2006.09.13 Emptying the Buick’s trunk easier said than done

Written by David Green.


I’ve been back from my trip to Missouri over three weeks now and I’m still working on emptying estate sale leftovers from my trunk. It’s not like there was that much stuff in it, I’m just bringing in the items I picked up in St. Louis as I find the space for them.

In fact, I actually left some things in Missouri, or, in reality, returned them to their rightful owner. My sister told me I should bring along a card table and folding chair if I had them as my Aunt Sue didn’t have that many and as everyone knows, you can’t have too many tables if you’re having a sale. It’s the history of the table I brought that’s somewhat interesting.

Back in 1987, my sister and brother-in-law, Gary, were living in Adrian when the Army sent him to Germany. The Army had professional movers come in to load up everything for shipment, but somehow missed the table and three folding chairs in a closet. Since they were leaving the next morning for Europe and didn’t really have any other options, they offered me the table and chairs.

For 19 years, I had use of the table and chairs in various rental quarters in Adrian, Blissfield and Fayette, while the rightful owners traveled through Europe and, upon their return to the U. S., stayed in various homes in Texas, Maryland and finally, after Gary got out of the Army, Kansas.

The table and chairs served me well over the years, but I really didn’t have much further need of the table and surviving chair, so I left them behind at the conclusion of the sale and my sister happily reunited with her table after 19 years.

Besides, I needed as much room as possible in the Buick as I had my eye on a few of the estate sale items I was planning to cram into the car and take back with me.

Aunt Sue had three Queen Anne style chairs, one of which I always sat in when I visited and hoped to bring home, but it sold on the first day. I then figured that I would snag a pair of her vintage kitchen chairs, but someone bought all four just as the sale was wrapping up. I had earlier considered a rather large 1940s console radio, but decided it wouldn’t fit in the car, so the Buick’s rear seat was never tested as to its capacity.

Instead, I grabbed a bunch of interesting smaller items, along with some wall-mounted shelving to contain them. I got a bunch of old kitchen gadgets, many of them the same as I remember my mother owning when I was a child. I picked up some pots and pans to add to my own meager supply and even got some 1970s style Tupperware that was stored in the basement, apparently never used.

I brought back an autographed autobiography by a singer named Jessica Dragonette, who was apparently a sort of 1930s version of Mariah Carey.

I also picked up a songbook because of its Art Deco-ish cover. It was printed in 1933 and contained a song called “Forty Nine Bottles,” an early version of what we now know as “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” I laughed at the instructions to repeat “until unconscious.” Apparently annoying school bus drivers was popular even then.

It was hard to resist a set of Christmas cards covering the years 1988 through 2000, received from former attorney general John Ashcroft. Aunt Sue must have been a contributor to have been on his list for so long. The “annual report” contained in each card is actually pretty entertaining, so I may provide details later. There was also a Christmas card from Jimmy Carter, this one dated 2003, so it looks like Aunt Sue spread her money around to both sides.

And then there’s the dishes. Aunt Sue had already given me a very cool set of vintage, unused Pyrex dishes last November, so the last thing I needed was another set of china, but my sister insisted I take them. They have taken up a good portion of my trunk ever since as I’ve tried to find them a new home rather than dragging them into my apartment.

A friend who just moved out on her own took the dinner plates and bowls, but I still have eight cups and saucers, salad plates, serving pieces, etc. Anyone who’s interested, give me a call, but don’t wait too long. I want the rest of my trunk back and there’s no way I’m storing them for 19 years.

– Sept. 13, 2006 

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