Sunday, March 13, 2005

Scott Blvd. Decatur “Estate Sale”

This was perhaps one of the most delightful sales I have had chance to visit this year. Not because I found a bounty of items to buy but the disorder, randomness and sensual surprises of this symphony of clutter and chaos made it a masterpiece. To add to all this today was the day the city was on alert after a defendant had shot and killed three people including a judge in the Fulton county courthouse. The hubbub all over Atlanta was not just over the killing but that the felon was at large. He could be at this sale, buying a change of clothes for his getaway. The drama was made more exiting when I came upon a strange series of synchronistic events at the sale relating to the crime.
The site of the sale was in a house at the end of a very long driveway coming off a street near Scott Blvd. I knew immediately that I was in store for something special when I spotted two old customized Chevy vans for sale in front of the home. The house is a one-story ranch with a full basement. But most of the contents are scattered around the extensive grounds. Inside the house I am met by an Octogenarian lady who is seated in front of a large television blaring the latest on the manhunt in progress. Perhaps she is hard of hearing for the television audio is heard in every room of the home. The first synchronistic event: In the living room is a court reporters typewriter. One of the persons murdered today was the court reporter. I have never seen one of these devices at a sale before. I have never seen one outside of a courtroom before. In a room off the living room are piles of records of all types, 78’s, Edison disks, LPS, 45’s. One of the first 45’s I examine is Frankie Laine’s “Wanted Man”. That is synchronistic event number two.
Event number three, in a bedroom I ruffle through a pile of clothes. There is a T-shirt that proclaims “ I Escaped”. These events together put this sale on a higher plain.
Aside from the eerie events I the sale is a amazing delight. On a table in the living room are a quartet of Taco Bell Chihuahua’s (these have been showing up a lot lately) below the table is a very large box of unwanted beanie babies. I head to one of the bedrooms I find two soap dispensers one has ghosts floating inside the other penguins. On a dresser is a box of cleaning products including an insect fogger kit. Next to this is an Avon bottle in the shape of a stick shift. In the pile of clothing where I came across the I escaped shirt, I find a tie with images of Tabasco sauce bottles and a Michelangelo t-shirt and a Hard Rock Café shirt from Honolulu. In the other bedroom is a bounty of records. I was once a collector and would stop and go through every disc. I no longer have the time for this but peruse a few. A 78 by the Mills brothers is entitled “WPA” and Lp is entitled “Serenade for Lovers” there is also a box set of the entire soundtrack to a stage production of “Marat/Sade”, which I would buy if I had a turntable. It was one of my favorite records during my college days. When my friends were listening to Grand Funk Railroad I was singing along to lyrics such as “ Four years after the revolution and the old kings execution, four years after remember how those courtiers took their final bow. Down with all of the ruling class, throw all the generals out on their…” Some things you learn in college you never forget. Also in the same room was a framed photo of Santa Claus holding two terriers and a plaque from the Japanese Bicycle Promotion Institute. There was a large selection of books here as well including “Blood Ship” from 1922, and “ Diary of a fat housewife”
In another bedroom I find yet another rat item. This time a throw rug with a rat on it. Near it are two embroidered pictures of Mt Fuji. On a table is a dancing Christmas cactus. It did not have batteries so I could not see it dance and sing. On top of a large Kimball organ is a selection of sheet music. One is of “I got Spurs that Jingle Jangle Jingle” this tune came from the film “Forest Rangers” There is also a time clock sitting on the floor.
I make my way through the kitchen to discover a few food items for sale, a jar of olive oil, a container of pasta sauce, some Crisco and a can of macadamia nuts.
When I get out to the deck I see the extensive beauty of this sale. A steady wind is blowing a half dozen wind chimes hanging about the property creating a song to accompany the vista of chaos. From the deck, down to the driveway and out to a large tool shed is an astounding assortment of clutter and debris. In the center of it all is a medium size decrepit wooden cabin cruiser. Flanking the boat are a brigade of bicycles mowers and wheel chairs left there like the playthings of some attention deficient giant. Before descending into the visual cacophony of the driveway. I looked about the deck. Among a selection of glassware, household utensils I find a framed photograph of welding supply salesmen, next to some plastic fruit
Examining the chaos at ground level is a wonderful experience. Everywhere I look is visual paradoxes. A copy of the LP “Sophia Loren in Roma” lays propped up next to a massive doghouse. A box of mosquito coils sits on top of a microfilm reader, a mug with a relief pistol on it rests on a rowing machine. Beyond the boat is the large cinder block tool shed. A tarp hanging in front of the shed flaps wildly in the wind slapping a beat to the music of the wind chimes. The inside of the shed is a berserk scene. Where a man or woman once attempted to provide refuge and relief for broken electronics and appliances now is now a sea of confusion. Every horizontal surface seems to contain a salad of dissected CB radios, socket wrenches and unknown assorted byproducts of mechanics and technology. On top on one such jumble is a book “How to clean almost anything” In another part of the shed is a pile of unopened bottles of Fanta Orange soda of some old but unknown vintage. On the floor rusting wet vacs and out board motors mingle together in the midst of the confusion.
The last territory of this wonderland I explore is the basement. In the expanses of this full basement I find hand cranked Victorlas, rusting Kelvinators and even more books and records. Lying on a table next to several boxes of Model railroading landscaping materials is a moldy copy of “The Riddle of Lester Maddox” beneath it is a guide to the homes of the stars, it has maps of where to stalk the homes of Steve McQueen and Doris Day. In a basement nook are cases of slides. Examining a few I see a dinner party by the sea, one is labeled Expo 67 and another Halloween ’66.
I do not have the time to go through them all.
I buy a Piedmont Airlines bag for $2.00. When I was leaving I noticed sign for a new development that is planned for this home site. This is such a loss. This is not an estate sale this is a folk art environment.

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