Stop the Car!

I brake for dead people’s stuff

Did you miss me? Hard to believe I went nearly three weeks without posting here. I missed blogging and connecting with readers, but the holiday season was so wild, this seems like my first chance to catch up. I’m down at Tybee, holed up at The Breeze Inn, working on the next book, or as writers say, WIP (that’s work in progress). The secret code name is Project Ex. But since I exceeded my ten page writing goal Friday, I got to do a little junking on Saturday. Savannah was where I cut my estate sale junking teeth, and when I saw the Craigslist ad for an estate sale for a 90-year-old prominent Savannahian, in Ardsley Park–primo junking territory, no way was I going to miss out. I set my alarm for 6 a.m., and hit the ground running, Diet Coke in one hand, giant tote bag in the other. By 6:45 I was rolling through the drive-thru at Krispy-Kreme, and by 7 a.m. I was pulling up to the stately old home where the sale was being held. Eight or nine stalwart dealers were already lined up outside, huddled in the pre-dawn chill, sipping coffee and discussing their latest scores. One guy even brought his own portable propane heater to ward off the cold! Now that’s a first. What next? Porta-potties? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

The early morning line-up–and their propane heater

The dealer gang included my friend Liz Demos, who used to own my favorite Savannah shop, At Home Vintage General. These days, Liz sells through a booth at a new antique mall called Steal Magnolias, in midtown Savannah, but mostly she stays busy as a much-in-demand wedding planner, magazine and ad photo stylist and designer. This gal has flair to spare! Unfortunately, we like the same kinds of stuff, and unfortunately, she was in line ahead of me, but since the house was so huge, there was plenty of vintage junk for all, so no problem-o.

Dining room packed with antiques

When the doors opened shortly before 8 a.m., we rushed inside. This was the kind of sale junkers dream of–a house packed full of decades and decades worth of treasures. The furniture, silver, crystal and china were the real deal. That portrait of Robert E. Lee in the dining room was priced at $18,000! Upstairs there was a magnificent rice-carved mahogany four-poster with it’s own pull-out steps, I think it was $4,000. The high-ceilinged old rooms had once been elegant, but the whole house was painted a dingy green, giving the effect that you were under-water.

General Lee presides over the sale

I had myself a grand time, browsing and ogling. In the end, I managed to fill my tote for a grand total of $69. My biggest expenditure was a covered ironstone vegetable tureen for $20. I also bought a candlewick spread with a sprightly design of pink tulips for $2, a red vintage straw hat with a saucy red rose, some ironstone butter pats, a never-used pin the tail on the donkey game, a never used tartan wool lap blanket from Scotland, a tin tole tray, and a silver-plated bevelled hand mirror. True to my deep-seated need for vintage linens, I also succumbed to a flat sheet with pretty crocheted trim for $2, but I did manage to tear myself away from the wonderland of embroidered and monogrammed damask tablecloths and napkins and pillowcases.

Couldn’t resist this vintage hat

My bag o’ treasures

After the sale I met up with Liz and my pal Diane Kaufman, who owns Mermaid Cottage Vacation Rentals. Diane and her crew manage The Breeze Inn, and she has established her first off-beach beachhead with the tiniest, most adorable little cottage in downtown Savannah, which she has been re-doing. Can’t wait to take pics of the finished project to share with you. We managed a quick dash through a promising new antique mall on Wright Square, and an even quicker dash through Habersham Antiques before I had to scoot back to Tybee to have lunch with new friends Beth and Carla, who’d lured me into lunching with them because they’d very sweetly scored me some vintage glass Christmas ornaments. What can I say? I’ll lunch for junk any day.

New friends Beth and Carla

After lunch I told myself I needed to go grocery shopping at Publix, on Wilmington Island. That’s what I told myself. Somehow, I ended up at the Goodwill. Now, I never find anything at that Goodwill. My friend Polly furnishes her whole booth at Seaside Sisters with Goodwill treasures, but I have never once found anything even remotely attractive there. But yesterday, I walked to the back of the store, and there it was–shining like a nugget of gold in a heap of sad, fugly ’80s cast-offs. A vintage rattan sofa! In decent condition! With sad, fugly Herculon plaid cushions! For $39.99! I could not rip the tag off that puppy fast enough. Marched myself up to the cash register and staked my claim in a loud voice.

Gem of a vintage sofa in the landfill of fugly

Then I went back to fondle and fawn and photograph said sofa. And I noticed a pair of vintage mahogany bookcases. They were unpriced, so I marched back to the front to inquire. “Oh those? They’re $9.99 apiece.” Oh those? They are so mine now.

Couldn’t pass up this promising pair

And then, to put the cherry on my sundae–the cashier looked me over and asked if I might qualify for the senior citizen discount. Let me just say that when I got that nasty AARP card in the mail after a certain birthday, I ripped it up in a huff. I don’t ask for discounts at the grocery or the movies. But at the Goodwill? For 10 percent off? Hell to the yeah. Today I must commandeer a truck to pick up my stuff. And get some fabric for those sofa cushions. And hide the sofa in the garage at the Breeze, while the cushions get recovered. Shh. Do NOT tell Mr. Mary Kay. Oh yeah, time to get back to writing again.

15 thoughts on “Stop the Car!”

  1. We did miss you! It looks like you've been having a great time, though! Thanks for sharing all the treasures with us.

  2. You scored! I love that sofa but I think the bookcases are the best find! I would have jumped on those and hell yes to Sr discounts at GW!! Sounds like a fun time seeing friends, junking and eating…now back to the writing. Enjoy!

  3. It was a great estate sale! Since I don't have a booth now, I had to restrain myself, but did get 2 vintage hats & some other cute things! Your GW score was fantastic….LOVE the bookcases especially!

  4. I say hell yeah to sr. discount anytime, we have EARNED it! Looks like you've been having a great time since last post. Nothing like a good find (or two) on a treasure hunt!

  5. So, you did go to GW after we left your house! LOL We did not notice the rattan sofa or if we did, it did not go into the WOW category. Probably because it was missing the back cushions.
    However; we DID see the bookshelves, thought they were wonderful and probably came from a church. The cutouts in the side reminded us a church. We noticed they were not priced, but didn't ask either. We did comment on the fact that they were alike, but 2 different colors of finish. We liked the one in the back! SO glad we left them for you as you will know EXACTLY what to do with them.
    I have a truck if you don't find one, elsewhere! Would love to help you out. Just let me know.

  6. You found some wonderful items this weekend. The bookcases are amazing!
    Mom and I often go to the local Goodwill on senior discount days. She pays for our purchases and I reimburse her for my share. Her station wagon has been a lifesaver when it comes to hauling items.

  7. Thanks for sharing your junking and fun times! What good finds you get… I'm jealous!!
    As for Senior discounts?? Hey, I'm not proud. I'll take 'em any time I can get 'em. Have fun at Tybee…. hope you don't get snow over there.

  8. I love junking and seeing the treasures that others find is a close second. Thanks for the blog, i have missed reading yours. This time you have me laughing out loud. Thanks I needed that.

  9. I already was loving this post and then I got to the senior discount – oh, you are not proud, are you? My brother got his first AARP card this month and it's been my favorite preoccupation, seeing how many ways I can weave it into a conversation.

  10. Love the bookcases! Do you usually keep the items for yourself or do you resell some of them after fixing up?

    BTW – I'm hoping your next book has some junking or interior design in it…!

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Sometimes I keep my treasures, sometimes I fix 'em up and sell them. The bookshelves have already been sanded, primed and painted and are awaiting new owners at my booth at Seaside Sisters.

  12. Hi Mary Kay,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I was excited to see your comment; I love your work 🙂 I'm also happy to see that you love to sort through junk for gems like the rest of us!


    PS–LOVE the bookcases!

  13. While vacationing on Tybee, I discovered the GW while looking for a McDonald's for my kids. I always check out GW while on vacation. I didn't find anything that time, but you can bet I will be visiting in February while we are staying at Tybee. Love the bookcases! What a steal!

Comments are closed.