The story behind the junk

6 Jan

When I’m on the junking trail, I have a habit of asking for the back story on what I’m purchasing.  That’s how I found out that even though they came from Michigan, all the hockey skates I purchased at the fall show in Warrenton WERE NOT owned by Red Wings.  There are shoppers and dealers who roll their eyes when they see a novel written on a price tag, but I like knowing the full story.  I also like to pass on these stories to my customers. Sometimes I even share the entire story about where and how that item came to be in my shop space.

I was thinking about these things as I worked on a couple of pieces for the shop.  I know nothing about their history, but I like the stories behind their acquisition.

I bought this green garden chair a few weeks ago at an estate sale in my ‘hood:

The sale was right around the corner from my house. And while I had never been inside the house, I had helped the elderly woman who lived there with her mail a time or two. I was excited to be going to a sale in my ‘hood. I’m never the first in line at any sale.  And this specific estate sale company prices to sell the first day. So if you aren’t one of the first people inside, you miss out on almost everything.  My husband dropped by the house on his way to work and put my name on the list. I was number 19. As soon as I’d dropped off my son at school, I walked over to the house to get my number. What I got instead was a lecture.  “Some little bird told me that some of you are putting your names on this list and leaving,” said the woman running the sale. “If that’s the case, you can’t have your number. This will be the honor system. And if you weren’t here, and you take a number, someone will tell me.” Crap. What’s a girl to do? I didn’t know her stinkin’ rule because I’m never at her sales early. Plus…why have a list out early if you’re gonna make everyone stay for hours, waiting for the sale to start? When my number was called, I went up to her, took my number and told her that I hadn’t been there. That I lived right around the corner, and that I had kids that had to be taken to school. I told her this was my only chance to be at one of her sales early. She wasn’t happy, but she didn’t grab my number out of my hand.

I found quite a few good things at that sale and had to return the next day to pick up the furniture I had purchase. While there, I spotted the green iron garden chair. It was tethered by some sort of root system. {I couldn’t tell if it was a theft deterrent or if the plant was just out of control.} A really nice man helped me free the chair. There was no back on the chair, but I still thought the price was good for half a chair. I could picture it on someone’s porch or in a garden with a potted plant in its lap.  But then I spotted the back of the chair, buried in the overgrown garden.  Sure. I can put it back together!  Well… I ended up wiring on the back. I still think it’s cute. And at the bargain price of $26, its new owner can have it welded if they choose.

My second project of the day involved a framed mirror. The mirror was broken, so the owner had covered it with a doily to mask the cracks.  I intended to take the mirror out of the frame, paint the frame and sell it.

Taking it apart was a bit more difficult than I imagined. I had to break the mirror to get it out.  But breaking a pre-broken mirror shouldn’t carry any bad luck, right?

And finally…while I was dropping off the garden chair at the shop, I got a tip about a potential curbside grab. I was short on time. If I tried to find the house, I’d be late picking up my son from school. So instead, I drove across town to get him, bribed him with a milkshake (large), then drove back across town to cruise the ‘hood, looking for “cute” chairs. I found the pile. I was unimpressed with the chairs, but I did grab this:

I had left my door open the whole time and was using my 13-year-old son as a junk sounding board. “What do you think?”  “I think this is weird,” he said. “Are you embarrassed?” “Kind of. I just think it’s weird that you’re taking someone’s trash.” But mostly I think he was concerned, as was I, with the next-door neighbor who, while disassembling a bike, was making really huge gestures to some invisible friend. We didn’t linger.

The end. All in a day’s {and DAY’s} work!  Want to join me next time? I’d prefer a buddy who likes to make a curbside grab when it presents itself! And it’s always fun to have a friend with whom you share your junking adventures. Maybe that’s why I’m telling you about my day here. To loosely quote Say Anything: “It always feels so good to tell you things. If I didn’t, it would almost be like it never happened.”


2 Responses to “The story behind the junk”

  1. Theresa-Garden Antqs Vintage January 6, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    Those estate sale people can be funny sometimes and not in a happy way. Loved the stories.

  2. sue January 7, 2011 at 2:30 am #

    As to the ‘hood estate sales, I’ll confess that I hopped the fence the night before one and slapped a “sold” sign on some awesome patio furniture I’d been eyeballing for YEARS. I’ve also been known, while walking my dog, to hide curbside finds in the bushes until I can come back with my car. He never opines that it’s “weird.” But it is. You do what you’ve got to do….

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