Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Harold Byrd Dr. - Decatur “Estate Sale”

This home was on one of the streets tucked behind one of the most notably named corners in the city, Ridley at Scott. I have never known why the neighborhood has not capitalized on this corner and named the streets near by after some of the director’s films. There could be Thelma and Louise Lanes, Blade Runner Run, Alien Ave or Gladiator Place. The walking path that goes over towards the YMCA could be called Director’s Cut Through. The sale was in a one-story brick home near the cut through. In the living room the professional sellers sat by their cash boxes near two large tables covered with Xmas decorations. Among the décor was a Santa Furby; it had no batteries so I had no idea what demonic sounds it might be capable of uttering. Seeing a stairway to the basement I immediately descended and found my self in a crypt of old Telco paperwork. The estate had belong to a man who may worked for the phone company his entire life. At this lower level were boxes upon boxes of old documents, awards, pictures, brochures and more xmas décorations. Standing amid all this was a deranged looking 4-foot snowman figure made from a wooden dowel. Perhaps this was the secret snowman fetish that children would imply to bring snowflakes to these southern climes.

Some of the picture hung on the walls were puzzling, a print of a impish farm lad, a photo of two ghost seemingly interrupting a meeting of telephone executives, old scrap books of new deal economic measures, Canadian visits and European Caravans. In one closet I found a ledger book from 1938. Some of the expenses were; Maid -65 cents, diapers $1.15. An old pamphlet addressed “Managing your family forest”. An old paperback amid the chaos was entitled “Toward the Liberally Educated Executive”. A hand typed recipe for grits sat atop a magazine opened to an article on job loss. On a shelf was a photo of Ford and Reagan together with a printed note by Ford on the back. A cassette on a chair offered ”Great highlights of Crimson Tide broadcasts” A brochure promoted an Abilene Kansas two day adventure. On the floor an old dial telephone had a sticker proclaiming “new service call waiting”. On the wall was a print of Bell demonstrating his telephone to a top hatted gentleman. Needles to say I wanted to spend the entire day down there amid the chaos and rubble but I had to move on.
Upstairs things were more organized. In the dinning room were a number of well stock bookshelves and a table covered in old newspapers. The papers contained the major headlines of the second half of the prior century. Roosevelt’s death, Kennedy’s death, Margaret Mitchell’s death. One special supplement presented a 1957 vision of the Atlanta of the future it resmbled a boring Brasilia without the palm trees. Among the books there were “Modern Humor for Public speakers” I opened it a joke that began “A Scotsman…”. Many of the other books were religious in nature such as “Ways to power and praise” the aptly titled “The stranger in my House” and “Who am I?” In the same room was another scrapbook this one filled with clippings on antiques it was open to a newspaper story on the value of saving grandpa’s leg irons.
There were few LPs in the den including ‘Back Beat Symphony” and the soundtrack to Victory at Sea. Some sheet music included ”That old Master Painter” and “The Marine’s Hymn”. Seemingly out of place I discovered under a table a framed montage of images of the Virgin Mary. Other things scatter about included a rug shaped like a VW beetle, two gigantic coffee mugs that said Ma and Pa and a kitchen plaque that read “If your heart is cold our fire can’t warm you”. On the way out I noticed that in the living room was a very large box of Beanie Babies sitting unwanted.
I bought a few post cards, the Canadian scrapbook and the book of humor for modern speakers.
Here is one of the many Scotsmen jokes contain within:
“The man who invented the slow motion movies probably got his idea when he saw a Scotsman reach for a restaurant check.”

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