She was a Christian woman they said.  But she never went to church.
            “Keeps her chickens.  About it.”  I was always told.  “A fair girl when she was young.  Turned henny now”.  I was always told.
            I never went to the door when she lived there alone; after she inherited the house and its contents.  This house and contents no one noticed.  But me.

            I kept my eye steady on it.  Pickers do that with old houses full of old contents that have stopped being plowed-out after being a ‘kept my eye on it’ for at least a quarter of a century before.  It’s easier to ‘keep eye’ then it is to ‘not’.  I, for example, will notice that a brick that was ‘set’ on the front doorstep of an ‘old place’ has been ‘moved’.  Even slightly.  I will respond to that ‘I notice’ by ...almost ritualistically... driving by ‘more often’ to ‘look’.  I wasn’t watching for a brick to move at old Ira’s.  I was watching for the front door of that old homestead to be... wide open.
            But that February, that door... was snowed in.

            I heard that the daughter said the family ‘wouldn’t keep it’; the Ira Benjamin house.  “Practically the oldest house in the TOWN.”  I was told.  This utterance thrown toward me was followed by an ‘eyeball you for your reaction’ pause... that continued to a longer pause that was then finalized with the query... of an utterance... of.... “You ever GET in THERE?”
            “Going IN this TUESDAY.”
            “You ARE?”
            “Told her I’d PUNCH a HOLE into the SHED and we’ll GO FROM THERE.”
            ‘Her’ was Ira’s daughter.
            I never much cared for her.

            Tuesday was ‘cold’ (8 degrees above zero).  That was fine for that means anything I ‘hit’ with the plow ‘will move’ especially as the not ‘plowed-out’ state
Of the Ira Benjamin
            Allowed that... all the ‘snow there’... was not ‘packed in there’ ‘frozen solid’.

            We (the daughter and I) never discussed that after I punched open to the shed doors.  She had the key to them right out and we went right in ‘through there that way’.  Going in the front door of the ...old Ira Benjamin place... would have to wait.
            I was not told why I was ‘going in there’.  I did not ask.  I did not ask to be told.  I did not
            Have very high expectations of ...any ...thing  ‘coming out of there’.  “Today”
            The daughter said
            “WE WILL JUST LOOK AROUND.  I don’t know yet if I even need your help”.
            “Need your help”.  “Even”.  That was good enough for me.  I was pretty sure I did not “need your help” “even” either and hoped, once I could get to roaming room to room at a surprisingly fast pace, I would ‘be back outside’ before
            This ‘I never cared much for her’ daughter knocked me out cold... in the cold... with some
            BOTHER.  “I know how to get out of a cold house faster than she does” I banked myself with.  I was not going to get
            To the Ira Benjamin place and its
            Estate contents.
            “Pretty darn cold in here today.” She said.
            I was already through the kitchen and on toward the front of the... Colonial Homestead.
            “IF YOU SEE ANYTHING I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU TELL ME.”  I wasn’t seeing anything anyone but I, an antiquarian, ‘should know about’ so I wouldn’t
            BOTHER anyone with that.
            I could tell my breath was taken away by a general overall sense that ‘no one’ has ‘touched a friggen thing’ ‘in this place’ in
            Two hundred years
            Give or take a century.
            “You got it packed” I said seeing my breath again clouding in front of me”
            “I KNOW THAT A LOT OF THIS IS GOING TO BE VALUBLE.  We will be selling most of it in the spring but I know that there are some things that Edna will KEEP she says so THOSE I want to know their VALUE”.
            I didn’t say anything to that.  I kept my back to her.  I kept on to the stairs to the upstairs and... ascended.
            She come along.  I could hear her start up when I was almost to the top
            Of the stairs.

            Both front rooms:
            One was their bedroom.
            One was her dressing room.
            There was a small Federal Neoclassical gilt wood looking glass hanging between the windows in the dressing room.  I didn’t say anything about it.  She (the daughter) just stepped to the doorway while I bounced around the room’s walls and opened and closed the two closet doors and
            Said “Jesus Christ its freezing in here today”.  That appraisal of the contents of these two rooms sufficed for evidently Edna didn’t want the looking glass or I would have
            Heard about that?

            I knew the tall clock was coming right along.  “Well.” I said standing before it on the stair landing “Tell her to tell you how much (she’ll pay) and then say that’s not enough and to pay more.  When she says what she’ll pay more then say ‘well ok” and take her money”.
            I could see that was not going to ‘pass muster’ but I didn’t append my ‘appraisal’.  I stepped away from the tall clock and started back down the stairs.  The daughter remained standing before the clock.  “But don’t you think that it’s worth a lot of money?” she said.
            “Oh of course.” I said, continuing down the stairs.  “That’s pretty obvious that anyone will THINK that.”
            “Well I just feel she shouldn’t just get it.”
            “Yep.  Make her pay.”
            “Well how much should she pay.”
            “Not as much as she will pay if you ask her to say
            How much she’ll pay.”

            Now, over two years later, that clock is
            “Still being worked on”
            And is still
            Screwed to the wall
            At the top of the stairs

            I don’t care whether you know your clocks so by summarial adjunct I bump you along by noticing that clock to be an old ‘wooden works’ movement; a “Silas Hoadley” (Plymouth, CT) movement that would have been peddled from a ...Connecticut clock peddler’s cart... in the farm yard.  In to town they (1835 ish) would have ‘hauled’ that movement and “HAD” the local cabinet maker (coffin maker?) “MAKE” a “CASE” for “IT”; for this crummy low rent “never worked right’ ‘wooden’ movement.  Screwing the clock to the wall (a ‘grandfather clock’) was ‘to level it’ so ‘it will run’.  It was not screwed to the wall to prevent it from falling over.  It was a crummy ‘clock’ from day one.  IF one is real lucky one MIGHT find one of these movements is a ‘good country (“paint decorated”) case’.  But, as here at the stair crest, “probably not”.  Meaning “a six hundred dollar clock” with that meaning “I am not going to pay (anywhere near) that”.
            So I leave that for Edna