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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Not unlike my guest blogger's story of the estate sale from heaven – I had one good Saturday  a few weeks ago, except this wasn’t a dream. No, I didn’t think I was in heaven, though to say I felt fortunate would be somewhat of an understatement. If you have read my June posts, especially the wordy ones about the GPS, then it would be useful to inform you that my latest success came after finding the GPS. I mean, right after, like the next sale after, really. Well, maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself with the build up.

Deep in a woodsy and marshy area of Danbury are several 60’s and 70’s developments that are so remote they seem out of place. The lawns are neat, the streets are nice, but the roads you have to take to get there seem to be losing the battle with the swamp land they were built on. Add to that the numerous frost heaves and you have one heck of a gastro-intestinal roller coaster ride. However, a Moving Sale sign and the karma of a re-born GPS was motivation enough to bounce down these roads.

The house was accompanied by a large barn, which contained a wood shop along with a mess of semi-organized flotsam and jetsam of a full life. The sale was run by 2 families connected by brothers, one, the woodworker had built the barn and numerous other things over the years and the 2 families seemed to be moving out to California. There was such an expanse of items in the Barn and garage that I knew this was going to be a long one. Fortunately my junior partner is plenty curious with just the right amount of caution. Never has she tipped, tripped or trashed something that would create a stir, an odd side-glance or even a “tsk!” from anyone. This day she occupied herself by sweeping the sawdust from around the tables and items in the shop with a paintbrush she had discovered. The power-tools were sold and she happily brushed and swept to the delight of the whole family.  I focused on the odd collection in the garage having found nothing in the barn.

This is why I often visit only a few sales on a saturday, I find I need to spend extra time viewing and re-viewing the variety of items at the few quality sales. There is almost too much to see in a single, double, or even triple pass. I feel as though I am looking at one of AVA's hidden picture books.  I need to keep looking until I can explain it, buy it, or dismiss it. This takes time because I also need to work around the other hunters and my own curious ignorance. If I knew what I was looking at, I could quickly pass it up and move on. There was no pattern to the items on the tables at this sale. All neatly laid out, but in almost no order which made it more confusing for someone like me. And then I noticed a box under one of the tables.
Medical items especially old ones are magnetic to me. I am fascinated by the history of medicine and quackery and the promise of cures with bizarre implements and little scientific knowledge. The unfortunate first impression of this box was the smell, deep bitter mildew, which is difficult to remove. There was so much to explore I had to ask, “How much?”

With little hesitation she said, “Ten dollars?”

I gulped (mainly from the odor) and said, “Sure.” Now, I could probably do 2 months worth of posts from the sheer variety alone, but if I try to write something up for each piece, I may never get there. So, take a look at the contents once I emptied the box.
There are a few obvious items and there are some real mysteries. Sadly, almost no paper to explain who's this was or exactly how old it was.  For example, Do you know what this is?
13 individual rods that fit into each other numbered 1-13, though one seems to be absent. My first guess was something for surgery and too gross to mention, but I was wrong. Submit your guesses in the comments (if you dare) and I will reveal more from the mystery box next post. It gets better, lots better. 

1 comment:

  1. The set of "rods" looks like a cork borer set to me. These were used in chem labs for years because there was a long tradition of making your own glassware and cork stoppers. I really can't see the rest of the stuff well enough to guess what it is.


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