Narnia Fever Dream

A number of weeks ago, I teased that I visited this one estate sale that deserved its own post—not only because it encompassed two separate buildings and had as many goods for sale as a typical Wal-Mart (and, let’s be honest, about the same quality)—but because including it as an aside in a post about golden toothbrushes and laxative-themed thermometers just wouldn’t do it justice.

Don’t remember what I’m talking about?

Now you do.

This estate sale was a thing of wonder. Epic poems could be written about the journey one had to take to get from one end of it to the other—winding through alleyways of cardboard boxes, up and down creaking, crusty staircases with little pieces crumbling off with each step—I swear I even got lost at one point and had to ask for directions. It was by far the biggest sale I’ve ever been to in Connecticut, encompassing both a two-story home and a three-story barn.

I, naturally, gravitated toward the barn first, because, well..

Outside were a variety of metal garden implements that were, to put it mildly, more rust than tool, some half-used spice containers, a (burial?) urn that may or may not have also been used, and this…uh, I guess lawn ornament?

The tag—whose purpose I can only assume was to give us greater context and help us understand just what we were looking at—helpfully said “metal cow.”

Inside the barn was like the world’s worst Room of Requirement; instead of untold lost treasures from the wizarding world of Harry Potter (and this weird diadem that’s totally going to become important later), there were towering piles of cardboard boxes as far as the eye could see, threatening to topple over and crush us all underneath a wave of collectible dishes and old board games the moment anyone so much as blinked too hard. I rooted around a half-dozen of them before I found this fun surprise hiding in the bottom of one:

Yeeeesh. Thankfully, it wasn’t set.. …It’s not set, right? I decided it was best to leave the boxes alone and focus on the things I could explore without (one hopes) losing a finger; this soon caught my eye:

Now, I tend to see creepy in things that aren’t actually meant to be creepy (for example, I’ve always thought there was something mildly sinister about Flo from those Progressive Insurance commercials), but I mean—it’s pretty clear that something horrible is happening to these children, right? They’re being carried away in a GIANT HAND-BASKET OF DOOM! How could this possibly end in anything but a nationally televised scandal ala Balloon Boy?

Inside the book, I found this touching story about a boy and his button:

Things You Won’t Ever See in a Children’s Story Written in 2012

1) “Then he felt Mr. Button-Hole open.”

Also after I finish writing this post, I’m so editing the Wikipedia page for “circus” so it just says “more fun than a picnic.”

I would’ve loved to look through The Children’s Big Pitter Patter Book a bit more (other sample stories according to Google include “Can You Find Kitty Kuddle?” and the ominously-titled “The Hump”), but the lady selling it was starting to give me a once-over, so I darted away before she could start asking any awkward questions like “Would you like to purchase this?”

Over at another towering pile of things:

I think my favorite part—besides the flaming banjos, of course—is the completely unenthusiastic “…..on fire” subtitle. It feels so detached to me, like the typesetter couldn’t care less that Homer and the Barnstormers are such bad-ass musicians that their instruments had no choice but to spontaneously combust. I bet he was into setting banjos on fire before setting banjos on fire was cool.

Upstairs in the barn was a no man’s land where water-logged books and broken picture frames went to die, so it wasn’t too surprising to find something like this there:

…Actually, that’s not really fair. I’m only including it because I’m sure my wife would say that anything starring Jack Nicholson could and should be called “The Terror.”

The barn’s basement was nothing but Guy Stuff, so I moved on to the house—a veritable countryside wonderland with cozy wood paneling, squashy, comfy-looking chairs and a fireplace in every bedroom:  

–complete with giant pinecones, no less! At one point I peeked into one of the closets, and after pushing back a curtain, I found—get this—

A hidden liquor stash. In the closet. I’m not sure these were for sale—in fact, I’m not sure the folks running the sale even knew they were there—but holy crap.These people had a hidden room in their closet, camouflaged by coats and skirts and funny old hats, set aside specifically to conceal their vast array of alcohol. Kind of makes me wonder if Narnia was actually just the fever dream of a bunch of intoxicated little kids.

Elsewhere—prepare for one of the best transitions of all time—I found something that was a bit more sobering:

I Googled the text and came up empty; I think this might be a poem that someone wrote for their BFF, about all the grand adventures they’d had together throughout their lives.

::happy sigh::

As is so often the case I didn’t actually get anything at this estate sale, but man I loved the opportunity to explore someone’s home and discover a lifetime’s worth of treasure and memories. Kind of takes some of the edge off the weirdness factor of buying up the belongings of the recently deceased.

Total spent: $0.00

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5 thoughts on “Narnia Fever Dream

  1. Ann Franzen says:

    Notice the masking tape label on the flaming banjos album? Jimmy Dean was a country singer, not the record’s owner. I wonder if he was featured on the album & not listed on the cover because he was unknown at the time.
    PS You make me laugh out loud.

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