Sunday, March 20, 2011

Now *THIS* is an Estate Sale

Yesterday after our investment club meeting, mom told me they were having an "Estate Sale" (a REAL one this time, not a yard sale like last week's adventure!) at a house not far from theirs. She described the location and I knew exactly which house she was talking about - it's a house that, having grown up there, I've driven by at least a million times. I've always loved this particular house. The front is now a bit overgrown by shrubs (for that matter, I guess it always has been - to some degree at least), but the shrubs don't overshadow the beauty of the house. It's a two story brick colonial with window boxes outside the rows of upstairs windows. I've always wanted to go through that house and yesterday I finally had my chance.

As much as I love estate sales, there is one thing I really don't like about them: it typically means that someone has passed away. It always makes me feel a bit guilty - not to mention melancholy - to walk through a home watching people paw through things that someone took a whole lifetime to collect. There's just something about it that makes me really sad. When I do go to them, I'm always very careful to treat both the home and the items being sold with a great deal of respect. I go through the home slowly, trying to imagine the family that lived there - who they were, how they lived their lives, celebrations they had - and I'm very careful when picking up items for sale. I treat them very gingerly and only touch things I'm really interested in buying.

Yesterday's sale was a big one. Lots of cars parked along the street and lots of people mulling around the house. And what a house it is! It's even more beautiful on the inside than I'd imagined. Several of the rooms were closed off, but the most of them were open and had lots of things for sale. I was talking to a guy who was helping to run the sale and I told him that I'd grown up in the area and had always admired the house. He told me that it had been in the same family since it was built in 1936. How cool is that?! I mentioned that the home had clearly been lovingly maintained and he countered with the fact that it was desperately in need of some upgrades: the home still has STEAM heat! Oh my. I do hope that whomever ends up buying the house maintains the integrity of it's vintage. Something tells me they will ;o)

Anyway --- on to my finds. I picked up a bag of assorted flatware (remember last week's fiasco?), a darling pair of vintage women's gloves with sweet little bead and pearl details, an aqua celluloid vanity box and a charming little vintage Baby Ben windup alarm clock. As I was at the sale on the second day and they were getting ready to wind down, I asked the man if he was able to give me a better price. He added everything up - for a total of $28.00 - and said 'How about $20.00 for everything?' DEAL! 'Wow!', I thought to myself 'This is exactly what I tried to accomplish at last week's sale, but no dice.' Funny - it's definitely one of those times where fate stepped right in and did it's thing.

Another fun find from yesterday ... Last week I read a new-to-me book and re-read an old favorite. They're both focused on war time cooking - methods, rationing, etc. The author happened to mention that, during the 1940's, women would triple sift their flour and cake flour. In fact, they made a specific type of sifter - a three screen sifter - specifically for this purpose so that women would only have to sift their flour one time, and it would still be triple sifted. Huh. I'd never heard of such a thing. As luck would have it, I stopped in at the Goodwill store in Pasadena. I walked up and down the housewares aisles and suddenly, something jumped out at me like a beacon in the night: a three screen sifter! Now I ask you, what are the odds??

Here's a look at 'the goods':(49 pieces, all told - and many of them are initialed. What are the initials? W, M, L - too crazy, right?!)


DW said...

So why did they triple-sift flour? Did it cause them to use less by creating volume?

Last fall, I went to an auction at a historic home in my area (everyting, including the house, was up for sale.) Like you, I felt a bit odd about trasping through someone's former home. But I did enjoy just seeing the place ... it even had a carriage house! (Unfortunately, didn't see anything I wanted that day ... )

Hi! I'm Randa said...

The author did mention that, because there were shortages of butter and sugar - the things that make your cakes light - the women would triple sift the flour.

I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it was to ration all of those things back then. We take so much of our good fortune for granted these days.

Frances said...

Once you get a home, the next best thing would be to acquire a mode of transportation which you could pick from Pasadena car sales shops.