The second most frequently asked question I get about my adventure (the first being “Were you nuts?”) is “Did you find anything good?” The answer is yes. And no. Going through Mary’s house was a lot like traveling through a time capsule that had blown up. While the things we found weren’t particularly valuable, the experience was an education in what people ate, wore, read and thought beginning in the Victorian Age and ending in the early 1980’s.
Like most hoarders, Mary bought compulsively. My husband said that when he was little she would drag him to auctions on the week-end. (I think once he got too big to drag, it stopped) She liked to buy numbered lots that were put up for bid–usually boxes that held one nice thing mixed in with a bunch of crap. And since she never threw anything away we had to dig through a lot of that crap.
We also found thirty-eight full bottles of Manischewitz White Grape Creme Concord Wine. Tons of other varieties of liquors as well as empty bottles buried beneath clothes and towels, under the house, under the beds, in the barn and so on. Are you getting the picture? We gave away most of the bottles that hadn’t been opened, but the ones that had been opened posed a problem. I didn’t know what to do with them. At that point, I probably would have drunk them all, if I hadn’t been afraid of what it might do to me.
We learned the hard way that you don’t pour liquor on the ground in the summer. Particularly sweet wines. After a couple of days in the hot sun, the smell was enough to keep away the wildlife. I’m surprised birds weren’t falling out of the sky in a dead drunk.
Other things that we found : twenty-three irons ranging from old-fashioned flat irons to the electric variety, enough bottles of Tabu to make every old lady east of the Mississippi
stink smell. Make-up and toiletries that were decades old. Medicine that was decades old. Bottles of Lysol that were so old, they included directions on how to use it as a douche. Eeeeeeeeewwww! Seven refrigerators–that’s an even bigger eeeeeeeeeeeewwww when you consider that five of them were full and only two were working. And hats. Mary loved hats. There was one room upstairs that we called The Hat Room. We didn’t count the hats–I think by then we were tired of counting–but as you can see, there were a number of hat boxes and each contained three or four hats. And, of course, somewhere in all that rubble were the matching accessories.
Hats, purses, shoes, gloves and clothing from the nineteen-forties, fifties and sixties–and vast quantities of miscellaneous stuff. Underneath it all were two beds, a dresser, dressing table and a pot-bellied stove.
Next week I’ll blog about snakes in the barn and how Lynda learned to fly. Everyone have a great week!
Let me know what you think!