HALLIE EPHRON: It's Saturday and you know what that means, kids? Yard sales!!
My husband was up last night trolling Craigslist and mapping his course. A yard sale with old books or paper ephemera rises to the top, and he's brought back some fantastic finds like a first edition of "A Farewell to Arms," sadly without dust jacket. Also Popeye Facemaker, a copy of which, in not nearly in as pristine condition as his, is listed right now on eBay for $100. He probably paid a quarter.
Not everything he drags home is a keeper, but still we end up keeping most of it. And every once in a while he brings me back something spectacular.
Here are a few of my favorite things he's brought me.
He's really good at tin. Tins for tea, pretzels, peanuts, butter cookies, candy, "pure lard," and allspice. My favorite is one he picked up at a yard sale (or maybe it was a flea market) in France. It's got a very French looking squirrel on it covetously holding an acorn.
Here's a tin Art Deco waste paper basket he picked up at a yard sale in our neighborhood years back. I've never been able to bring myself to throw a single item of trash in it.
More tin. This Mail Pouch thermometer advertising chew tobacco must might once have
hung in a garage or machine shop. Up to the right overhead is a nice green
metal scale that might have once been used in a general store. And
beside it, barely visible, is a mammoth can that once held Planter's
salted peanuts -- "10 pounds of wholesome peanuts!" a penant across its
top proclaimed. And I think the pencil sharpener hanging on the wall under the thermometer might have come from a yard sale, too.
He's not bad at ceramics, either. This magical looking pitcher with its landscape design in shades of lavendar and apricot looks like something you'd find on 19th-century a sampler, sits in pride of place in my dining room. My favorite thing is a white painted pathway, wide in the foreground and recedes to a point in the distance.
When I first saw this table, I thought it was ugly ugly ugly. It's made like a snowshoe with some kind of animal sinew lacing the oak top to its folding legs. I still think it's bizarre, but I've come around to its rugged good looks.
Finally, in the "useless but nice to look at" department, is this Victorian iron bracket. Maybe it once held up a shelf, or ornamented a porch? I have no idea, but I keep it (upside down) in a window where I can enjoy its spiky silhouette.
So 'fess up, are you a yard sailor? Did you go to one today and score? Do you have a sweetie, as do I, whom you humor by oohing and ahing over yard sale finds? Or does it seem to you that we're crazy, buying each others trash?