08. July 2022 · 2 comments · Categories: Domestic

The first thing we saw when heading out to walk the dogs and Wee Jamie this morning – well, after the big trash-hauling trucks from City Public Services all staged to pick up the bulk tree trimmings – was an orange sign for an estate sale up the road, address unspecified. We took a zig from the regular route into the extension to the neighborhood and found the estate sale. My daughter took Wee Jamie with his stroller, and I held the dogs on their leashes, across the street in the shade and waited for fifteen minutes while she cased the sale. One of the items for sale – for which they were taking bids was a 1960 Studebaker Lark, in very good condition. (The auction for that car will close tomorrow, I think, and with luck they will get north of $15,000 for it.)

One of the neighbors whom we encounter frequently on walks lives across the street from the estate sale and filled us in on the retired couple whose estate it was; a retired military chaplain with an invalid wife. The husband was the main caretaker for his wife, until he had several heart attacks last year, as well as breaking a hip. The wife contracted Covid through visiting her husband in the hospital and passed away – so the family found a smaller place (most likely assisted-living from what I gathered) for the chaplain and moved out his most valuable stuff last week. The house, Studebaker and the remaining furniture and bits and bobs were all being sold. I overheard several of their neighbors and friends talking about this; they seem both to have been very well-liked. The house and yard were immaculate. The items on sale were in excellent taste and condition, and priced very reasonably, which doesn’t always happen. (The items and furniture that the family kept must have been quality indeed, if what was left to be sold was judged superfluous to needs.)

My daughter spotted some attractive bits of Wedgewood and some Danish Christmas plates, a small cut-crystal brooch, some bits of art and Christmas ornaments – very obviously, the chaplain and wife had been stationed in Germany; Japan too. As for me, with the rest of my month carefully budgeted out – I was determined to resist temptation, which lasted until I laid eyes on a matched pair of Blanc du Chine lamps, with an insanely reasonable price on a piece of masking tape stuck on the shades. I have loved the look of the classic mid-century Blanc du Chine ever since I was stationed at Misawa in the late 1970s, and they had dozens of them in various sizes and shapes, for sale in the BX annex. Alas, as a baby airman on basic pay, I could only afford the smallest, and least expensive of the lot – a mere 8-inch-tall boudoir lamp which has followed faithfully in my household goods ever since. A couple of years ago, I found a larger Blanc di Chine lamp at another neighborhood estate sale, without a harp and shade, the wiring so decayed that I had to take it all apart, hand-wash and install a new socket and rewire it entirely. (The former owners had been hoarders, and the inside of the house was indescribably cluttered. The people running that sale said they had filled three dumpsters before they got to the sellable goods.)

So, home with a matched pair of lovely ginger-jar Blanc du Chine lamps and some miscellaneous other stuff – and because it is now our rule after the experience of that estate sale at the hoarder’s house – if stuff comes into the house, an equal quantity of stuff must go out, to Goodwill, if nowhere else. My daughter loaded up the back of the Montero with the two table lamps which are now judged excess, and a box of other stuff. All the Blanc du Chine lamps live in the master suite – I would be heartbroken indeed, if the cats or the dog managed to break any of them, since it appears they are even more expensive now, then when I first drooled over them in the BX annex at Misawa AB.


  1. I know – and at a good price, too,