Thread Bare (Threadbare) (Rug) Care (Dare)
For the reader’s ease, I reprint in full below the ‘aside’ on threadbare rugs I wrote within the story “John Henry”. It is in “Part Three” but reads (stands well) as an aside. I have included the pre-sentences and the last “NOW I GET IT” to remind that this aside is written in support of a larger topic; the Wasp estate contents as a whole and its perception of that (estate contents) by the family and heirs. Threadbare rugs are just one object of the story. Should one be interested in Wasp estate contents, one should read the whole story... and the many other Wasp related writing I have posted. Click the label “WASP” and review all the labels to find all kinds of writing on this subject; old New England antiques from old New England homes.
From “John Henry Part Three”:
...Within that rumination... about the “CAMP” ...that also included the coastal mansion... “that’s full TOO and IS actually worth a million dollars... TOO”... I developed a side rumination that went back to my private anger management issues of ‘just what is all this and who are these creepy heirs anyway. That lead to the inner ruminations of ‘they never bought anything ever (antiques) , they’ve always had all this stuff (antiques) in there anyway, since they (the antiques) have always been there no one notices them or cares because that ...is just... the way... it is... stupid. YOU (me) ARE THAT WAY TOO, stupid.
NOW I GET IT.
What am I getting?
It is subtle. I will use a specific example... found in these estates; a big time specific example: ‘Threadbare rugs’.
A ‘threadbare rug’ is a traditional... outside the antiques realm... title for rugs (“carpeting”) found on the floors of WASP homes. More close to home; NEW ENGLAND... Maine... WASP homes. Generally, in this region, they are ‘scatter rugs’ with an occasional LARGE (usually a single specimen) ‘room size’ ‘oriental’ and some more medium sized ‘room size’ ‘orientals’ appearing in, foremost in order, the living room, the dining room, the ‘den’... or ‘library’ or ‘TV room’ or... whatever they call ‘that room’. They are; the scatter rugs and the ‘room size’... old, worn ‘oriental rugs’ AND... for scatter AND TOO (but very rarely) for ‘room size’, old, worn ‘homemade’ braided or hooked ‘rugs’ that are ON... in rising order of WASP New England aesthetic... ‘hard wood floors’... ‘old stone (slate tile) floors’, ‘parquet floors’ and, at the top... old, worn, with old finish remnants, 18th and early 19th century ‘wide pine floors’. No vinyl. No wall-to-wall. No refinished, sanded and varnished hardwoods or pine. At all. Ever.
This last is key... to ‘now I get it... stupid’. A refinished WASP floor-on-display specimen... is pandemic these days. They are “EVERYWHERE” so assure the premium exclusivity of those NOT ‘ruined’ ‘by doing that’. In the two estates visited in this tale so far... one hardwood floored, one 19th century wide pine... NEITHER estate has ‘refinished’ ANY floor EVER. The only... ONLY.... ONLY ‘surface’ ‘treatment’ or ‘work’ done to ‘them’ is an occasional ‘spill’ and... and ...and.... family pets peeing on them. That last is a fundamental symbol of WASP floor treatment. The next (and only further) fundamental treatment is putting ‘threadbare rugs’ on top of the ‘dog peed on it’ floor wood. What those threadbare rugs are and how they are placed is the coup de grace KEY to this KEY.
Properly done... the threadbare rug coverage is comprehensive with layers of old threadbare scatter rugs ‘piled’ on top of one another ...sort of... that is... truly ‘scattered’ and that these layered, scattered threadbare rugs are of all different sorts, ages, conditions, sizes, colors, patterns, types and ‘being’ from sources UNKNOWN over as many generations as possible... with no one ever moving them, lifting them, touching them, looking at them and ONLY ‘family pets peeing on them’... with no one doing anything about that most of the time because, usually, they “didn’t see that”. The older the resident, the more ‘didn’t see that’.
A counter pendulum swing shows best the DEPTH of this WASP ‘threadbare’ ‘thing’. In a refinished floor setting one most often finds ‘placed’ ‘rugs’.... including actual true ‘threadbare rugs’ ‘displayed’. These tend to be ...selectively and consciously acquired ‘rugs’ ‘displayed. On ‘restored’ floors. Getting it?
Most often many of these displayed rugs are ‘too new’, ‘too good’ and too not threadbare enough (“I’M NOT GOING TO PUT THAT ON MY FLOOR I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY!”) so ‘self eliminate’ any chance of ‘doing it right’. That’s right; doing it right... is a lot harder and more comprehensive (including dollar outlay) that one ever would imagine. THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT REAL. And the “now I get it... stupid”.
There are two avenues for I to further report.
The first is easy. It starts with the summarial point of the second: I grew up with this; the threadbare rug ‘thing’.
Since I grew up with myself standing, crawling, lying, watching TV, sitting in front of a fire with, on and ALL of ‘threadbare rugs’ including all the pet pee... I ‘am that way’ about all this so... never gave it a thought EITHER. Except, of course, that from day one of ‘being an antiques dealer’ I ‘bought and sold’ ‘them’ (threadbare rugs of ALL types) ALWAYS.
So one day this very well to do snobby New England family grand-dame MRS. comes to I and says “I want to buy some rugs”.
“WELL” I say, “MRS. ***** YOU KNOW that MOST ALL of the rugs I SELL are very worn and dirty so I can hardly imagine that ANYTHING I have to offer EVER would appeal to you”.
“On the contrary” she replied, “I am coming to you because I know that you sell EXACTLY that and THAT is the type of rugs I need to BUY.”
“AH... BUT... MRS.*****.”
“NOW LISTEN. I have just bought a house in Exeter (NH) and its DREADFULL but the FLOORS are original so I NEED some rugs. And I come to you because I KNOW you KNOW the rugs I NEED: I NEED RUGS that I can say came from my grandmother.”
Period... but reminding to note her valuing the floor wood condition. SHE; ‘Mrs.; proceed to ...over a TEN YEAR period ‘buy’ threadbare rugs and LAYER THEM.... not display them... on her ...wide pine wood floors ‘original untouched’. The only thing she ever has done to the floors and the rugs is have ...the family pets pee on them.
She may have (I acknowledge her craftiness) actually encouraged this last. Is this; the smell of old pet pee... a New England WASP estate ‘thing’. Yes it is.
The second is ‘get it stupid’ ‘I do’ why? Because it is “I”. Too. Like the rest of ‘em all I am always ‘in there’; the estates, too. Always, since birth, I am there... threadbare.
Beyond the simplistic of growing up so threadbare... it is so ‘is that way’, so ‘I am that’’, so... stand on it sniffing to old pet pee WITHOUT realizing that it IS DIFFERENT from ‘other people’ so creates ... that I DO need to... ‘now I get it... stupid’.
“Why then this peed on bare threads?” one asks?
“Because of where it comes from.”
“Come from? Threadbare rugs comes from somewhere?”
“Come from? Threadbare rugs comes from somewhere?”
“Yes. And it is a Maine seafaring saga. Once, a long, long time ago on the coast of Maine and New England, daring sea captains traveled the world round buying and selling cargos for profit. In the Middle East, a regional market of trade, the boat cargo was sold and the boat cargo was bought and ... this last was loaded aboard to be homeward bound to be ...sold... at the dock of an exotic port like Portland or Bucksport MAINE and... AND the sailors packed that cargo tight in the belly of the ship and ... in the Middle East they wadded that cargo tight with... old ‘old oriental rugs’ they could get for NOTHING on the shore; from on the ground in old tents. It packed the cargo so, so, tight that the sailor took ALL of the rugs they could possibly find ....and many of these were ‘threadbare’ and worn so no good to anyone except for packing... and... off they sailed.
At the coastal Maine port the cargo was unloaded and sold and... the old threadbare worn rugs tossed off the boat onto the dock where... for free... men in horse drawn wagons and wheelbarrows loaded them and hauled them away and... went ever further inland peddling them to... to.... TO: Old Maine Farms. While keeping the ‘better ones’ to ‘sell’ to the homes ‘on the coast’.
Denuded of their old rugs; the Middle East was STRIPPED, by Yankee sea captains. The result is that the threadbare worn rugs peddled and placed on the FLOOR OF THE BARN of the ‘old Maine farm’ can often be a ...17th, 18th or 19th century ‘authentic tribal weaving’ and THE BEST PLACE IN THE WHOLE WORLD to find a “THAT” is... New England. In old undisturbed estates... with undisturbed floors... covered with ‘layered’ old ‘scatter’ rugs. That the family pets from six generations ...have peed on.
I grew up with oriental scatter rugs on the floor of the barn. I never ever questioned that. I DID learn... pretty fast... as an antiques dealer... that those scatter rugs are ‘good’. In my opinion, this corrupted my eye... to the actual pure tradition. I ‘know’ a ‘good one’... from quite a distance. In true threadbare estates... like these of the story, discrimination of good is a... never. Scattered is truly scattered... quality. No knowing eye ‘ever’. That’s what I had to remind myself of with the “NOW I GET IT” “STUPID”. They; the heirs, were right in their behavior toward their estate’s contents and their floors and floor coverings PROVED IT.
“NOW I GET IT.”