Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Catalog of the past

I have invited in a very high end auction gallery (think "Antiques Road Show" folks) to look at the best of Mom's antiques, which have been in storage for a few years. The initial appraiser will come out on June 9th to look at the 60-80 so items I have set by for her to review. I have been deluging her with e-photos of many of them -- from an ominous antique lion's claw set in 22 carat gold as a watchfob, to a music box that plays 12 inch tin disks, to a grandfather clock, to a lovely birdseye maple bureau, to sets of Haviland china. There are other bureaus, antique chairs, oriental prayer rugs, and majolica pottery.

I had once thought I would never be able to part with any of it, but I have apparently learned the magic lesson. Stuff is not Mom. It won't bring her back, or make her memory any more indelible. Selling it will not irritate her or disappoint her. (The only thing that might get her cranky is if I would dispose of it imprudently, not getting a fair price.)

I might mention that I have two storage rooms FULL of stuff.

And she paid for almost none of it. Lest you think I come from the posh side of town.

Mom was an orphan, and she unconsciously sought parents through her whole life, which was why she was always befriending old people. She also loved antiques and would always say yes when asked if she would enjoy having item x or y. And she was clever.

We furnished our first house because she was clever, not because we had money. Mom saw a house that was for sale by owner. It was an old New England colonial home, full of junk. She looked through the dirty widows and saw a room full of antiques and 10 or 12 toilets. The house was a mess. She went to the owners and made them a deal. She and Dad would clean out all the trash in the house if we could keep anything we found that we liked. This would enable the owners to get a higher price for it by far than what they could have gotten with it used as a storage bin, without having to incur expense. (My Mom noticed that their house was full of "modern furniture", so she knew they would not care about the antiques. Nonetheless she told them there were antiques there that could be resold if the owners wanted to do the work themselves

Well, that is how we got beds for the guestroom, bureaus, a diningroom table and chairs, a pump organ, miscellaneous glass, pottery, etc. Some of it lasted through the years, and I will be finding out what monetary value it now has soon. She'd be tickled pink.

I had thought it might be emotionally more gruelling than it was. Instead I felt her delight in the fact that a big gallery was going to be looking at *her* things. Mom, who came from abject poverty. I am hoping to give her a posthumous "Roadshow Moment" -- and am hoping that there is one AHA! sort of discovery made when the appraiser comes. We'll see. I'll keep you posted !


Blogger Jayne said...

I can't wait to see what they find in your treasures Mata. Indeed, your mom would be grinning like a cat! :c) Love to you!

6:56 AM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

I'm looking forward to the follow-up!

10:08 AM  
Blogger Maggie Rose said...

...as am I. :-)

5:25 AM  
Blogger Leah J. Utas said...

Gorgeous bureau. The designs on it remind me of the designs on the pump organ I have in my living room. It belonged to my mom and her mom before her.
You're right. Stuff is not mom, but it's important for me to have it.

I enjoyed your post. Best of luck with the appraiser.
If you're curious I got here through BlogHer.

10:43 PM  

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