Friday October 22, 2004
I have been having unsettling dreams. I know this has nothing to do with yard sales. But they are worth mentioning. On Friday I was reading Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant to some third graders. I read the part where the giant is labeling the dreams he has captured and the descriptions of each dream, so perhaps this made me want to write about my own dreams of the following two nights. On Friday night I dreamed the presidential election was held that day and the returns were in and Kerry had lost 30 to 70%. I was very disturbed at the amount he had lost by. I think I had fallen asleep with the TV on and some commentator was talking about the election. On Saturday afternoon I went to The Contemporary to see the retrospective of Chris Verene’s photographs. That night Verene was in my dream. He was standing on a large metal scaffold erecting some large installation for some show he was doing. The scaffold was under high power wires and an electrical storm started. Lightning then struck the scaffold and the artist on it. Latter after I told a number of people he knew that he was dead he turned up alive and thought it was funny.
I have had dreams about yard and estate sales in the past. In times long ago when I had little money I had dreams of finding things of great value only to have them vanish or disintegrate after I purchased them or when I went to pay for them.
Laurel Way, Rehoboth, Dekalb Co.
I find out about this sale from an ad in Friday’s AJC. The estate is that of a 20 plus year employee or Rich’s Downtown book department. Rich’s book department on the sixth floor of the store for homes was once regarded as the literary epicenter of this city, Georgia and the south. I think Rich’s stopped carrying books sometime in the 80’s when it started dropping a lot of other departments like toys, records and pet supplies. Like most department stores it became a shadow of its former self. Rich’s to the best of my knowledge never had a live pet department that was best left to Kress or Grant’s. The combined smells of hamsters and popcorn is something I still associate with a good shopping experience. It is so hard to find anymore.
Anyway this is an actual estate sale not some trumped up event, here someone has died or been put in a nursing home. The house is a medium sized ranch home located near Lawrenceville Highway. I call the neighborhood Rehoboth because that’s what it says on older maps (and I have lots of older maps) But I have never heard of anyone using that term for this area in over 20 years. Inside there is ample evidence that there was a bookseller at this home. There are a lot of books but the majority of them are cookbooks. There are also a few reminders of the old life in Atlanta as I find a pair of matching mugs from Pittypats Porch. Near the mugs is a teapot shaped like a penguin. I am pleased to find in the kitchen a fair number of food products for sale including plastic bags of almonds and pecans. Not in the original packaging but just freezer bags of nuts and they are not in the freezer. There is no indication of their age. I also find a large bottle of sorghum molasses it does not appear to have been opened. Near it is a small bottle of Liquid Smoke. A friend tells me later that Liquid Smoke was taken off the market because it was carcinogenic. Perhaps estates sales or over the border sources such as Canada are the only place one can score some of this delightful smoky flavoring today. (I later regret that I did not buy the bottle). Stranger is a half filled bottle of Taylor Port that is selling for $3.00 there is no indication of when it was opened. Other foodstuffs include 5 six packs of commemorative bottles of Coca cola (6 oz of course) from the 1996 Olympic Games.
Scattered about the house are other artifacts such as a trio of ceramic rabbits, a 1955 Statesville NC phone book, and a Cyprus knee. Downstairs is where the mother lode of books are located as well as a lot of other stuff. In the finished basement I find two early computers a TI99 and a Commodore Plus4, which was just a Commodore 64 with some built in programs. A box of lps has Ferrante and Teicher’s “You asked for it”. There is a framed chart of the course of the SS Rhapsody and it’s voyage through the Caribbean on April 9-16, 1983. Other items in the basement include a drainage calculator and a bicentennial calendar of the American Revolution. But the books the main draw of this sale titles include: "The $25,000 Mardi gras cake and other prize winning recipes", "You can do the Rubik’s Cube" "Easy Icing", "Mein Kampf", "Recipes from Old Virginia", "I love being a cardio cook", and "The Mike Douglas Cookbook". Deeper in the basement I find a framed certificate from the Water Pollution Control Association and a book from 1936 entitled "Sewage and Sewer Treatment". So in the end the main outcome of having worked in the south’s premier book department for over 20 years is that one has an excellent assortment of small press cook books and the secret of solving a Rubik’s cube.
I buy a copy of a 1966 Delta Airlines in-flight magazine for 25 cents.