Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sold to the Woman in the Turban and Scarf

My house is tastefully furnished with a mixture of furniture both new and antique.

Okay, I have a couple of antiques, more reproductions, and some really cute old furniture I bought during my post-chemo “I need to try new things right now because there's so much I haven't done yet!” phase, when I went to my first auction and went a little power crazy with the numbered paddle. The excited new owner of old furniture and no way to get it home, I called my neighbor Sherry.

Evidently I called the right person. In a hushed voice she said, “It’s better if you get those kinds of purchases into the house before your husband is aware you bought them. I’ll come with the truck.”

Sherry and I loaded the bedframe and dresser onto her truck, and then unloaded them into the garage under the watchful eyes of my husband. I pointed out the wide wooden side rails to the bed, the small drawers on top of the dresser, the lower drawers full of dainty, dirty gloves, and a book on “hygiene” for young girls. I didn’t point out the water damage. The stink of ancient mothballs inside the drawers pointed itself out.

My husband’s reaction—or lack of one—surprised me. I’d never in our marriage purchased a piece of furniture he hadn’t chosen with me, nor had either of us ever attended an antique auction, so I figured I was in for an argument. But he’d just seen me through a life-threatening illness and was witness to other post-chemo crazies—I guess I caught him at a vulnerable point. All he said was, “I can’t imagine what you were thinking.”

A daughter walked into the garage and gasped. “Oh, Mom, that furniture is beautiful! Please please please can I take it to college with me?” I was so delighted with her reaction I agreed to let her take my precious finds to the same city where her sister couldn’t hang onto a winter coat for longer than it took to meet another cold, homeless person. (She did bring it back.)

John was never a fan of antiques, or “old crap” as he referred to it, until I came into a little money and immediately dashed off to look for a china cabinet. The perfect piece was waiting just for me in a Victorian house/antique shop I could have happily lived in forever, if it only had central air. And windows that opened. And better plumbing. And more electrical outlets. And a better kitchen...okay, never mind. John agreed the china cabinet was a beauty. He liked it so much that, ever since, he has been looking for matching pieces. The fact that we haven’t a dining room big enough for another cabinet doesn’t slow him down. “That would go perfectly with your china cabinet,” he’ll say, rubbing the finish.

We still go to antique shops although we have no room for anything unless we throw something else out. John often says if we had the money he'd replace my “old crap” with a guest bedroom full of golden oak bedframes and dressers.

I wonder if my daughter wants that old crap back.


  1. We, too,have an eclectic mix of old and new. My grandmother (and her mother) gave or willed it to me, with the expressed understanding I'd never sell it. We need some more new stuff, but what will I do with the old?

  2. Bob, did she say "never sell" or "never get rid of"? I smell a loophole!

  3. I have a lot of my grandmother's furniture. Some of it I wanted, some I needed at the time. Over the years, I've passed pieces along to others. There are some pieces I can't part with and others I can't seem to unload. Most have only sentimental value. BTW, I have a 100 year old Mathuzek upright piano that is in great shape and stays in tune without much effort. I just don't get a chance to play it too often, so if anyone is interested?? A tuner told me this brand was THE piano make to buy before the Steinway became big in the market. It's available for $150 and you have to arrange transport.

    OOPS! Did I just turn your blog into an antiques store? Er, sorry?

    BUT, if anyone is interested...*grins*

    1. Hey, if it works I have a few things I've been trying to sell on Craigslist. I'll just list them here!