Thursday, April 26, 2007

Saturday 4/21/07

Clifton Rd. – Lake Claire “Yard Sale”

This sale in front of a small simple bungalow was filled with shoppers when I arrived just after nine in the morning. Here two women watched over a front yard strewn with clutter. In the yard was an aquarium several lamps, a very uncomfortable looking high back chair, draperies, lampshades, candles, a spanking paddle, clocks, a bobbing headed Jesus and a poster of Rod Stewart. Proudly sitting atop a concrete Doric column was a toaster oven. Among a pile of books on the ground I found “A Skeptics Guide to 12 Steps”, “Does She or Doesn’t She?” “Life After God”, “The Art of Eating”, “In Memory’s Kitchen”, “You Just Don’t Understand”, “Essential Buddhism”, “How to Get Your Cat to Do What You Want”, “Crazy Ladies” and “The Company of Women”. In the driveway was a table laden with small jars. In my sleep clouded mind I first though this to be a prep area for a lemonade stand. The seller told me the jars contained homemade bath products.
I bought nothing.
Toaster oven on a pedestal.

One of several religious images I encountered today.
Candler St. – Candler Park “Estate Sale”

When I approached this home I heard a shopper blurt out “Its almost all gone”. I did not even know there was an estate sale going on in Candler Park and it must have started at least a day beforehand. Inside this turn of the century home I found that most of the rooms had been emptied of their contents. What was left might have indicated what was taken. In the living room I found a shelf of videotapes with a sign on a box saying “Star Trek on VHS”. Another shelf held a wooden cat, a stained glass icon and a small ceramic snowman. On the floor were a projection screen, a fax machine and an electric fan. In what may have been a dining room I found a few collector prints of characters from Gone with the Wind, some small picture frames, a fabric Mammy doll and a framed photograph of the Houses of Parliament.
The kitchen still had an assortment of cookware but on the back porch I found two colossal sauté pans with three-foot handles and cooking surfaces nearly the same distance across.
In a room in the back of the home was a massive stack of board games among them I found anti-Monopoly, Lie Cheat and Steal, Columbo, Class Struggle and Black Box.

On the front porch I found piles that buyers had assembled on them in. The piles were marked with signs indicating the buyer. In Sabra’s pile I saw a slide rule, a Turkish coffee set, a Guinness sign, a mortal and pestle and three Stations of the Cross. A more anonymous pile simply marked “someone’s pile” contained a Pachinko machine, another mortal and pestle and a tree limb lopper.
I bought nothing.
Pile of games.

Icon in front of window in empty room.

A pile marked sold.

Candler St. – Candler Park “Yard Sale”

This sale was small and the epitome of quaint. From the hand painted sign on the white picket fence, to the selection of kitchen items, wicker things and toys. On top of this there was the added attraction of a fresh-faced toddler playing an accordion. If you were seeking something to buy this was a lousy sale, if you were Norman Rockwell wannabe looking for something to paint this was the place to be.
I bought nothing.
Euclid Ave. – Candler Park “Yard Sale”

The sign said yard sale but this looked like devastation. This event was in front of a stone church near Little Five Points. The sellers were the operators of a children’s shelter in the church. Spread about the premises was a tangle of bicycles, a confused pile of art, damaged furniture, industrial kitchen equipment, dreary looking plush toys and an assembly of high chairs. I wandered about through this maze of debris. One of the sellers then cornered me and told me they were abandoning this site because there were too many homeless around little five points. She then began a diatribe that blasted the politics of the Candler Park pool association and explained why voodoo was responsible for Hurricane Katrina. While I was talking to her one of the children who was possibly in her care told me about the stray kittens somewhere in the church and if I wanted one of them.
I considered looking for one of the kittens but was afraid the woman would never stop talking to me. I bought nothing.

Religious imagery among the debris.

Array of high chairs.

Tangle of children's bikes.

Art found in the confusion.
Washita Ave. – Inman Park “Yard Sale”

Over in Inman Park I felt life had again returned to normal. Here I found a young woman with two chairs and a bright red sofa in her yard a small selection of stuff on the porch of her turn of the century bungalow.
Among the stuff of her porch was a table covered in various fabrics (she said she sews for a living) a rack of women’s clothing and some kitchen-wares. On the floor of the porch were some hand made pillows with religious images on them. I bought nothing.

Seller holding soft art object with religous imagery.

Highland Ave. - Inman Park “Yard Sale”

A large prop tree dominated this sale with purses hanging from it. Aside from the tree there was not a lot here, a bathroom sink, a model of an old time baseball stadium and a globe. While I was there two women bought a large tub of Lincoln Logs.
I bought nothing.

Happy buyer with Lincoln Logs.

Powell St. –Cabbagetown “Yard Sale?”

This sale was advertised in Craigslist, but had not sign and there was almost no merchandise there. In the front driveway were a few chairs and some planters. One of the regular yard sale mavens drove up while I was there and the seller brought out a large brass planter and asked the yard sale visitor how much should he ask for the planter.
I bought nothing but admired the minimalism of the event.

Harold Ave. - Lake Claire “Yard Sale”

The signs for this sale said, “Everything’s free”. This was true, but it wasn’t really a sale, just a bunch of old computer stuff in someone’s driveway. No one was there and no one except myself was even slowing down to look at the stuff. A sign on the garage door said not to remove the for sale sign on the house.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

4/14/07 - Finding the Graveyard of Lost Electronics.

Samson St. - Old 4th Ward "Yard Sale?"
This was not your usual yard sale. This was not in my definition a yard sale at all. Here on a side street in the Old Fourth Ward was a large assembly of jumbled clutter taken off a large truck parked nearby and set up in an empty lot. This assortment of electronic and other debris was watched over by a man with an eastern European accent who declined to have his picture taken but he told me it was fine for me to wander about documenting all that I encountered. The dusty and decrepit devices were placed on the ground on tables in this lot. Mixed in with them were games, 8 track tapes, old hand tools, dolls and a few toys. Some strange framed artifacts were in the mix among them a photograph of a military freight plane with a fief and drum band near its open door. Another picture was a strange posed assembly of people costumed as Dickens’s like characters, some were holding geese. The overall state of confusion made the entire jumble of junk and debris a delightful experience. There seemed to be no reason for this stuff being here other than to mystify passing shoppers.
I bought nothing.
Framed photo amid aging electronics.

Artwork found aside truck.

Inexplicable photograph.

View of debris on Samson St.
Wylie St. – Cabbagetown “Yard Sale”

Sales in Cabbagetown are never mundane. Perhaps it’s the character of this old mill village with tiny front yards coupled with the clutter placed there by the artsy denizens of this neighborhood. The initial unique encounter here was a large dog sleeping next to one of those robot vacuums and a pile of day-glo bright pillows and toys. Across the yard from this were shelves full of wigs of all sorts of unnatural colors. On the shelf a sign proclaiming “Buy a wig be someone else for a day”. On table I found a selection of toys and anime style action figures. Nearly everything here was bright and colorful even the books. In a box I found “A History of Costume”, “Love in Vein”, “Spice Girls – Spice World”, “Idiot’s Guide to Photography Like a Pro”, “Pamela Anderson- Star”, “Bad Cat”, “Inside the Fashion Business” and copies of Naruto 1 –5, graphic novels in Japanese”.
When I asked the seller to pose with something she grabbed a pair of thigh high vinyl boots with six-inch heels and stood in front of her frame bungalow holding them. Other stuff scattered around the yard included a witches hat, a pirate costume, a painting of a wine bottle, a pair of plush pandas and a copy of the Sex and the City trivia game.
I bought nothing.

Pandas and other plush on Wylie Ave.

Wigs that can make you someone else.

Seller shows off boots no longer needed.
Oakland Ave. – Grant Park “Moving Sale”

This sale in the north end of Grant Park was domestic and family oriented. On the street in front of a large craftsman bungalow was a jumble of children’s and baby items, some house wares and some clothing. On a table was a bag of sugar cookie mix, some xmas decorations, a few candles, a pair of silvers vases and a novelty bottle of soap that carried the name “Wash Away Your Sins”. On another table was an open bag of disposable diapers and a disassembled ceiling fan. On a third table I found an ionic shoe deodorizer, some candles and a book on Poker. A third table was covered in a variety of audio components. Some books found here included “Jane Austen Book Club”, “Body of Evidence”, Digital Fortress”, “The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet”, “Miss Julia Takes Over” and “The Fresh Guide to St. Petersburg”. On a tarp on the ground were more clothes and a large handmade broom.
I bought a denim shirt for one dollar.
Another disassembled ceiling fan.

Seller poses with large broom to sweep clear the clutter.
Glenwood Ave. – Grant Park “Yard Sale”

Here I found two sales side by side. When I arrived I found the sellers in front of the first home placing what appeared to be the top of a pagoda in their yard. They said it once topped a cabinet they no longer owned. Scattered around this yard was an assortment of Halloween decorations. A skeleton hung from a real estate company’s for sale sign in the front of the home. On the porch I found some hardbound copies of novels by Tom Clancy, John LeCarre and Elmore Leonard and a copy of “The New Pastry Cook”. I also found a bread-maker, a heavy brass obelisk, a miniature oil derrick, some luggage and a pair of bunny ears. The sale next door offered less stuff. In the yard was a BBQ grill and on the sidewalk was a large wooden stand up of a grinning alligator. I took it to be some sort of University of Florida thing that I did not understand. In the yard a large dog chewed on a pair of boots that were for sale.
I bought nothing.
Holiday mixture for sale.

Pagoda like furniture topper.

University of Florida decor being divested.

Large dog eyes boots for chewing.
McLendon Ave. – Candler Park “Multi Family Yard Sale”

I don’t know how many families were involved but this sale appeared to have been organized by several women living in this homely apartment building on McLendon Ave. Greeting customers at the entryway was a bald and handless female manikin wearing a dress and a set of butterfly wings. The entire front lawn of the building was covered in clutter. Strewn across a number of tables were coffee makers, glass cookware, a dish made into a clock, a multitude of small frames, some darkroom equipment, rolls of gift wrap and a bowl or ashtray shaped like a large fedora. There were several racks of women’s clothing, some ballet trophies, a purse the said I heart Bingo and a brass mouse. In one corner a seller had set up four Styrofoam heads to model hand made head bands she was selling. Against a wall rested a black velvet painting of a unicorn. In on box old playboys from the 1970’s were offered for sale. In some other boxes were some books including “Grow Younger, Live Longer”, “Miss Patches Learn to Sew Book”, “Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions”, “Best New Erotica #5”, “Eat More Weight Less’, “The Three Hour Diet” and “Driven to Distraction”. While I was there a Marta driver stopped her bus blocking all traffic behind her and asked how much the manikin was selling for. It wasn’t for sale. I bought nothing.

Head bands on display.

Artwork found on McLendon Ave.

Selection of clothing in front of apartments.

Two sellers model their wares.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Looking for the murdering Moynihan- A Spring sojourn in Ireland

Last Friday Cindy and I flew off to Ireland in search a badly needed spring break and to seek the truth about my great grandfather Timothy Moynihan who was said to have murdered his English landlord with a pitchfork. The murder is said to have been for good cause, as the story goes one day during the famine young Timothy awoke to find his mother being beaten by the landlord for not paying rent on time. He then grabbed a pointed farm implement and impaled the dastardly landlord onto a barn door. The pitchfork story was told to me by a distant relative some time ago but over the past ten years I had no success in verifying the tale. So we headed off to western Ireland to see the sights, hit the pubs and attempt to find the impaling marks left on some old barn door. Seeing the sights and visiting the pubs posed no problem but seeking the mysterious Moynihan entailed walking through bogs, stepping over electric fences, conversing with aging men in pubs and butcher shops, and opening the creaking gates of old burial grounds.

Resting place of possible family member.

Needless to say I found out nothing about the murder but I did find that my mother’s ancestors might have resided within view of Kilcoe castle. The ancient fortress is now owned by Claus Von Bulow portrayer Jeremy Irons. The main talk of Balydehob, the nearest real town near the haunts my ancestors, is that Mr. Irons has a dreadful problem with moisture control at his ancient seaside estate. My search did lead me to the town victualler (butcher in American lingo) who may have been a distant in-law of mine. When I spoke of the murder he told me times were very bad back then and he would have done the same thing himself.

A statue of Danny Mahoney looks over the town of Ballydehob. Also known as Danno -The Irish Whip. A leading prize fighter of his day he only murdered people in the ring.

Victualler shop in Ballydehob.