Sunday, March 7, 2021

She Shoots! She Scores!

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure the dreaded 2020 is not over yet – 2021 seems to be channeling the spirit of its predecessor quite nicely, thank you. I actually wrote this post over three weeks ago, but I dawdled a bit on posting it…which was a mistake.

The first glitch was that we had an ice storm. From what long-time residents tell me, this was an ice storm like no one had seen here before. If there are Hundred Year Floods, then this was the Hundred Year Ice Storm. First it rained, then the rain got colder and colder, and turned to liquid ice, and coated everything. Everything. Salem is known for our beautiful trees, and every tree had an inch or more of glittering ice on it. Which weighed them all down, trees were bent to the ground. And then – they started to break.

Huge limbs started falling in the night. Whole trees split down the middle. Birches and oaks were especially hard hit, and a lot of huge oaks were completely uprooted. Power lines, tangled in the huge street trees, started coming down. And transformers began to explode. I heard four or five in the area around my house go before there was one more large bang – and the lights went out.

My electricity was out for five days. My gas furnace needs electricity to ignite, so no heat. I was able to manually light burners on the stove to cook, which is a very weird experience in the pitch dark. Thank heavens for my headlamp I bought for early morning trips to the dog park. It got colder and colder. After the second night, I begged a bed from my ex (his apartment had only a brief power outage) and the dogs and I slept over there. When they crews finally came and reconnected my block, I went out and clapped and cheered for the guys. I hope I never take heat and light and convenience for granted again.

However, the fun was not yet over. The city looked like a war zone – in fact, the WWII memorial downtown looked like a battle had just taken place there. Cleanup crews were out immediately, and it's only the last few days that the sound of chain saws and wood chippers has not been constant. Part of the collateral damage was that the Internet was knocked out. And even when it showed they had fixed the storm outage in my area, I still had no WiFi. I'm not particularly proud of the fact I was more fretful over not having any Internet for three weeks than I was about not having power. It's a little scary, how much of our daily lives depends on the Web. It didn’t help when they failed to show up for the repair appointment I had a week ago, and I had to wait five more days for another appointment. In fact I was in a right old snit about it. I send out huge thanks to my friends who listened to me whine during that week!

We are more or less back to normal, and Spring is getting closer; in fact, there are daffodils blooming in my yard. Perhaps it was 2020’s last hurrah. Let’s hope so!

With that explanation for the delay, let me take you now to the post I wrote in those more-innocent days of three weeks ago…


Driving home from the dog park Thursday morning I noticed a big Estate Sale sign leading into my neighborhood. Even though it was early, barely eight o’clock (we hit the dog park at first light), naturally I followed the sign, which led me to a street 3 blocks from mine. I went on home with Zoë and after feeding the gang, checked Craigslist for more info on the sale. Sure enough it was there, along with a listing for another sale back in my old neighborhood, and that one had a Picture of Interest.

Back in October when I had knee surgery and Marcia was staying with me, I put my queen size bed in the guest room and moved the twin bed for me to use. Much easier to get in and out of than the larger and higher one. I liked having the bigger bed in the guest room, so I decided to part ways with the pair of twin beds in there and get a double or queen instead. That room has a rather large closet – in fact it is just about the size of a twin bed, and so I put a bed in there. 

It was quite cozy and I enjoyed sleeping in there from time to time, but as I've gotten older and creakier it got harder to do things like change the sheets. So I moved the bed out of the closet and have now turned it into my cozy reading nook.

So…I have been looking for a different bed since fall. Saved a search on Craigslist so I see all the new listings, and let me tell you, there are a lot of ugly beds out there! I looked at that estate sale listing and saw a possible candidate, so I headed out, all masked up and keeping my social distance.

When I got to the sale, I chatted with one of the workers while I looked at a few things on the driveway, and I noticed a footboard and side rails for a bed. Asked her if they went with the headboard I'd seen in the picture and she said she didn’t know for sure, her boss at the estate sale company handled the furniture. “He’s the one who knows about that, things like what kind of feet are worth more,” she said. My heart sank a little, sounded like he might actually be an expert, and when I went inside I saw that some things were pretty pricey. Couldn’t locate the headboard in any of the bedrooms, but then I realized they had moved all the furniture into the living/dining room. And there it was behind a couple of ottomans, a double headboard just the size I've been wanting.

When I got close, my heart started to go pitty pat. I could see immediately this was a midcentury piece, either teak or walnut, possibly Danish. I've never seen anything like it (and I've looked at a lot of midcentury furniture since I bought my MCM house). 

Though made of wood, it appears to be woven – the top rail is carved, I'm sure by hand, to look like thick straps going over.

This thing is absolutely exquisite, and I knew I wanted it – if I could afford it. I tipped it toward me so I could see the price written on a piece of masking tape, fingers crossed.

Are you ready?

Five dollars. Five dollars. Holy yard sale gods. I about fainted…but didn’t want to take the time to pick myself up from the floor. I started wrestling that puppy out from behind those ottomans. About then the lady I'd talked to on the driveway came in and asked me if I wanted her to take it out for me. I managed to keep myself from jumping up and down with joy as I let her take it, saying I wanted the footboard and rails too.

I did a quick turn through the rest of the house, and emerged with a little splurge – a $4 Noritake hen with lovely details

plus a $2 original watercolor that’s been nicely framed. 

Let’s just say I was distinctly unimpressed with the knowledge of the ‘furniture expert’ who priced the bed, but perfectly happy to make such a score.

As it happens, I was even less impressed with the man when I stopped by the other sale on my way home. Turns out both were being handled by the same estate sale company, and I'm sure the "furniture expert" was the guy who seemed to be in charge at the second one. The guy in the garage greeting people – and not wearing a mask. In fact he appeared to be boasting about it to the person who went in just before me. Unlike the first sale, this place was way crowded, and I left almost immediately. If I had felt any twinge of remorse over my bargain with the bed (okay, I really didn’t!) it would have vanished after seeing him.

So my guest room is on its way to a new look. I still need to find a mattress and bedding, but that’s an adventure for another day. I've searched and searched online to try to get a line on the maker of the bed, but have found nothing comparable. So it may be quite rare. I found a stamp on the back that seems to be a date, “Aug 18” but the year is blurred, I think it's something like 1965. And ‘waln’ hand written, so it's probably walnut. But even though I haven’t found a match for it, perusing eBay and other sale sites convinces me I found an amazing deal, one of my best ever. Hop over to eBay and do a search for ‘midcentury headboard’. Let’s just say that none of them are priced at five dollars!


  1. Wonderful post -- from the AWFUL to the SUBLIME!
    I love your writing.
    Meredith from Northern California

    1. Reading YOU often makes MY day -- and has for YEARS!
      Meredith from Northern CA

  2. Good for you on the bed. I am sorry about the ice storm. OUr daughter lived through one of those 8 months pregnant.

    1. Oh, your poor daughter! Going through anything untoward must be especially rough at that time. Though possibly worse if she'd had a new baby to keep warm!

  3. reddit has some midcentury modern groups that might help in identifying that fabulous headboard

  4. Great scores all around. Stay warm.

    1. Warm is something I now have a great appreciation for!

  5. Man alive is that headboard a score! I love it. Congrats!

    1. I get a thrill down my spine every time I look at it. Still shaking my head over the price!

    2. I meant to add yesterday that I have a friend that turned her closet into an office... like I would ever have enough closet space for anything other than a closet in my 1910 house.

  6. Oh Queen, you have definitely got the eye, plus my admiration for such a find! Love the reading nook, as well! Glad you’ve survived the ice storm and can now look forward to the garaging season!

  7. I loved this story and have missed your more frequent pre-Covid posts. I've been going through a purging stage of my own garage sale/thrift store finds lately so I vicariously enjoy reading your stories and the "will she find something?" suspense. It's always such a treat to see something new from you pop up in my email list - such a great start to my morning!

  8. Lovely headboard and can't beat the price!


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

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