Monday, August 13, 2012
Dangling On the Book Hook
Time shot into hyper-drive this morning as we began counting down the days until we take possession of the new booth at the antiques mall. The contractor is still off at another job and has been for a week which is good in some ways, but not in others. It really doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things though. The important thing right now is filling up that space at the mall.
I found a great estate sale – far away, but maybe worth it – that opened last Friday and had excellent books judging by what was listed. But Friday morning I woke to heavy rain and a feeling of having been run over by a semi. I dragged myself out of bed, made some coffee, toasted a bagel and had breakfast – my pre-dawn cure for anything that ails me. But, alas and allack, no magic got conjured this time. When fibro slams me that hard even a cinnamon raisin bagel with crunchy peanut butter and a mug of Folger’s dark roast is second rate wizardry. We could have gone the next day of course, but there was little point in making such a long trip when we knew all the good stuff would either be gone or still too pricey, so we took a pass on it and hit the Akron sales instead. Not only were all three of them barking dogs (though I did get a like new 1956 Girl Scout calendar in its original envelope, an 8 volume set of Audel’s from the 30’s for the mall and two like new 60’s gift books of the treacly variety in their original boxes, also for the mall), but it was FREEZING outside. I’d worn sandals which means that for the rest of day I dragged around two blocks of ice attached to my ankles.
By the time we finished making the rounds we felt like a pair of spent balloons, so what did we do? We went to an auction of course! They hadn’t advertised books, but some of the furniture looked pretty good, so off we went in search of a couple stand-out pieces to help pay the freight at the mall . Within minutes I spotted a box with books that should have been easy picking, but turned out to be the box from the Twilight Zone. In this unadvertised flat lay several celluloid prayer books, one perfect in its original box, two rosaries, one especially pretty, and a ton of religious cards. There was also something I’d never seen before – two patches bearing the image of Pope Pius XII in a deep rose color. Immediately I equated them with scouting badges.
As the recipient of a thing called the Marian Award which provided me with the most hellish summer of my short reluctant Girl Scouting career I know that Catholic scouting programs have their own awards in addition to the official ones. But I didn’t care if that’s what those patches were or not -- I just wanted the prayer books. Usually I get these every time they come to auction, but this time one lone guy challenged me to a spirited bidding war. I never engage in these – NEVER – but I guess maybe it was the shock of competition that impelled me to take my final bid to a mind-boggling $90! Fortunately, I snapped to my senses just in time and let him haul the whole lot home for $95. I tried researching the patches this morning, but nothing turned up. All I can say is they better be humdingers or his buyer’s remorse is so far off the charts it’s probably already caught up with the Curiosity rover that just landed on Mars.
Fortunately, I got furniture instead and even learned how to date a Lane cedar chest in the process. Not bad for a booky type like me, huh? Anyway, I got a Lane chest which is from 1948, all sleek, blond and shiny in a modern way that I used to hate, but now find strangely attractive. The chest part is on the top and there’s a drawer underneath, so it’s sort of a high-rise among cedar chests. It still smells like cedar, retains all its original labels and even has the original key. I’m beginning to think it’s a less common one, as I perused hundreds online, and didn’t even find it when I googled its model number. It had some condition issues, but nothing a nice coat of orange oil couldn’t handle, so at the moment it’s all spiffed up fancy as a chorus girl. To add to the fun, I also bought three teak Danish modern occasional tables, again something I didn’t used to like. I’d show you pictures, but it’s all jammed into the garage with the building supplies, so you’ll have to wait til we get it all in the booth.
But great though the furniture is I’m still right where I was before the auction -- dangling precariously on the end of the book hook. Somehow between now and September 1st seven bookcases need to be filled and for the immediate future there's no ready solution on the horizon. But here’s what I’m thinking. I can bring a bunch of sets, a ton of paper, those elegant slide rules we bought, and what individual books I do have, and at least look reasonably viable. The problem is that if/when I sell stuff I won’t have anything much to fall back on without digging too deeply into my online inventory. Christmas is fast approaching too. And Eric and will be gone most of September. And all the calls we’ve gotten lately were for books so decrepit even a seller with no standards would run screaming into the night
It’s not good. But you know what? For once in my life I’m not going to worry about it. Somehow it will all work out.