An occasionally updated chronicle of estate sales in the city and suburbs of Chicago.

"It's such a guilty pleasure..." Lynne Stiefel, Pioneer Press

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Northwest Side Bungalow #1

There are thousands of bungalows in Chicago. They're actually called "Chicago bungalows," and all are pretty much the same, inside and out: brick exterior, living room in front, dining room behind it, two bedrooms off to the (usually right) side, kitchen in back, then some stairs down to the basement and, finally, a sun room overlooking a modest back yard.

The rooms were small and a little dingy, and everything in them seemed coated in a thin film of sticky grime. This is the bedroom I think was used most recently.

Here's another view of the same room. That's a mighty big picture of Jesus for a dresser top.

There was a lot of religious paraphernalia gathered together on top of the dining room table. I imagine it was all over the house not too long ago.

The kitchen was a little depressing, dark wood cabinets and yellowed yellow tile. It was easy to imagine someone shuffling into it on worn house slippers and making coffee, morning after morning, for forty-some years.

I expected the basement to be gray cinderblock, with a crooked-looking washer and dryer sitting in one dark corner next to a dripping utility sink. Maybe some worn wooden shelves holding a lifetime's worth of Mason jars, old vases from Valentine's and Mother's Days past, and a collection of canned food going back to the Nixon era.

So this surprised me. It was bright and surprisingly airy for a basement. That picture was pretty funky -- a distant sci-fi city beneath a giant yellow sun, and now I wish I'd gotten a close-up of it.

And there were records -- stuff from the '60s-'80s. Tom Jones. Englebert Humperdink. Donna Summer. Commodores. Lipps, Inc. It would have been a bonanza for me, but they were priced at $3 each, which qualifies as estate sale robbery in my book.

Also some Playboys from 1967, which seemed a strange contrast with the religious items upstairs. The sacred and profane, one on display up above, the other hidden away down beneath.

Purchased: The Lettermen, Reflections; Jack Jones, Bewitched and Christmas with Jack Jones LPs, $7.


  1. Cool enough if a little depressing. How much was the vintage porn?

  2. Don't remember, but I'm sure it couldn't have been more than a dollar or two. As I like to say, a real bargain for the right buyer.


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