Judy and I have definitely had our Lucy-and-Ethel escapades in the past. (She’s Lucy. I'm Ethel.) One of our most notable involved heaving a freezer into the front seat of my convertible (that sucker was heavy) and driving 25 miles home with me not able to see out of the right side of the car. (Still using the freezer though.)
So our antics on Friday did not come as a total surprise.
Our second estate sale of the morning was advertised as a hoarder sale and OMG, was it ever. Wannabe-hoarders were out in droves hoping to add to their collections. I've been to lots of sales with lots of stuff, but I would define your true hoarder sale as also being…well, dirty. I was a little skeptical about going at all because it was 15 miles away and the pictures looked pretty…okay, dirty. But there was a big old iron kettle in one of the pics and KK asked us to check it out since she couldn’t go with us that day, and we are true friends.
I'm not claustrophobic, but as soon as I walked into the house I wanted to leave again. It didn’t take us long to decide to go straight out to the back yard to see if we could spot the kettle. But there was no going straight. We threaded our way past piles of stuff and through knots of people, being buffeted this way and that by other shoppers. Rude shoppers, the kind who literally shove you aside to get to some object that’s caught their eye. Emerging into the yard wasn’t much better; it was piled with junk and crowded with people. The former residents had covered up the mud beyond the patio with a large piece of carpet which itself was now totally muddy and gross.
And not a kettle in sight. But then Lucy – I mean Judy – noticed a vintage wrought iron trellis by the outbuilding that she thought was cool. We made our way over to it. At first I feared it was actually attached to the building but then realized it was a free-standing piece with legs stuck into the ground. It took a bit of effort to find out a price. Which turned out to be ten bucks, and Judy wanted it.
So Lucy and Ethel proceeded to uproot the trellis. No small task, as the bare branches of a several-year-old clematis were threaded through it on one side and a pile of rusty junk pressed against it from the other side.
Other people walk into stores and just buy stuff. We go out and earn our bargains.
You should also know that the Ethel character was wearing some of her fabulous cashmere that she bought last week. But we pushed and pulled and kicked away rubbish and tore vines with our bare hands and about ten minutes later the Lucy character possessed a vintage trellis.
The trellis was a bit longer than the back of Judy’s car and the top leaned on the passenger headrest. Absolutely no problem, I assured her, then banged the back of my head on it getting in. It only hurt a little bit. Really. We headed back to town. I realized that being in that house for only a few minutes had left me feeling absolutely crawly. Yug. I could hardly wait to get home and take a shower.
But first we had to go back to the first sale to get something we had intended to buy earlier and gone off without. (I hope you can make some kind of sense of that sentence.) And this sale was – are you ready? - the second weekend of last week’s cashmere and silk extravaganza. There was so much left they decided to go another weekend. When Judy and I arrived at the appointed time Friday morning we were greeted warmly (they probably recognized the cashmere I had bought a week earlier) and told that everything was half price.
Half price! So now the clothes were fifty cents, socks two pairs for a quarter, coats $2.50. I hustled into the clothing room, hardly daring to hope anything good could be left.
Would you believe I spent another $40? I got 12 more sweaters, 14 pairs of pants (including more Pendleton wool slacks, a pair of white Citron silk slacks, some casual pull-on pants), 13 more scarves and shawls, 4 shirts, and 15 pairs of socks, including several that are cashmere. My SIL will have 2 pairs of shoes. I found multi-garment hangers for a quarter each that retail for ten bucks, and soap for hand laundry from Nordstrom. I brought home a rain jacket made in Denmark of a brand that apparently is not sold in this country. She must have bought it on a trip to the UK or something.
As I was combing through the racks, Judy turned to me with a black and turquoise jacket in her hands. I practically screamed at her, “Oh my god!” Because I had seen that pleated collar before, when my SIL tried on this very expensive jacket in a spendy store in Cannon Beach. I didn’t try one on that day because I knew I'd never be spending almost $300 on a lightweight rain jacket. But $2.50? Heck yes.
And when I got it home, I found coordinating gloves in the pockets.
I may never need to buy clothes again, at least not for years, beyond the odd pair of panties. I filled a gigantic plastic bag that the kind seller carried out to the car for me. Judy had her pile too, and of course we added the trellis to the mix. We were just leaving the first sale the second time with the hangers I'd forgotten to buy earlier when KK called to check on the kettle. No kettle, sorry, we said, but look at all this stuff we found at the other sale!
Judy took a picture and texted it to KK, and we got in the car (and Ethel banged her head on the trellis again), waited for the traffic to thin, and pulled out onto the busy street.
Which was when Lucy/Judy realized that neither of us had closed up the back of the car after taking the picture! We were able to pull over soon and got luckier than we deserved, for nothing had tumbled out onto the road. What a mess that would have been, a dozen sweaters and umpty pairs of socks and scarves and pants all over a busy street.
Whew! I think we need KK with us to ride herd.
We learned a bit more about the lady whose things we now own, whose name was Kathryn. One of the last pieces I selected was a piece of her art, evidently a fund-raiser item for Deepwood House, a local landmark with a famous garden.
We’ve decided that every year around this time we will raise a glass in her honor, sending her thanks for these wonderful things that were hers and are now ours, and by extension to all the folks who brave the retail world so that we don’t have to.
And can you believe it…KK found the perfect bottle of wine for our toast!