Springdale Rd. - Druid Hills “Estate Sale”
While I often note to my peers in a sarcastic throwback to old class references that I live north of the tracks. Behaving as though Lake Clairians live in some sort of higher level of luxury and social esteem not found in Edgewood or points south of that buffer of iron rail. But social critics may point that while I may be above that line of demarcation I am still below Ponce de Leon and not in the collection of homes known as Druid Hills. That noted neighborhood, which contains the former estates of soft drink magnates and driven Miss Daisies, does perceive to be the home of a higher society but it’s not what it used to be. One of the cola estates became the site of a mental hospital and another an arts center (there is a fine distinction between the two). With the rise of income and property taxes other handsome mansions were left to churches and charities. When in-town housing bottomed out in the early 70’s tile roofed Italianate manors were taken over by the Hare Krishna and dazed collections of hippies. Of the later my favorite was the New Clear Family, whose tied dyed laundry could be seen hanging from the windows on a Mediterranean manor on Ponce de Leon.
But with the passing years some of the glory has returned and so has wealth in the form of MD’s and bourgeois businessmen who once again may consider that commoners such as I reside south of Ponce De Leon.
The closeness of Druid Hills makes it a favorite stop on my visitation of sites of clutter divestment. Stopping by after work I was pleased to discover that this sale extended throughout the entire two floors of this large colonial revival mansion. Upon entering the large salon I encountered a grand piano with a sign telling potential buyers that it’s a 1923 Steinway model M. I know nothing of pianos but more notable was that the piano bench was covered in deadly sharp objects. Laid out for trouble or sharpening were two machetes with tooled leather scabbards, a knife with a camo handle, a knife with a handle made of some type of antler, a sword of unknown origin, a steak knife as well as a few other objects coming to points. Also in the salon was a large table lamp with the silhouette of a gunfighter in rusting steel. Between the lamp and the sharp things was a metal covered copy of Madonna’s opus “Sex”. Off the salon was a large screened-in porch; there I found a large mounted sailfish resting on two rocking chairs as well as a strange carved head attached to a rope. I was not sure if this was art, folk art or just something scary.
Going back inside I decided to go into the basement in hope that there might be some unfound treasures below. Descending a narrow wooden staircase I found a number of things strewn about on the concrete floor including a 1998 fantasy calendar, a set of golf clubs, and an electronic device labeled a loop analyzer. A nearby box yielded a trove of naval awards, such as a wall plaque for 1000 miles in an EA6B Prowler, another award was for classroom discipline and there was a 1996 certificate of achievement from Radio Shack.
Further back in the reaches of the basement I found an old filing cabinet with a bevy of old unopened Cock N Bull brand ginger beer bottles on top. When I attempted to open the file cabinet I notice that the bottom drawer was locked. Removing the top drawer I was able to lay my hands on goods untouched by earlier buyers in the lower drawer. All I found was a cache of even more Naval aviation citations. I headed back upstairs passing a foyer where a computer and a collection of folk art were on display. Among the art was a sculpture of two Native Americans paddling a canoe, a carved snake with confederate battle flags on its back and a small painting of the grim reaper. Atop the computer was a trio of tiny plastic Izzies. In each passing year since 1996, images this dreadfully embarrassing Olympic mascot are becoming rarer and rarer. It was good to see this small family, each figure representing some Olympic event, one for relay, and another for weight lifting and a third for whatever event uses a large red ball.
Proceeding to the top level of this manor I found four bedrooms and two large closets. In one bedroom I discovered a ceramic anteater, a large selection of women’s clothes, an array of purses covering a four-poster bed and a pair of riding boots. In another bedroom I found ski clothes with a lift ticket attached from Red Lodge Mountain resort in Montana, a medal from a croquet club, a blood pressure monitor and a Norman Rockwell plate. In a small bedroom or a very large closet were large circular racks of women’s clothing and a table full of Christmas decorations. Among the holiday fare were two one foot high Santa figures one carried a 9 iron and was dressed as a duffer the other resembled a wizard and was wearing a raincoat. Behind this room was another large closet or dressing room that had a selection of camo outfits, a Swedish army uniform, and several wooden nutcrackers of the Xmas variety. I presumed this was the military room. There was also a leather biker’s jacket and a pullover adorned with a drawing on Santa visiting an outhouse.
In what appeared by its size to be the master bedroom I found scattered about a large hand bell, an old horseshoe, and a hat made of feathers.
When I returned downstairs I found a man on the floor of the salon with several dozen stainless steel surgical tools spread out in front of him, he was telling the sellers that there were none here he really needed but said he wanted the case they came in. They did not want to sell just the case.
In the library was a wall of books as well as a bust of Dante, a ceramic ram’s head and a horse braid. Browsing the books I came across “ The secrets of numbers”, “How to pick up a man”, “Clipped Wings” a novel that was previously published as “Barge of Dreams”, “Man and his mate”, “Electric fryer cooker recipes” a work from 1927 entitled “Diseases of children for nurses”, “The value of sincerity” one of the proverbs of sincerity listed in this work was ‘your word is as good as a bankers’. Other books included “Cacti and succulents for modern living” bound volumes of Clinics in Plastic Surgery, “Imitation of Christ” and “Flowers of Evil”. Those last two works were back to back on the shelf. On a sofa in the same room were some 78’s from June Valli and Ezio Pinza and a ceramic boot. For some strange reason every week I seem to encounter a ceramic boot.
In the dining room was a cabinet with some expensive Madame Alexander dolls on display and a table covered with china and odds and ends. One of the odder ends was a pair of prints showing humanoid dogs peeing against a fence. Perhaps this is what they do after the poker game. Other art in the room included a large print of a jaguar and a painting of Sacre Cour.
In the kitchen hanging over the stove was an original painting with an image of the Venus of Willendorf tied to the moon and surrounded by eyeballs and yellow squash. In a cabinet was a full set of tumblers with the words Moscow Mule, a set of barware celebrating the War Between the States, and a mug from an ENT specialist with a nose protruding from the vessel. Around the kitchen were the usual kitchen items and cookware and a small painting of a skull.
Behind the house was an old garage. At the entrance were two dusty gnomes looking drunk and holding large bottles of Guinness Stout. One lay knocked on his back as if he had swallowed several bottles. Also in the outbuilding were a massive scale, two shop vacs and several cases of the ever-present mason jars.
As I was leaving a customers was laying down a scrapbook that she decided she did not want to purchase. The book priced at $95 contained some postcards ticket stubs and other memorabilia. Among the ticket stubs was a 688 club ticket for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, another for Husker Du and an empty pack of 688 matches.
I bought nothing, but tried to remember if I was working at 688 on either of those nights.