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

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ravenswood Repository

Live any place long enough and you'll accumulate a lot of stuff. But approach your acquisitions with even the slightest degree of purpose or passion, and you can really leave behind some impressive collections.

Take these long-reach grabbers, for starters. For most people, one is plenty. For those who want even greater convenience, one on every floor, or even every room, might be understandable. But this many? (There are twelve.) I have to wonder what you're grabbing at, and how incapacitated you are, and if you ought to be grabbing for that to begin with. Just sayin'.

Sidebar: If I didn't already live in a house blessed with more than enough furniture, this sideboard rotting in a basement corner would have come home with me. And then promptly had its drawer and door handles swapped out for something less... white.

The basement featured shelves and shelves of VHS tapes. And not the recorded-at-home kind either. There was a time when this many VHS tapes represented a great wealth of choice and possibilities.

Now they're just old technology looking for an eco-responsible method of disposal. But truth be told, I've got a few shelves of DVDs at home, too. And since going to this sale, I've been thinking about this collection, and my own.

I don't watch my movies all that often, and I don't think this person did either. But here's why I've got my DVDs, and why I think they had their VHS tapes: there's a feeling of security that comes with knowing I could watch my favorite movies at any time. No matter what happens or how bad things get. Come hell or high water. (Though not electrical failure or all-out apocalypse.) There's some comfort in that, I think. And comfort, wherever you can find it, is worth something.

On our way upstairs (where there's an even more impressive collection) let's stop in the dining room for just a moment.

And admire the grace and beauty and mid-century fabulousness of this light fixture hanging over the table. Stay for as long as you like. Our tour will resume at the next photo as soon as you're ready.

Most of the upstairs was your typical estate sale hot mess: cluttered bedrooms filled with a random assortment of books and furniture and linens and clothes and what-not that no one in particular was really interested in.

But there was this one room, used only to store slides, that kind of made me die a little inside.

Because here was a whole lifetime's worth of trips and vacations and pictures of the kids at Christmas.

Despite the looker photographed here, no one was interested in these.

But if I was independently wealthy, and didn't have a job to go to and a blog to keep up and a book to write, I would have taken all of them home, and looked through the carousels and figured out something worthwhile to do with this fantastic wealth of memories.

I hope someone did. Or does.


  1. OMG, find an artist to give those slides to. They will make something beautiful out of those woman's carefully preserved memories.

  2. I really do hope they found a good home.


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