One man’s treasure, trashed.

Mid Century Modern Basement with Bar

photo credit: x-ray delta one via photopin cc

I went to an estate sale this morning.  I’d never been to one before, but the craigslist ad said there would be pink pyrex there.  I’m wanting a set of pink Cinderella bowls, so my husband and I went to breakfast then stood in line for the sale.

It was a small mid-century house, which had never been remodeled or redecorated.  So it was filled with mid century modern furniture and decor.

We were the only people in line who were not dealers, all of whom were looking for specific types of items.

The first young lady in line has an etsy shop for vintage clothing.
The second one wanted the starburst clock.
The next several people were furniture dealers.
Then us.
Then the lady who was a pyrex dealer.  She got the only two pieces that were available.  I was looking in upper cabinets, while she was moving quickly through the lower ones, where they were.  They were casserole dishes, not the bowls I’d wanted, so I wasn’t disappointed.

The interesting part of the morning was the wait in line before the doors opened, listening to the dealers.

Some were quite pragmatic.  They tended to be the older ones.

Conversation Pit, Modern Decor

photo credit: x-ray delta one via photopin cc

The younger ones – mid to late twenties, I’d guess – were more idealistic.  They were lamenting how often older people ruined mid century furniture.  Original owners and their children committed such travesties as drilling holes to refit pieces for new technology and – gasp – painting the wood.

I just listened, amused.

I grew up in a mid century home, with mid century modern furniture.  Many of my neighbors had it, too.  When it went out of style, it was sold at garage sales, given to Goodwill, or – gasp – painted.

When my parents moved to a new colonial style house, very little of the mid-mod stuff was kept, including the starburst clock.

Mid Century Modern Living Room

photo credit: ooh_food via photopin cc

Maybe it takes a decade of adulthood to realize that there is a difference between collecting things and living with them.

Or maybe it takes becoming a parent.

When you live with your stuff, you get tired of it, or it no longer suits your needs, and you either replace it or remake it.  In the meantime, your kids bang up the tables, spill things on sofa, and leave dripping cups on everything.  It’s called life, and, yes, sometimes it ruins the furniture.

I have some old furniture, things that belonged to my grandmother, things that are not really my style but which I love anyway.  Although I wish they were in better condition, I look at them and see generations of people who cared more about their family than their stuff.

I am keeping up a fine tradition, then, even if one day collectors will turn up their noses at everything in my house.

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10 thoughts on “One man’s treasure, trashed.

  1. I have a classic Heywood Wakefield chair my aunt gave me because it went in my eclectic house and she didn’t want it anymore. She’s now long gone and I smile every time I look at the 2 screws that look like eyes on the chair back, where my uncle “fixed it”. With 5 kids running around back in the 60s she didn’t have time to put up with things like broken furniture. Those 2 screws which have “ruined” it in value, make it priceless to me.

  2. I am currently bingeing on Mad Men with Netflix. Every time I watch it I marvel at the authenticity and pristine condition of the furniture and clothing – I wore a dress like Sally’s! My friend’s house across the street had that multicolored vinyl cushioned sofa! I’m sure that’s part of its appeal to us.
    But now that my mother is gone and we are splitting up her ‘stuff’ I’m reminded how fleeting our preferences are. Whims for now become major mistakes until they’re old enough to be considered classics. It’s the memories that are dear, not the dust collectors.

  3. That orange couch – we had one very like it in style, only it was green. Over time, it sagged horribly, and when you sat on it, your ass would hang out between the bottom and top cushions. No big deal, until I got a kitten, who couldn’t resist clawing at the “extra padding.” My dad and stepmom decided to trade it in, pronto, for something hideous and flowered, but without the butt gap.

  4. I was at the Geoffrey’s Museum’s various decade room sets and listening to people talking about ‘ooooh I remember’ my Mom remembered getting some of the museum pieces for wedding gifts. Wookie’s Nan had other pieces, but it was the memories that were important not the actual things.

  5. As a non-collector and a person not used to being in close proximity with fine furnishings, I believe furniture is to be used. My children are only affirming my original belief that furniture should be lived in, worn out and enjoyed! If my stuff doesn’t look like trash when I die, then it means I should have lived more!

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