Sunday, January 07, 2007

Christmas Redux Part II

"The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." (Teilhard de Chardin)

For several reasons (day off Friday, finally having a car), I was able to go to two estate sales this weekend. Yes, in January! I love estate sales, not only for the deals, but because I find the process of going through a person's entire life's worth of stuff is holy in some sort of way. Although these sales were very different, I think it's interesting that I found Christmas stuff at both of them. The vintage Christmas swap really opened my eyes to cool vintage Christmas stuff.

The first sale, on Friday, was in Albany Park, a neighborhood near me. When I arrived, there were already about 30 people taking numbers. I've never had to compete with dealers like this. While waiting in line, one woman exited with nothing and said, "It's all man stuff!" I was afraid this meant no linens or other goodies for me. It had been advertised as having lots of music/electronic equipment and books. If I'd had more time I would have gone through all the books, but one (The Better Homes and Gardens New Garden Book, from the 1950s) caught my eye, so I grabbed it. Then I saw a little jam jar (I think that's what these are) shaped like an orange. Earlier this summer, I got a strawberry and grape one, so now I have a set of three.

Then in the living room I saw this cool Christmas hanging, which immediately reminded me of my Secret Santa mobile. I grabbed it, even though the price tag said $5. In the basement I found more Christmas stuff, including three mini bottle brush wreaths and some tattted snowflake ornaments. I also got an old Scrabble game and two bags of fiberfill. All for $10.

I think this was the home of a single man (gay? There were a few books that indicated maybe) with some interesting hobbies. Obviously he loved music: there were two pianos in the dining room and the living room was filled with old LPs and music equipment. Upstairs one bedroom was completely filled by a race track for those little cars. But what I want to know is who used the fiberfill? And made the Christmas hanging? The mysteries of estates sales...

On Saturday, I drove to Cicero, an old Italian-turning-Hispanic working-class suburb just south and west of Chicago to a neighborhood of well-maintained bungalows and two-flats in the shadow of factories. It had been advertised as the home of a Lithuanian couple and I think it was their son who was running it. The upstairs was nearly empty, but sad: In one tiny bedroom there were "get well soon" cards obviously colored by grandchildren still on the wall.

The treasures were in the basement, and I found a bunch of cool fabric, mostly old drapes. The woman must have done some sewing as I found needles and some trims, including what looked like a hand crocheted one. There was a box of yarn, but it was all acrylic so I passed. Also a newish looking chenille bedspread, which was the find of the day. Finally, a bunch of little stuff, some crochet hooks, a little Corningware baking dish, and a bunch of gold Shiny Brite ornaments in the box .


Sue said...

I think you found some very lovely things – good for you! I agree with you about it somehow being a holy experience to see things acquired by someone who has gone before us. What sort of things brought them joy ~ sort of trying to see life through their eyes, if just for a moment.

I also love the Teilhard de Chardin quote! He was misunderstood by many, I think …

Anonymous said...

That wall hanging is awesome! What a fabulous find. I love old felt & sequined Christmas crafts. I'm hoping to find a tree skirt like that to use for next year. I've got 11 months to shop!

I find estate sales just fascinating, besides fun places to shop. Truly the evidence that we can't take it with us!

mo said...

Oh that is sort of sad- the get well cards. I have been looking for a good sale for awhile- the holidays really put a cramp in the sales out there! Good finds for you- how fun to find three different jam jars to make the set.

Sarah and Jack said...

I love estate sales, but they are not very practical for me at the moment. (Waiting in line in the cold and then in a very crowded house with a 2 year old? No thanks!) It does always seem a bit strange though, doesn't it?