Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Dangers of Walking and Writing

Two things no longer needed on Page Ave. Posted by Hello
After waking I went outside to see if the AJC had begun delivery of the daily paper. They had not but I did spot my friend Terry emerging from a trash pile across the street with a lamp in her hand. Terry is a milliner who supplants her hat sales with ongoing yard sales. Seeing the bed of her pickup half filled with a cargo of globes and xylophones, I decided that it was best that I immediately head out to what ever sales awaited before she and other resellers removed the remaining clutter.
Knowing that there were several sales in the immediate vicinity I decided to make my way on bicycle.

Page Ave. Candler Park “Yard Sale”

Terry had told me that she was not impressed with this sale but it was close to home and advertised in the AJC. In the driveway of this well tended brick bungalow I found a tube of Elvira makeup, a red bowling ball in a case with shoes, a rusty machete in a mildewed leather case, a 2003 Firefighters calendar, a basket of faux eggs, a hat shaped like a Jack o lantern, a book “ Depression Free for life” and a skateboard. Matching the strange ball made from peach pits I found last week this sale had three balls made from pecans. The balls were painted pastel colors. There was a two-cassette set on sexuality from the church of religious science as well as a paperweight with the words “Obey that impulse”
I bought nothing.

Harold Ave. - Lake Claire “Yard Sale” & “Giant Yard Sale”

These two sales were within a block of one another and I knew both of the sellers. The first was at the home of a notable old musician who has been playing around town since the late sixties. There seems to be a sale here at least once or twice a year with a lot of the same stuff for sale. Among the items was a very expensive bicycle for $650(they said he had $3000 in it) some nice looking motorcycle boots, two turntables, and some fishing lures. Since I had seen a lot of this before I headed up the street.
A friend and fellow educator was holding the second sale. Strewn around the yard was a collection of old toys their children had out grown as well as several surplused filmstrip projectors from Atlanta Public Schools.
I bought nothing.
Feeling the increasing humidity I biked home and decided that the rest of the morning was better spent driving.

More strange balls. Posted by Hello
Kirkwood Neighborhood sales.

I drove across the tracks to Kirkwood in hopes of many sales in close proximity to one another. There were not many sales and their proximity was not close.

Murry Hill

This sale in front of a small frame cottage was watched over by a father and his teenage son. Among the items being divested was a selection of sporting goods including skis, bike helmets, life vests and a small inflatable boat. One table in the yard held three blenders and some other kitchen appliances. Another table yielded a collection of toy cars arranged neatly in rows. A large plastic toy tank loomed over the cars. There was also a full set of Sabian drums, a Dracula cape, and several books dealing with Chicken soup for assorted souls and a bullwhip.
I bought nothing.

Dunwoody Pl

This was a small sale with a pile of new men’s underwear as well as a used pair of shorts saying “In Dad we trust”. There was a children’s drum set, a book entitled ‘How to live to be 100” and a pair of instructional videos on nightclub dancing.
I bought nothing

Several other sales in Kirkwood had nothing worth noting or remembering.

Tiny cars attempt to halt massive tank in Kirkwood. Posted by Hello
Rosewalk - Decatur “Community Sale”

Rosewalk is one of the older infill developments in Atlanta. I don’t know what was there before it was built. What I do know is that there must be a lot of children in this development. Of the seven or eight sales no less than three had children selling food. A youngster named Alec who was selling hot off the grill hot dogs in addition to the usual bake sale and cold drink items was doing the best marketing. There was also a lot of children’s stuff for sale as well. So much so that I found the sales mostly unremarkable. As I was writing this down while walking I tripped on a vine covered curb and fell in the street. Aside from some bloody scraps on my knees the main damage was done to my pen. With a broken writing implement I was no longer able to continue this day’s journal of divestments. So after going to one more sale where the sellers spritzed my bruised and bloody knees with Bactine I headed home, stopping only to photograph a faux TV monitor lying face up in a seller’s yard.

Faux TV monitor in yard. Posted by Hello

The Charming Clutter of Toco Hills - 6/24/05

Kong Loo greet buyers in Toco Hills. Posted by Hello
Jody Ln. - Toco Hills “Moving Sale

Among the people I have met in my life there are those who I call accumulators. They are lovers of found objects, appreciators of the strange and self-appointed curators of the curious. Their lives may sometimes be controlled by these habits as they bring into their homes far too many things that they feel are interesting and remarkable. Sometimes they may decide that they might even make a living off of buying and selling such stuff at flea markets or on Ebay. This may offer some economic incentive but it is only a rationalization for their ways. But these noble individuals act to preserve the strange and create in their homs exceptional assemblages that stand out collectively as highly aesthetic and sometimes interactive visual installations. One such environment was found in this ranch house in Toco Hills. The newspaper ad for this sale mentioned thousands of LPs and books, this is often the keywords that tell me this could be the lair of an accumulator. Upon seeing the disheveled carport with broken furniture, golf clubs and a few old helium tanks I immediately knew that there were treasures to behold inside.
As I strolled among the three rooms filled with clutter I came upon a large statue of a primate like creature. The apelike image held a tiny sign in his hands that said “I am Kung loo” the sign went on to explain that this creature was sometimes called Yeti or Susquach. A typewritten poem (that I failed to copy) was at his feet. Past this strange sentinel was a room full of old LPs. I no longer have a turntable I do not have the time and stamina to flip through massive collections as this one. Seasoned resellers were bent over the rows of recordings pulling out the discs then remarking that they could not sell these audio artifacts because they were too scratched. Such profiteering motives disturb me. Would Dr. Leakey digging in the Olduvai toss aside the skull of an ancient hominid because it was missing a tooth?
In what could have been the living room was a sofa covered with old paperback books. A few titles included “How to live to be 100’, “Mork and Mindy”, “Isle of Dreams” “Going steady with God” and “Mecca for Murder”. Above the sofa was a framed poster from the film Superfly. A table in the same room held a collection of old soda bottles with long forgotten brand names such as Zesty and Dr. Well. Next to the bottles was a cardboard box with plastic bags full of black buttons. Another table carried a sign that rear “New Age stuff 1/3 to 1/4 off.” Among the new age gear were chakra balls, prophetic pillows, psychic enhancement cards, dream catchers, a variety of candles and an assortment of crystals. Discarded pop culture icons were everywhere around the home. A large bust of Elvis rested on the floor, a case of Dukes of Hazzard wristwatches sat on an easy chair next to two cartons of ceramic hands used to create latex gloves. Old games such as the Beverly Hillbillies card game and the more active Hip Flip game were stacked on shelves. Underneath a table was a pile old unused flour sacks for such brands as “Shifted Snow”. There were boxes of old comic books and 8 tracks as well as a copy of the Dairy Queen Party book. Other oddities found were a box containing a Masonic bible and a sugar cube as well as a large collection of suede purses. Outside on the patio things were more confused with piles of toys, mingling with old caps, more purses and camping gear. One box contained three toy icons of American cuisine- Ronald McDonald, Mr. Potato head and the Jolly Green Giant’s heir Sprout. Nearby was a toy pistol with direction for safe use indicated on the box "Never point your gun at anyone". One patio box was filled with those plastic bubble capsules used in gumball machines. I examined one to find it contained a New Kids on the Block sticker. Next to a scale Model of the Frankenstein Fliver was an unopened kit for creating a macramé owl.
I bought nothing but told the seller that I appreciated his collection.

New age stuff at discounted prices. Posted by Hello

A game for swinging people. Posted by Hello

Boxes of timepieces saluting our southern heritage. Posted by Hello

A Gremlin in the fast lane. Posted by Hello

A meeting of the great food figures of our time. Posted by Hello

Firearm with proper directions found in Toco Hills. Posted by Hello

Avion fiber art preserved in original box. Posted by Hello
Leafmore Dr. - Leafmore “Estate Sale”

Not far from Toco was this sale in Leafmore a neighborhood that some might call Lower Sagamore Hills. Leafmore is yet another community beset by the encroaching problem of oversized infill construction. Next to this ranch home hosting the sale were a number of homes with signs decrying this trend. This appeared to be a true estate sale but when I arrived there but much of the goods had already been pillaged and sold. My first stop as I made my way through the house was a den or office that still held many plaques hung by the estate owner. The plaques were from a number of remarkable organizations including the Daughters of the Confederacy, the Magna Carta Dames, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames. There was also a diploma from Miss Hutchinson’s School in Memphis. The document was badly stained so I could not read its date of issue. As I went from room to room I was sad to see that there was little else that gave evidence to the noble pedigree of the estates. In a bedroom was chaos as clothing, linens, neckties and other cloth items were scattered across the floor. Descending the staircase to the basement I found the opposite extreme. There a workshop was obsessively organized with shelf after shelf holding containers precisely arranged for all sorts of nails and screws. Past the workshop was a basement bedroom. In a closet a woman’s wardrobe was still on hangers. Old copies of The Journal of Mississippi History, American Chronicle and American Heritage littered the floor. Some books found among the debris included “Basic Biblical Geography”, ”Mr. Adam, Mrs. Eve”, “How to pray” and “The Compulsive Overeater”.
Back upstairs buyers continued to decimate the collected clutter. A collection of candles in the shape of citrus fruit went unpurchased. In the kitchen I found a number of cookbooks such as “The Diabetic Cookbook”, “Deep Freeze Secrets” and “The Seven Chocolate Sins”.
I bought nothing.

A very messy bedroom. Posted by Hello

A well kept workshop. Posted by Hello

A multitude of fruit shaped candles. Posted by Hello

Thursday 6/23/05

N. Decatur- Druid Hills "Estate Sale"

Being off for the summer I have nothing except the prospect that a sale is going to be boring to keep me from going to midweek sales. This inside-the-house sale near Emory was exactly the type that might keep me from going to more sales on weekdays. Upon entering the well-kept brick bungalow it was obvious that this was some yuppie moving sale and not the estate of someone recently departed. The telling point was that no one invests in a large HDTV set a few months before they die. Overall there was not a lot of stuff in the house that was not for sale and very little of it was interesting or even indicative of someone’s life. (Since I sometimes find really boring lives lived in quiet desperation just as fascinating as interesting and remarkable lives). Among the limited stuff for sale was a large ugly white French provincial bedroom suite, a mahogany secretary holding at least 20 Readers Digest condensed books and two large aquariums. In the kitchen I spotted a pantry full of food but it was sadly marked “Not for Sale”. I spent little time in the house proper and headed to the detached garaged which contained far more interesting albeit unremarkable stuff. In that building I found several framed promotional photos from Movie Channel movies, a scrabble game, a Risk game, old copies of Gourmet and Bon Appitit, a candy dish in the shape of Santa’s head and a box of plastic fruit. One ceramic bust of a bearded man on a table was labeled “very damaged McCoy” I could not tell who McCoy was or what the damage was. A book shelf yielded titles such as “A man in Full”, “Celestine Prophecy”, “The book of Modern Puzzles”, “The Awful handyman’s book” and the Art Linkletter opus “Kids sure rite funny”. Also in the garage was a box of empty CD cases and a fake hand grenade.
I bought nothing.

A very damaged McCoy. Posted by Hello

Grenade next to candles and Xmas music. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Friday 6/17/05 Girlie things and homes with no soul.

A house of girlie things. Posted by Hello
Just a few days back in the US I was invited to go Highlands for a few days with Cindy’s sister and brother in law. Knowing I would not have a chance to go to sales on Saturday I headed out to three estates sales on Friday.

Glendale Rd. Decatur “Estate sale”

When I arrived at this well kept bungalow near the heart of Decatur I was saddened to notice that the sale was not in the home but in the driveway and carport. It seemed as through nearly everything at this sale was a bit too tasteful from the bound compilations of Southern Living cookbooks to old rolls of expensive gift-wrap. Looking about for signs of real life I noticed a few interesting items on the tables such as a painting of a horse made of colored sand, a large print of two owls and a hand held massager. Books here included “Death of a Hussy”, several New England travel guides and “A treasury of Ethan Allen”. There were a number of decorative mouse items including a ceramic mouse wearing a bridal gown and a illustrated family tree of the Woodmouse family and a few other prints of mice posing in various humanoid stances. Boxes in the driveway carried old issues of Gourmet, piles of metal gift tins and old gift bags. When I was leaving a seller asked me if I was buying anything, I replied “no”. She then retorted “Well its kind of a girly sale.” Getting into my car a neighbor pulled up beside me and asked “Did something happen to Ruth?” I told her I didn’t know but they seem to be selling all her stuff.

Owls found in Decatur. Posted by Hello
Wynn Way - Avondale Estates “Estate Sale”

This sale was inside an older ranch home in Avondale. Like the prior sale this one was a bit on the tasteful side but this one had a few odd bits of lives well lived. When I went to the back of the house I could not help but notice a door obsessively covered in masking tape. At most estates sales there is always a room or two that are marked off limits, normally with a sign or one or two runs of tape. This door used countless rows and columns of narrow masking tape that turned the doorway into a monochromatic DeStijl painting. I was tempted to try and purchase the door and tape as a piece of folk art.
The first items I investigated were a few shelves of books over the television. Among the books were several works on bridge, including “Master the Odds of Bridge”. Other works included “The Power of Positive thinking”, “Your Art Heritage” and “The 1953 standard text book to Cosmetology”
Notable among the books was a copy of the 1983 work “Safe places to live in America”. In it Avondale Estates was listed as a safe place to live. Also in the living room was an exercise bike, an orange stone obelisk, some steak knives and a photo of Colonial Williamsburg decorated for Christmas. One quite interesting item was a melon-sized ball constructed of peach pits glued together. In one of the bedrooms I found a pamphlet entitled “The Industrial Life Cookbook” it contained a recipe for savory stuffed veal. In the same bedroom was a clock with the letters R.A.D under the face. In another bedroom I found more cookbooks “Salad dressing to suit the salads”, “Searchlight recipe Book” and” Soup cooking the savory Heinz way” as well as a painting of a kitten playing with yarn and chicks hatching.
Outside the house in the driveway were a few tables of odds and ends ranging from a plastic Godzilla toy to a pair of children’s handcuffs.
I bought a pair of two-tone dress shoes for a dollar.

A well taped doorway.. Posted by Hello

Ball of peach pits. Posted by Hello

Books on industrial and electrical cusine. Posted by Hello

A kitten at play. Posted by Hello
S. Columbia Dr. Decatur “Estate Sale”

This sale attracted me since the ad in the AJC mentioned lots of ephemera. When I arrived at this very old colonial style farmhouse just off College Ave I encountered a line of over twenty buyers waiting at the door. Knowing that I would not be going to sales tomorrow I decided to endure the long wait as one or two people were slowly allowed inside as others departed. Those leaving carried with them birdhouses, paintings of dogs and old baskets. After nearly 25 minutes I was let into the house. What I found there was disappointment. Regardless of the amount of clutter this old house seemed to have no soul. A great estate sale is not total of its contents but what they indicate about the owner. These piles of books, antiques furniture and ephemera said little to nothing. Among this massed collection were no old bottles of molasses, no home health implements, no ugly gifts that surviving family members did not want to look at. A book collection never fails to tell some sort of story, but the one here said nothing. It was as though this was an estate sale created by a focus group. Some of the ephemera were interesting but none of it melded. Some pamphlets included “Unusual Old World Recipes”, “300 ways to serve eggs”, “250 fish recipes” and “500 snacks”. Random items scattered about the massive home included a 1978 poster for the Inman park Festival, a table full of broken dolls, a book entitled “The complete guide to everything sold in hardware stores” and a portfolio of copies of etchings by Lionel Barrymore. The more I looked the less I saw. Other shoppers seemed delighted the more I searched and sought the more disappointed I became.
I bought nothing.

Buyers in line. I wasted 25 minutes here. Posted by Hello

Advice on eggs and insects. Posted by Hello