Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Roughshod - Part Five - "Line of Forts"


Part Five

"Line of Forts"

            The solution (continuing from the end of Part Four); the current resolve, is to delineate the “that” of the ‘old New England antiques’ in the ‘old New England home... as a ‘back there’ (in the homes) with the foreground and beyond being the everything else including ‘they don’t know’ and... “bad taste”.  It is so much easier that way.  It is too... not accommodating and is not intended to be.  No:  Not done... the ‘correction’ ‘of old New England’ “bad taste”.  Showing it off (“bad taste”) in an old New England home is...
            “Fine enough” says Calvin Acres.  He stands, with the old New England antiques in their old New England homes, behind his titled “Line of Forts”.  A ‘line of forts’ are found among the old New England antiques and their old New England homes?  What could that be?

            Well... the... Colonial New England era developed a line of (small outpost) “forts”, made of logs... along the Northern edge of the southern New England English settlements... with these ‘forts’ (square log walls, log cabins, dirt floor and primitive constructions...) intended to be a first warning of the approach of any “others” than the English ‘pioneer’ family farm ‘settler stock’.  And repel that approach.  Of the any and all who would... in any way... “approach”.  This titled ‘line of forts’ stretched from Albany, New York to Portland, Maine, inclusively.  And did actually “work”.
            So when Calvin turns this fort line concept on the ‘they don’t know’ and ‘bad taste’, we find he means that... coming from the vantage of old New England antiques and their remnant stock of undisturbed old New England homes...  (Yes I just said that the authentic undisturbed antiques have out survived the authentic homes in ‘undisturbed’ New England).  ...Calvin thereby... views his ‘home’ and ‘antiques’ as a “they know” and... have “good taste”.

            Calvin does not pay a bounty for the scalp locks of the ‘they don’t know’ and ‘bad taste’ set (populace) as the English Crown did to the ‘settlers’ for, well... “them” (the others who approached and lost... their scalp locks).  No.  He just surveys and denotes ‘them’ and ‘bad taste’ and... diverts any approach.  “Frozen out:  I am very good at freezing them out” an elderly matron once declared to me... at the front door of her family’s homestead as we stood together at her open-to-the-sun front doorway.  Together, we were “surveying the street” (her words).  That is it for what I am speaking of here;  the forts and their ‘freezing out’.  As I said of the line of forts, “this does actually work”.

            And may seem “horrible” at first.  That is okay.  The ‘others’ get used to it; being ‘frozen out’ and ‘of bad taste’.  It actually ‘goes by them’.  “TOO BUSY SANDING THEIR FLOORS” explains Calvin.  “AND READING THE BIBLE”.  He says too.  I am not going to explain that; the fear of God in old New England and how that Bible is read.  Just take what Calvin said to your bank... and bank it.  Then ponder:  Would one of these frail old matrons standing in the sunny doorway... actually scalp “ME”?  And then go to church?  This is ‘very’ old New England.  “I went to church and talked with God this morning.  See the dew on my BOOT TIPS.”  Just remember that... that... is going on all the time in this... too.
            So Calvin looks at the line of forts and the declaration of taste to be a matter “with God” too.  And never says that:  Bad taste is a (the) Devil... in old New England.  Now- then-so... when the northwest wind howls and the leafless tree branches rake the white side wall of the old New England home’s exterior... THAT... is the reckoning of the way it is, including the (house is) “not insulated”?  Yes this is THAT.  And how is one going to attack a fort such as that?  And prevail and ‘carry off’ (plunder) its treasure?  It is... almost... “impossible”.  If one has bad taste.  In old New England... the murmur of God is... good taste.  As are old graveyards... and Colonial settlers’ cemeteries. 

            An example of a fort... upon the line of forts of the old New England antiques in the old New England home?  Of course, dear.
            American Federal
            Say... Boston, Salem, New York... Portsmouth, Portland.  New Hampshire.  Say “domestic furnishings”.
            Glass, ceramics, furniture, silver, iron, brass.
            Tin, leather, wood, paint.
            English Neoclassical decorative straight lines with
            Appropriate sitting postures.  Tea services.  Coin silver teaspoons and
            Brown sugar.

            The silver service was “MADE” from “SILVER COINS”
            “MELTED DOWN”.
            One sips, speaks and keeps the ‘sewing’ in a ‘sewing basket’.
            On a ‘sewing stand’.
            The ‘silver’ and ‘old paste’ (English earthenware ceramics) touch the lips.
            All is as it should be... in the old New England.

            The (ceramic ‘stoneware’) jugs... made in Charlestown, MA in 1806... and holding the household’s molasses or vinegar at the cellar stair head off of the kitchen... they are... exactly equal... of ‘period design’ to the Neoclassical gilt gold and white looking glass and its frame... in the (a better room of your choosing; not a cellar’s stair).  “ENGLAND” it was “CAME FROM”.  That was:  The “Looking Glass”.  By war and by sea... the looking glass came “to New England” (1800-1820 the “Free Trade and Sailors Rights” war.. the American Federal war) (the war that furnished the old New England homes) (war).  And stayed there... in the old New England homes... until I “carried it off”.  Do you think?  How about “feel”?
            I could be the first one to “take that off the wall” after it was ‘hung there’ for ‘over two hundred years’.  Yes even that becomes a “I HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A PROBLEM WITH THAT”... carry off.  Especially if one is the ‘always doing that’.  OH... now, now, now... I left the ‘later stuff’ for the ‘clean out crew’ and... they’d never know a good old looking glass... anyway.

            So the line of forts protects a Neoclassical jug of vinegar... oh you didn’t know that the ovoid form of these old jugs was... based on Grecian ovoid jug forms?  Getting that under your belt perhaps will suggest a much more cautious exploration and observation in an old New England home as to where and what all the ‘old things’ “ARE” that are “IN THERE”.  And... where they are in there... too.  Vinegar jugs are well liked classic New England Federal design.  As are “hung” (hanging on a wall) ‘imported’ English Neoclassical looking glasses.  Your not going to ride roughshod over this.  You cannot get past the line of forts that guard against the ‘they know nothing’ and ‘have bad taste’.  What do you believe; the looking glass ‘moved to Kentucky’?  Sometimes, rarely, they actually did.  But most of the time they are still “hanging there”... in New England.  For example:  IN old New England and its home... which... is the better cultural value AND... the heritage of truth; a ‘lawn sprinkler system’ or an “that old mirror”?  Which one ‘holds the line’ of ... fine and... refined... design?  Then buy one of those:
            The proper antique looking glass for an old New England home.  The lawn will ‘get by’.

            That is how simple this is.  Harsh.  Simple.  You don’t know then you don’t know.  AND “everyone” may see that AND ‘know this’.  Harsh.  Simple.  Roughshod?
            Affordable?  Yes.
            Available?  Yes.
;            Nominal... exercise of self education (“going to a museum”)?  Yes.
            “Breaking your wallet”?  No.

            This last, especially over time (a ‘your lifetime’ of ‘learning’, ‘discovering’, ‘finding’, ‘acquiring’ [one “THING” at a time], ‘placing’, ‘keeping’ and ‘living with’ [“collecting”) is all there.  All one needs to do is “show up” and “start” and... it will go from there; a never ending journey discovering the things that are art (old art) in the old New England home.  But choose to “not know” and, too, show “bad taste”.  Calvin Acres prides himself on ‘spotting’ you ‘early’ and
            “Not wasting the time”.  This discernment “makes” him “giddy”.

            When Calvin comes out of his cellar hole (Photographs, Part Four) that is under his “cape” (built 1752) (twenty-six feet by thirty feet ‘square’) (“unfinished chamber” [the ‘second floor’])  He follows the footsteps of eleven generations “there”.  He bumps his head “there”... just like his great, great, great grandfather did “there”.  Looking at the cellar hole entry... he smirks off the utterance of “WHAT BAD TASTE I HAVE” fooling with this stone stepped creep hole of his as if it is an art treasure.  Serene... cool... moist it has poised “there” for friends and family, snakes and toads... for two hundred and fifty years of old New England settlement using old New England ‘rock’ (Granite).  “NOT SO FAST” says Calvin to the man saying “FIX THAT” with “CEMENT”.  That one; an ‘approach’, has been spotted from the line of forts.  And is frozen out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Roughshod - Part Four - "(Tread Bare) Resilience"


Part Four

"(Thread Bare) Resilience"

            “(A) remarkable circumstance” Calvin Acres titles to me the... remarkable circumstance... “these days” of the antiques found... from and once “in”... old New England homes.  You do not know Calvin and he does not know you.  He does know his ...old New England antiques... from... old New England homes.  I, myself, do not consider this “these day” to be either remarkable or a circumstance.  I consider the state of New England antiques ...in and of the old New England home... to be a resilience.  I consider it to be a tread bare resilience.
            It is always right there in front of me.  For example, the tread bare rugs are ...there... and usually... I am standing on them... too.  I do not wipe my feet on them; nobody does that.  But... “everyone” stands on them:  Resilient thread bare rugs “in there” (the old New England home).
            That is a funny way to look at it?  Isn’t it?  Thread bare Wasp carpeting is very fashionable these days.  Isn’t it?  Even having little essays with photographic illustrations that demark the “in fashion” of the “tread bare”
            For accomplishment, the “these sorts of rugs” are in the back bedrooms and on the front stair landings... on the ‘front hall’ floor and in the ‘library’ of the undisturbed ‘old New England home.  I know this  because I stand on the rugs... “too”.  I am never shown these rugs.  They are never mentioned.
            They are just there.
            Until I “clean them out”. (Part Three).

            So:  The next time I see them they are ...shown to me.  Or Calvin.  He laughs at that; the ‘being shown’ ‘antiques’ from old New England homes.  Especially ‘being shown’ them “in” an old New England home.  In the true old New England home one is never shown ‘the antiques’.  They are a ‘just there’.  If Calvin or I are a ‘shown’ antiques... in an old New England home... then we must be.... in a... new... old New England home.  “Are the floors sanded”?
            Of course they are.  And to ‘show off’ this “THAT” (the ‘we had the floors DONE’)... the “THEY” did not ‘put’ the ‘antiques’ that used to be in that room... or front hall... “BACK”.  “If we’d put it all BACK you couldn’t even SEE the floors”.  “Oh”.
            “You’ve MASTERED THAT”:  The ‘riding roughshod over the old New England antiques in the ‘our’ (new) old New England home.
            So the rest of the stuff (old New England antiques from old New England homes) just gets dumped?  On the rest of the homes?  Yes.  That is what happens.  Other homes discern, acquire and display... old New England antiques... sort of.  As a base level, I will say that ‘they have a few (antiques) in there (other homes)... kicking around.  Sometimes they are just a “there” and other times I am a ‘shown them’.  It is all fun.  Right?  And they do not have thread bare rugs ‘in there’ (the other homes).  No; they have “new” “rugs”.  That is often stated to me.

            There are so many old New England home antiques... that dumping them on the other homes... does not consume the supply.  No.  The ‘this stuff’ didn’t go to the dump (recycling center) either.  No.  It gets ‘dumped’.  At the back of the ‘a garage’, a ‘yard sale’, a ...storage unit...  a ‘benefit sale’... a ponderance
            Of single item dumping here, there and everywhere (out by the road side with a “FREE” sign attached.  There is still ‘too much’.  Everything that is an ‘antique’ was once a ‘saved’.  And is still being that (saved) too.  Sort of.  It (old New England antiques) is a ‘can kicked down the road’...
            These days.

            This is the (thread bare) resilience of these old New England antiques from old New England homes.  They (the antiques) do a better job of resilience than the old homes.  Those become new old homes.  If at all, the antiques get “refinished” or “cleaned”.  That does not include the old thread bare rugs.  Those are ‘thrown out’ or ‘given away’ with the latter promoted by ‘pet usage’.  Including that (pet pee), these rugs are “rescued” and “put back”... in an upstair back bedroom where the sniff test is rarely used in that domestic space by ...nosey neighbors.
            “I FINALLY GOT IN THERE; that old place.  Ebenezer Adams’ FAMILY HOME.  The children have taken him OUT you know.  I don’t know WHAT will happen to all his THINGS”.
            I do.
            NOT VERY MANY HOMES, these days... OLD NEW ENGLAND HOMES... “these days” have old (sterling) silver services that they use AND have a second family silver service in a service box on a shelf in a SHED.  OLD YANKEE BACK-UP that is.  Try it sometime with your old silver.  It’s harder than it looks.
            And that clears up the thread bare rugs too.  Those, too, are ‘harder than they look’.  Oh that IS the way this goes.  It makes sanding the floors... so tacky:  No back up silver service, no thread bare rugs... what else can a ‘they’ do but... sand their floors. And show that “THAT”... off.
            Meanwhile the rest of the ‘old things’ that were once ‘in there’ are now at the back of someone’s garage or out by the road “IN” a “YARD SALE”.  Those people are always so pleased to speak to me about “how much we got rid of”.  No... dear...: that stuff was supposed to be in the house... to hide the old floors and water stained wallpaper “from the Civil War”. (Part Three).
            It is the thread bare resilience of old New England antiques... right here... right now.  Calvin Acres calls it a “remarkable circumstance”.  I do not see it that way.  For me it has become a remarkable opportunity.

            While the ‘ever after’ of the new New England home neutralizes the ‘old places’, cleans them out, paints them white “again” and, of course, ‘sands the floors’... the rest of the ‘all that stuff... is a ‘still around’.  Current commercial demarcation... from within the ‘those that trade’ (“the dealers”) strongly force feeds the current market that “antiques” “no longer sell for ‘that much’ or... even... “at all”.  “No one buys them”.

            So what does that mean?  Yesterday I, in attendance at an “Antiques” “Show”.  Note the word ‘show’.  An antique ‘show’ means one may attend, look at the antiques and not need to ‘buy anything’.  “Buy” is at an antiques ‘sale’.  There are, in fact, ‘antiques’ “show and sale”.  Even ‘antiques’ “sale and show”.
            Anyway... I was in attendance... professionally.
            In the course of that I reviewed a set of six Pennsylvanian kitchen farm chairs (1840-1870) with their original paint decorated surface ($850.00).  This was the second “show” I’d seen them ‘on display’ at in a month... being ‘shown’.  “They haven’t sold” was... lamentably expressed to me... by the ‘dealer’ who was ‘showing them’ “for sale”.
            Well first off... the chair set is not from an old New England home.  They come from an old Pennsylvanian home.  If one buys them and puts them in an old New England home... one has “PUT” the wrong chairs ‘in the home’.  So... like... “don’t buy them for that”.

            Second, the style of chair; antique Pennsylvanian kitchen farm chairs... are awkward and “Germanic” when compared to antique New England kitchen farm chairs.  The self study of New England decorative arts “teaches” the eye (sophisticates the self art eye) to... “KNOW THIS”.  The further result is that... for as long as I have been an antiques dealer, these Pennsylvanian chairs ‘do not sell’ (except, of course, to appropriate old Pennsylvanian farm kitchens).  That is actually the correct solution; the chairs are not old New England chairs proper for an old New England home so... do not buy them “for that”.  That is why they don’t sell in New England.  They are not ‘not selling’ NOW.  These chairs ALWAYS were “hard sell” in ‘old New England.  And now... EVEN the reader ‘knows why’.  So these chairs; now part of the “ANTIQUES ARE NOT SELLING” market of current vogue... were also part of that same market for the LAST FIFTY YEARS I have been in business.  That chair set has ALWAYS not sold to old New England homes.  Properly... ‘nobody’ wants them.

            What do they want?  The proper decorative and fine arts of ...and historically ‘found in’... old New England homes.  That includes old thread bare rugs that pets have peed on.  If you do not like this then do not live in an old New England home.  Buy a new home in New England and fill it with all (or none) of the crap you... “I like” (Part One).  The old New England home etiquette does not care what you do “with that”.  Just do not try to say that THAT is “right”.
            It is wrong.

            Anyway:  The surplus of real and true old New England antiques from and appropriate to old New England homes... are all over the place, for sale, “cheap”.  All one has to do is know a “what they are”... this being a much harder skill than one would expect and includes “doing stuff” like “going to museums”... .  But who cares?  I don’t.  My whole fifty years as a ‘dealer’ in old New England antiques has been ALWAYS dominated by “idiots” “who don’t know what they are doing”.  Further, and as a warning... the closer one gets to truly “GOOD” old New England antiques, the more expensive they will be.  They will, too, always have greater support of their heritage (design and history) and their cultural place (old New England).
            But that takes a while.  One may begin right now by ‘filling up’ an old New England home with the “stuff” that was (once) “in there”.  That, too, is a ‘but that takes a while’.  And is a little roughshod... if you ‘don’t know anything’.  When they filled the (old New England) home up the first time... they didn’t know what they were doing either.  Except upon rare occasion.