Dad and I have been working all summer to get ready for the sale, sorting all the uncountable bits and pieces of stuff at the lake house into small box lots to be sold, filling up a dumpster with unsaleable trash, and weeding through our own items in our storage space and basement. Mary Link came for the weekend with help, companionship and moral support. And finally, the day arrived. I was afraid nobody would find the sale in the remoteness of the Plymouth woods, but I shouldn't have worried. The auctioneers know their advertising business, and a full hour before the bidding started, cars lined both sides of the road in both directions as far as the eye could see, and well beyond.
The bidding started with our small items, staged in the garage. That colorful canopy on the deck was a bustling hot-dogs-and-coffee stand, run by a Grange from somewhere or other.
Below, Laura's armoire is barely visible on the left-hand side. It went for $95, which was better than a lot of the theoretically-more-valuable antique estate furniture And not a bad outcome, considering that it saw many years of valuable use and needed quite a few repairs.
When the garage was empty, we moved down through the yard, first to get rid of those awful red things (under $100 each) and then to the lawn by the lake for the estate items.
A tent was set up on the lawn between the house and the lake for the estate items, cleverly fit under the sagging utility wires (no longer sagging, by the way, but that will be another post.) It was a perfectly beautiful Saturday to spend in a shady spot by a lake, and though the crowd dwindled little by little as the day went on, a surprising number of people stayed all day.
The big sellers were our equipment -- the tractor, trailer, and ATV and a few other large items. But many of the "smalls," as the auctioneer called the non-furniture items, sold well too. The estate "smalls" filled most of the basement -- saddles and other horse items, IBM memorabilia, kitchenware, miscellanea, and books, books, books, books, books. To my amazement, the old books sold fairly well. We had some outside bids from a bookseller in Boston who specializes in old horse books and equine art books (right up Grandma Frey's alley) and at least two eager collectors showed up in person. Every single book sold, and so did everything else. The furniture went for sadly small prices -- but everyone has been warning us that antique furniture has been hard to sell since 2008, and some of the small items sold for surprisingly large prices, so in the end I suppose it evened out.
The house is almost empty now. We kept most of the beds, a couple of dressers and other bits of furniture, some carefully chosen books, paintings, silver and small sentimental items. I meant to sell the corner cupboard, but in the end, couldn't bear to let it go for what was going to be a pittance. Much to the chagrin of Dad, who has had to struggle with moving it again and again -- but honestly, to my relief and happiness -- I bid for it and bought it back. Here it is in the dining room of my Ober grandparents' house on Reservoir Road in Painted Post, circa 1969 or so. (I never noticed before the coincidence of those addresses -- Reservoir Road for the retirement home that my grandparents built, and Reservoir Hill Road where Grandma Frey retreated after Stanfordville. Wonder if she ever thought about that?)
And here it is again a generation earlier in October 1951, under a coat of paint, as a backdrop for Grandma and Grandpa Frey's wedding cake in the house on West Water Street in Painted Post where Grandma Frey grew up:
It was a deeply emotional day, watching all those deeply familiar and (in some cases, at least) deeply loved things disappear into the ownership of others. Dad was gone for part of the day for a concert in Sherburne with Jenni, and I was so very grateful to the ever-understanding and hard-working Mary Link for being there and sharing it all. All three of us were pretty well pole-axed when it was over. But now that it IS over, what a relief! The house is peaceful and spacious without the worry and responsibility of all those things, and ready for the work we'll do to make it ours. We're turning now from the past to the future, preparing for the big trip out West next week to see our children and our families and celebrate Liz's wedding. Time moves on, and that's not always bad.