Monday, February 22, 2016

A Ghost Story. Sort of.

Last week on Saturday I saw a Craigslist ad for an estate sale over in Monmouth (about 12 miles west of Salem). It promised lots of stuff and I noticed some vintage Christmas ornaments in the pictures, so off I went.

I figured there would be a zillion people there, but found parking right in front of the house. The family was busily pulling stuff out of the garage. A handful of people were lined up at the front door, so I joined them. A few minutes later a large young man came up and got in line in front of me. You ladies who are my age no doubt have had similar experiences of being invisible. He wasn’t joining someone already in line either. If the line had been longer I might have kicked him in the ankle and told him to get behind me. In a few minutes he got bored and left the line to see what was coming out of the garage.

Desultory conversation among the line standers ensued as the time for the sale to open passed and we were still standing there. Another lady got in line behind me, we chatted. Then Large Young Man came back and got in line in front of me again. This time he seemed to notice us and muttered something about being there earlier. I stared at him and he turned away. It's pretty rare around here to encounter this kind of rudeness.

“I wonder what he thinks we might have snatched away from him,” I said to the other lady as we finally entered.

Entering turned out not to be easy. Everything in the house was piled (literally) in the living room with a sort of circular path through it. We all did a sort of shuffle around anyone who stopped to inspect something. I admit I paused to look at the demonic squirrel lamp, but decided to leave him where he was.

After all, what kind of shade could possibly go with the squirrel?

At the far end of the room I found a couple of boxes of Shiny Brites. A buck a box put them in my price range.

Did you know Shiny Brites started in the late Thirties and were made by Corning Glass using the same technique as their clear light bulbs? Then they went to the SB factories to be hand painted. Which some of these definitely are.

The only other thing of interest was a Jadeite dish, minus its lid. But it says on the bottom you can bake in it, so we can consider it a very small bread pan - and it was but fifty cents.

I went back outside and noticed there was a lot of stuff piled up along the side of the house. I overheard one guy telling another that all the stuff out in the side yard was free. I found one of the family to double check this info and sure enough, free it was. So I went to take a look and quickly decided that they had the pricing about right. 

Junk piled by the fence, and junk in boxes. I did unearth a few vintage home magazines that look kind of fun (and smell a bit musty, so probably not a permanent addition to my home). 

Another guy was industriously digging through boxes and among other things had unearthed a Bakelite dial telephone, but without having gloves on I was not doing any serious digging.

I headed toward my car, but stopped when I saw two old hoop chairs with stuff piled on them. I've actually had my eye out for these since I started seeing pictures of them refurbished with colorful rope.

Alas, my pair have plastic frames instead of metal, but what the heck. They were free and will be perfect to practice on. And I bet I can paint the frames black and no one will know the difference. 

As I lugged my Shiny Brites, magazines and chairs to the car (got the chairs in the back seat by putting the top down, then was able to put it back up for the ride home; it's still too chilly to really be convertible weather) I saw the lady in charge and stopped to thank her for the free stuff and commiserate on how much work it is to do this kind of sale. She shook her head. “You would not have believed it. When we started, the living room was piled so full with stuff we couldn’t even get the door open.”

I looked at her with some concern. “Ummm, no one was living here, were they?” “Oh no, Grandma left years ago.” Whew, I thought. And since the old lady passed long ago condolences did not seem to be required. Then the woman said, “The real problem was, she kept bringing stuff and leaving it here.”

I'm afraid my eyes goggled. “She left stuff here after she was dead?” I blurted. She laughed. “No, no, she didn’t die, she just moved out. But you know, we did talk about advertising this as a haunted house sale. My sister said we could sell ten dollar tickets and let people take whatever they wanted.”

I said they would probably have made just as much money.

I wonder if the place had really been haunted if Grandma might have spirited away the rude young man. Or at least scared him to the back of the line!


  1. What a deal on those Shiny Brite ornaments. I like the Bakelite dish, too.
    That was very rude of that young man. I doubt I would have said anything to him though.
    That was a great idea the family had to offer free stuff. When we moved, we ended up paying to move stuff so we could close on our house that I then unpacked and donated to Goodwill. We just ran out of time.
    I am so ready for yard sale season to start.

  2. Oh my, those were super deals! Shiny Brites, Jadeite, those cool chairs? Yes please!!!

    1. Even better, I've just realized the chairs are metal, not plastic frames like I thought! Since the price was so good (you gotta love free!) I may spend a few bucks to get them powder coated some wild color.

  3. I just hope when I give them new seats I can do them justice!

  4. Entertaining story, as always! Please show off those chairs when you're finished refurbishing them - I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out.


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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