Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Treasures!

Today my mom and I braved the cold rain for something new and exciting - an estate sale!  Neither of us had ever been to one, but this one promised many vintage items, so we went to see if we could sort out the treasure from the other stuff.

We started in the kitchen, which was upstairs with a million dollar view of the ocean.  After we managed to look away from the windows, we found many well loved and well worn items, from glasses, to casseroles, to even a pressure cooker!  There was nothing in especially good condition or that we loved, so to the next room we went.  That's where I found the key.

A lovely living area, with shelves along the wall and many art pieces throughout, most of them strange and probably acquired on traveling.  Wooden cats, a stoneware owl, 3 sizes of wooden piggy banks (which were very cute).  I picked up 2 daggers and turned to my mom - "this looks like something you would see on Pawn Stars!"  I tried to remove them from their sheaths and found them to be rusted, the salt air had gotten to them and the blades hadn't seen light in years.  I couldn't see more than an inch of the blade and I've watched enough Pawn Stars to know that that's...not good.  I left them behind for someone else.

On that same shelf was this amazing skeleton key.  Keys are fascinating.  What does this unlock?  How long ago was it last used?  Is there still something valuable on the other side of its matching lock?  Does the matching lock still exist?  Is the key's size directly proportional to the importance of the thing it protected?  I'm tempted to carry it with me at all times, just in case I come across The Lock.

This same room had a large trunk, and another woman opened it up and discovered a stash of yarn, all from many years ago.  I yelled "YOU FOUND THE YARN!" and came running up beside her.  I picked up one skein to find it coated in a thick layer of dust.  I picked up another and found odd spots, probably caused by moisture and mold.  I wasn't sure how long this yarn had been ignored, but I suddenly thought of my own stash, and that I didn't need so much as for it to be collecting dust.  I vowed to go home and love the stash I had, and backed out of the room as the other woman continued rummaging for the perfect vintage skein.

Downstairs we went, passing a jewelry case with more treasures acquired at home and away.  I didn't see any jewelry that was especially interesting, but was more interested in the pocket watches and these specs that were in the front of the case!  The watch turned out to be $75 and was broken (I didn't like either of those things), but I was so drawn to the specs!  The label in the leather case is just...remarkable, and I love the old handwriting.  The pieces that clip on to the nose are on hinges so as to keep on the face (since they don't have the ear-holder thingies), and the craftsmanship is amazing all these years later.

We headed to the last couple rooms, one of them being a second kitchen (I want two kitchens!), with an even BIGGER pressure cooker, 25 or so ash trays from old Las Vegas hotels, and more glasses and kitchenware.  I picked up a small Santa mug, one of a pair, with a name on it.  I felt sad for a moment.  These were childrens' Christmas mugs, I would guess from the 1950's by the style of them.  They had been saved for all these years by a mother.  Her children didn't want them, they were being sold to the general public along with so many other things.  I wondered what kind of relationship they had, where they were now, what their families were like.  I wondered what items they had saved of their mother's, and how they decided to part with these things in the house.  Maybe it was just the energy of the kitchen, commonly where families gather on holidays.  I didn't buy anything out of that room.

On the way back to the living area to purchase my key, we poked around a little more, finding some records and other neat things, and sitting on a chair was this cute little box!  It was undoubtedly picked up on a Canadian vacation, and would be perfect for holding things like crochet hooks and needles and beads!  It was too cute to leave behind.  Under that, was something more - my favorite score of the day.  It was a newspaper.  I LOVE old newspapers.  It could have been from Any Date, 19diggity2 and I would have taken it home.  But it WASN'T from Any Date, it was from July 21, 1969.

I picked it up, wide eyed, and held it in front of my mom.  She took a moment to see what it was, then said "NO WAY!"  I couldn't believe this find!  There it had been, just sitting on a chair, the only newspaper in the whole house and it was something from such an important date. 

This was not a newspaper in brilliant condition.  It had obviously been read and read again, showed to neighbors, talked about, folded under the arm and brought outside to read.  The pages were yellowed and bent in strange places, some of the corners had tears.  Because of this, I didn't have that irrational need to keep it pristine, to keep it in plastic, hide it in a dark closet, and never touch it.  I read it!  The coverage on the moon landing dominates the paper, of course, but other features include a young Ted Kennedy killing a "pretty blonde" in a car accident, an article regarding the good work of "Negroes" in casinos, and ads for suits, 2 for $55, including all wool sharkskins AND wool houndstooth!  Amazing how so much of the newspaper seems to be so far set in the past, yet the moon landing still feels like the future.

It's interesting to think that if something incredible and history-changing were to happen tomorrow, there wouldn't be someone 40 years ago finding an old newspaper to read about it.  They could just look up the video on the internet, or pull up a hologram of it, or something.  I wonder if they'll find YouTube as charming as I found this old newspaper?

The guy didn't even charge me for it. It was my favorite find of the day.


  1. Those are AMAZING finds, and I love your description of everything. I have a pair of my grandfather's glasses like your find. It's amazing the quality of things "back then" isn't it?

    Also, super jealous of the key.

  2. I loved your comments on the key- that's exactly what I get like when rummaging. When you're next over, we'll take a trip to Brighton, where there is my favourite rummaging place EVER. You could lose a day there x