Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Intriguing Charm of Mema's House 8/1/08

Westbury Dr. -Valley Brook “Mema’s Estate Sale”

I was attracted to this sale by the charm of it’s title. Not the formal grandmother’s house but Mema’s. Could any Mema have a sale that was not interesting? Don’t all Mema’s in their late years lovingly collect all manner of cute things, lovingly placing them in jumbled piles where they collect dust until the end of a Mema’s time on earth? The other defining feature of a Mema’s life is that the collected clutter will be crowded into a humble cottage far too small to contain such lovingly acquired keepsakes. Anyone familiar with the nomenclature of real estate advertising knows that the term “grandma’s house” is a codeword for a two-bedroom one bath miniscule residence. In advertising a sale such as this a professional estate sale company would simply say octogenarian, but the use of Mema indicates as was proven here that the sale was staged by Mema’s own descendants.
The home as expected was tiny a 2/1 on a lot that was perhaps once tidy but now somewhat overgrown. When I arrived signs welcomed me to explore the wonders inside. In the living room I was greeted by a large poster of FDR laid out on a table atop several art prints. In the same room were a few pieces of French provincial style furniture (a favorite of all Memas) and a mahogany china cabinet. In the cabinet were plates, a few teapots and a tureen shaped like a duck. Hanging on the wall nearby was a print of two farm lads feeding a lamb milk from a coke bottle. The seller told me she regretted not trying to sell it to a Coke collectables buyer who had come by earlier.

In one of the bedrooms I saw the extent of the dolls and other stuff Mema collected. Three cardboard boxes on the floor were filled with naked and semi naked baby dolls. Another box was crammed with Barbie or Barbie like figures. Splayed across the bed was an assortment of small dolls some naked others in diapers. The countless pairs of plastic eyes in this room looked sad, lonely and somewhat startled, perhaps they missed Mema. In the other bedroom were the remnants of Mema’s crafts. A box of faux bird’s nests, countless rolls of yard, bits of fabric, bags that contained either fur or hair and several small paper mache bunnies. In a closet were several old bed skirts hanging on coat hangers and a box of leather belts.
In a tiny dinning room were two shelf units of books and curios. Among the reading material was ”Making things Grow”, “Miracle Medicine Foods”, “How to Get Well”, “The Art of Painting”, “Strange facts About the Bible”, “Hunza Health Secrets for Long Life and Happiness”, “The Encyclopedia of Prophecy”, “The Chan-ese Way” and “A Treasury of Driftwood Arrangement”. On the bottom shelf of one of the units were two near life-size ceramic dogs. The walls of the room were decorated with a variety of baskets, pots and a wooden Coke case and a cake mold. In one corner was a wooden mantle with a large faux cantaloupe on top of it. Next to it was a table filled with old silver-plate pieces. One was a silver dish that appeared to be sliced in half.
The kitchen was also tiny and held the usual assortment of grandma wares, things that resembled spatulas, pans of odd sizes and an assortment of glassware. The highlight of the cooking area was a small lamp in the shape of a chicken.
Outside in the carport were boxes of empty picture frames; boxes of newspapers, some stray tools, a few BBQ items, some old Brochures for Georgia and some disassembled electrical components.
I bought nothing.

Box of bird nests.

Wall with baskets and coke case.