The junk planets seem aligned just right. Yesterday, three members of the posse–including daughter Katie, saddled up to attend the 6th annual ATLANTA PET RESCUE tag sale. Jinxie and I went last year and got some major scores, so we all ponied up the $25 “advance” fee this year, and dashed inside. I scored a great painted beachy dresser–in fact, it’s painted with a shell border on the bottom, for $100. This will go in the Tybee beach house. Also got a great wooden pole lamp for $20, and some designer fabric 1/2-yard swatches for $4 apiece. While waiting to get into the sale, a guy was handing out flyers for his sale, which started today. The come-on? “Five Gay Guys with Fabulous Taste are Having a Yard Sale.” Well, how could I not check it out? Got some cool stuff, including three wool plaid stadium blankets, a wicker hamper, brass shaving mirror with bevelled mirror, awesome big white scrolly clock, and a pair of rattan TV trays on folding stands. I also checked in at another estate sale in Buckhead. I got a bag of five vintage 1950s Christmas pixies–the ones with the little fabric legs folded up, all with the original dime-store tags. I’ve got a collection of those that I put out for my vintage tacky Christmas display. Also snagged a retro red taffeta Christmas apron with white embroidery. Tragically, I was also the victim of unprovoked estate sale viciousness. I’d spotted 12 white milk-glass dessert bowls in a kitchen cupboard–marked $15 for all. I scooped them up, and went out to one of the cashiers to ask if I could make a pile of stuff I was buying. She told me to put the stuff on a chair and she’d guard them. As I was setting them down, this heinous bee-yatch (you know the type–dressed in her cool work-out clothes) rushed over and snatched up the whole pile. “Uh?” I said in my best passive-aggressive back-off bee-yatch voice. “I was buying these,” she snarled. She turned to the lady. “Remember? I asked you to move them and put them in a stack for me?” the yard-sale lady just kind of shrugged and said ok. People, this is not proper estate sale etiquette. I let it go this time, but next time around, I will smack this bee-yatch upside her botoxed-head with my sack o’ Christmas Pixies. Seriously. Tomorrow is the big Druid Hills neighborhood-wide yard sale. Druid Hills is the Atlanta neighborhood around Emory University, and it’s full of beautiful old homes. It was also the setting for DRIVING MISS DAISY. Supposedly 140 families are participating. I’m just a-quiver with excitement and anticipation. Will hopefully blog/brag tomorrow about all the treasures I score.
The AJC Decatur Book Festival was big fun. Friday night, my friend Jennifer and I went to hear poet Billy Collins at Agnes Scott College. He was wonderful, funny, charming, refreshing, his poems funny and sly and subversive and silly. My favorite part was when he dropped the F-bomb. I mean, the former poet laureate of the United States, and he drops the F-Bomb at a girl’s college. You gotta love it. I got to meet him afterwards, and before-hand, got to meet one of my favorite southern writers, Bailey White. If you’ve never heard her on NPR, or read SLEEPING AT THE STARLIGHT MOTEL, or MAMA MAKES UP HER MIND, you have missed a rare and wondrous treat. She’s got a new book coming out, called NOTHING WITH STRINGS, and I, for one, can’t wait. I met Rick Bragg in the author’s green room too. That’s the great thing about a book festival. One time, I was in the green room at the Miami Book Festival, and Amy Tan came in, with her two eensy-weensy purse puppies, and then Dave Barry came in, and I just took it all in.
We had a very nice crowd for the book festival. Right after my gig at the festival Saturday, I ran home and jumped in the 10-ft. cargo van and hot-footed it up to Raleigh to pick up junk sistah Beth. Sunday morning, we lit out for Brimfield, which turned out to be a 14-hour odyssey, due to traffic jams on various turnpikes. But we are here, we have done a reconaissance around the fields, and have set our alarms for—buttcrack of dawn, or as some people call it, 4 a.m. All the antique fields are supposed to be officially closed today, but I snuck in, and the first person I ran into was Bob, who sold me my bathtub and kitchen sink at Scott’s in Atlanta. The junk world really is a small place. A few years ago, on my first junking trip to England, I ran into a dealer friend from Atlanta at the antique fair in Ardingly. Tomorrow, I junk for joy!
Irushed back from the mountains last Thursday because it was early shopper day at Scott’s Antique Market–and I definitely qualify as an early shopper. As I drove into the parking lot at the South building, I spotted it–a jadeite green sink almost exactly like this one pictured. It practically screamed beach house–so I sprinted (well, ok maybe not exactly sprinted) hurried? over to check it out, and it quickly became mine for a hundred bucks. The one pictured here was one I found online at a antique salvage shop–and it sold for $750, so I’m feeling pretty smug about my green jewel. Mine came out of a beauty parlour in New Hampshire. It doesn’t have the spray attachment this one has, but it has a slot for one. Of course, now I’m jonesing for a jadeite green toilet, but have very little hope of finding one in decent condition. So I’ll probably just settle for a white toilet, with the green sink as a “statement” in the downstairs bath. That statement will be–“I was bought by a crazy woman. She is the kind of person who will pry old windows out of an 80-year-old house in hundred degree heat. She is the kind of person who trolls ebay and craigslist for hours on end when she should be writing her next book. She is the kind of person who is seriously considering a trip to Eugenia’s Antique Hardware in Chamblee, Ga.–because on their website they have a photo of a jadeite green porcelain toothbrush holder. She is the kind of person who, even now, is pining for a TURQUOISE vintage electric stove she found on Ebay. She is the kind of person who would, given any encouragement, bid on this stove, sight unseen, and then drive to Gawdknowswhere, Michigan to try to stuff it in the back of her under-sized SUV. This woman needs help!
For months now, I’ve been working on the next book, THE FIXER-UPPER, in which my protagonist, a young woman named Dempsey Killebrew, returns to her family’s homeplace in a small middle Georgia town, to search for a new life–and to fix up said homeplace. And all this time, I’ve been scheming and shopping for what I’d come to call our virtual beach house. In June, we finally sealed the deal on our own fixer-upper. And now, life is imitating art. I’d been lusting after an old-timey backsplash porcelain kitchen sink for the beach house, so I had Dempsey’s handyman buddy find her one at the town dump. Then I found one at the Scott’s Antique Market here in Atlanta last month. I also found a claw-foot bathtub for our soon-to-be master bath at the beach, and Dempsey already has one of those. Dempsey had a great old pre-WWII gas stove in her kitchen, so I’ve been lusting after one of those too. I used to have my aunt’s pre-WWII gas stove in my old house. It was a gleaming white Roper, big as a battleship, and we designed a kitchen around it. Sadly, we sold that house. So I’ve been pining for another old stove for the beach house. Scanning Craigslist–my favorite time-waster, I found the perfect old gas stove–it’s called a Grand, it’s preWWII, in great shape, and in a house only 15 minutes from mine. Yesterday I went and looked. I fell, hard. But it was not to be. This old gas stove has to have the burners lit each time you use it, and I was afraid our guests at the beach house would be terrified–or worse, blow the whole damned place to kingdom-come. BUT…the owner of the stove is getting ready to tear down this great old 1920s bungalow, and his in-laws were already harvesting the oak floors for their home. So I fell for this great pedestal sink–and he GAVE it to me. A sink! I call it a belated birthday gift. I somehow persuaded Mr. Mary Kay to remove the sink yesterday, and then, we bought a bunch of gorgeous old solid-wood panelled doors too–for five bucks apiece. And then I went back with my son-in-law Mark, and the cordless screwdriver, and Whitey Ford, the community pickup truck,….and bought the narrow crank casement windows, and some white porcelain bath sconces. And for less than a hundred bucks we got: an amazing vintage porcelain pedestal sink, 8 vintage solid-wood panel doors, 9 vintage windows, pair of sconces, pair of Craftsman iron lanterns, assorted doorknobs. The doors will replace the cheesey hollow-core doors at the beach house. I hope to make the windows into upper kitchen cupboard doors, the sconces will go in the master bath, the lanterns will be probably go on the screened porch. I’ll have to settle for an ordinary stove, I’m afraid…unless somebody puts a vintage ELECTRIC stove on Craigslist…..