[lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Story

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 17:00:22 -0700

        I regret announce that this Sunday's story has been delayed by estate 
sales.  Having grown up near Chartwell, I picked out the first because the web 
announced showed prints by Churchill's grandaughter, Edwina Sandys, and a 
good-looking Wellington Chest.  Both were still available but the former turned 
out to be uninteresting; the latter, more than a thousand dollars.  
        As is often the case at these events, I thoroughly enjoyed 
reconstructing the lives of those who once owned the stuff, and imagining who 
had gathered up the paraffin lamp that once adorned British roadworks, who read 
Heine in German, how they came to have so many paintings of the Caribbean, what 
had been said as the photograph of the U.S. Winston Churchill Foundation Board 
Members was being taken.  I bought some steel band music, crabbing waterproofs, 
a stereo receiver, a new wallet, a copy of the Times from 1928, Terry Jones on 
the Crusades, "Men at Arms" and "A Handful of Dust" on cassette tape.  E found 
boots and a dress.  
        The view from the home was unobstructed, all the way down the valley to 
our West.  
        The next house was "registered historic" (which means that they get a 
tax deduction and have to open the home once a year).  Though the building was 
worth a quick look, the stuff was uninteresting and was probably brought in by 
someone trying to make tat seem valuable.  
        The third sale, however, was the most fun.  As we arrived someone 
announced that everything under $200 was seventy percent off.  I had trouble 
taking this information in because the view, to the east, was unobstructed: St. 
Helen's on the left, Hood straight ahead, all of downtown visible.  Who were 
these people?  Ex-R.A.F., founder of a ladies finishing school that became a 
fashion institute.  I reasoned that the ties might be worth a look.  In a poky 
closet upstairs I found one from Saville Row, one from the Burlington Arcade, 
Liberty's...Italian ties...one handmade and without a label...  
"How much are these?"
"They would be thirty cents each."
        E. gathered up a French handbag.  I tried on a camel jacket...perfect 
fit...found a book about the Queen's jewelry (for a friend who calls herself a 
"queen fan")..., Oscar Wilde's complete works...    
        At the checkout the total came to nine dollars and some, a score, by 
any measure.  I regret not buying the paraffin lamp, but I don't know why.

David Ritchie,
Portland, 
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