Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Remains of Another Estate 8/21/09

Mason Mill Rd. - Emory "Estate Sale"

Estate sales are wider doors into people’s lives than the more common Saturday morning yard sale, especially if they truly feature the accumulation of a long life. On occasion I will go pillaging through the remnants of someone’s belongings in a dusty basement or cluttered study and lapse out of my droll state of mind to find myself having a poignant moment considering the long life of the owner of the assembled clutter. This Friday that feeling approached me while going through the contents of a home near Emory. It wasn’t so much a feeling towards the individual but more so a feeling towards myself. Dreaded feelings of mortality where the clutter looked back at me and said what will you leave behind? Estate sales can bring on such thoughts but inspecting the goods here I came away with the feeling this was a life well lived.
So what was here? The rambling ranch home in an upscale neighborhood between Toco Hills and Emory was well kept for a person who had accumulated so much. It also seemed timeless. The owner had been a graphic artist leaving behind some of the tools and material of his trade. Most of which was old school stuff that was of little value with the current digital methodology of creating graphics. Lots of rulers, cans of fixative and spray mount, pens, pencils erasers tracing papers and such. Some of the more curious items from the pre-computer era, such as reams of half used Letraset were not in evidence. The owner had also worked in photography and found here were left over examples of corporation production work sitting in piles and boxes. There were images of people working in 1970’s era offices, with wide collars and equally wide ties. Product shots of indeterminable mechanical devices and portraits of businessmen. The owner’s photographic career may have led to his collecting of even older photographic gear. In the dining room of the home two tables were covered with a multitude of old to very old photo devices. Some stuff old and outdated by today’s standards such as high-end Polaroid gear may have been used by the estate owner. But other stuff such as 100 plus year old magic lamp projectors, a cast iron 16mm movie projectors must have been antique items he collected over the years. The presence of these very old objects made it appear that this sale was unstuck in time. Did the seller live 20 years ago or 100 years ago? In addition to the larger devices lots of older small accessories were scattered about including old flash attachments, dark room bulbs, miscellaneous filters, light meters and instruction manuals. Other collected objects in the home bore more resemblance to many things I have seen at other estate sales, the bedroom filled with old dolls in various international costumes, a table filled with children’s trophies, boxes of old greeting cards, and closets still filled with women’s clothing.
The downstairs of the home was as usual more preserved and more interesting to me. Each room was labeled with printed signs indicating the nature of the room. This appeared to have been done by the resellers but the signs did not really add any order to the confused array of stuff found in the rooms. In one room were boxes of old tapes both home VHS tapes with typewritten labels indicating the family events contained on them. Near them were containers of larger 3/4 inch tapes and 16mm films with some type of corporate productions on them. Another room had a selection of Xmas décor both store bought and homemade. In the later category was a mounted reindeer head fashioned from a tube sock. Other stuff scattered around the basement included a novelty severed leg, some Halloween masks, cassette tapes of novelty songs and a school project on a tri-fold panel explaining the half life of M&Ms.
Books on several bookshelves around the home features such titles as “Twisted Tales from Shakespeare”, “Outline of History”, “Instant Furniture Refinishing”, “Christians in the Arena”, ”Limping Along” two bibles, several copies of the Image Bank catalog and “The Strange Career of Jim Crow”.
Two final notable objects were a MARTA supervisor’s badge and a selection of small rocks laid out in the kitchen selling for 25 cents apiece.

Tube sock reindeer.

Severed leg found in basement.

Rocks for sale in the kitchen.

My purchase of the day. They create the illusion of eating an egg while a chick is hatching from it. Bon Apitite.


Joanna said...

It’s wise to choose a reputable company to organize your estate auction. If you have more valuable assets that need to be sold, a well-organized auction is the way to go.

Banner said...

Growing up we had a lot of Christmas decorations. The family favorite, or rather, my mother's favorite, was a tube sock reindeer. Exactly like that tacky one you have posted a picture of. Through a series of unfortunate events that reindeer has been lost to us. I am looking and have been looking for a replacement for a long time. If you are willing to part with yours please email me at