Saturday I went to an antique auction.
I was here on many Saturdays during my early years when we were furnishing our house and even later when I had antiques booths but I haven’t been in some time.
I had a good reason to go Saturday.
They were auctioning the estate of a dear elderly friend of mine that passed away last month. My husband and his partner became tenants in one of her three houses downtown for their office that her and her husband lovingly restored many years ago. Her husband had just passed away when we met. We became fast friends as we had many loves in common. We began having lunch together every month or two. That was 7 years ago.
Dottie was an interesting woman. When we met her she would be up on a ladder scraping a window, or telling a contractor how to paint something. She was smart as a tack. Nothing got by her.
We talked about antiques, travel, and flowers. She drove this huge van and would always bring something from her house to show me because she knew I would appreciate it. Or she would take me into their shop that had fallen into disrepair and let me scrounge around looking at all the treasures. Sometimes I would buy things from her, some she would never sell, some she was asking WAY too much. Mostly she just wanted someone to oohh and aahh over her treasures. She came to my house for lunch to see my treasures. But she never wanted me to come to her house or her yard. She was embarrassed at the state of her house. And I was okay with that.
We loved flowers too. She shared her irises with me that are growing in my yard right now. She had more peony plants than anyone I ever knew (50) The peony on the header of this page is one she brought me. But irises were her favorites. Once she brought me an iris catalog that she was going to order from and every single page had at least one check mark by a plant on it. I said Dottie, I think you skipped this page because there isn’t a check mark on either page. She spewed her sweet tea across the table from laughing and was so very embarrassed.
I loved to hear her stories of growing up in New Orleans. Her husband was in the Navy so they lived in interesting places. He had his own ship before he retired. She had lots of great stories.
So naturally I wanted something of Dottie’s. I had two things in mind. Of course both of them I tried to buy from her when she would say, I really need to get rid of some of this stuff, but she never would.
The first is this angel. It always was propped up in the shop against an antique train bench from New Orleans. The kind that the back slides over so that you can face the other way. And on the bench was this wonderful doll’s chest. The little drawers when you pulled them out had cheese crate labels. I bid on it but I didn’t get it. I just couldn’t get everything I wanted. But I got the angel and I am so very excited. I love her. I took a picture of her nearly every time I was there. I would tell Dottie I would keep it in my kitchen even though it’s made to go outside, but she wasn’t ready to part with it.
The second thing I wanted was this oil painting. I don’t know anything about it except Dottie had showed me a picture of it. She would often bring pictures of her things she wanted to share with me during lunch. I loved it. Dutch woman sewing. It is the most wonderful thing. When we got to the auction I started looking for it right away hoping it would be there. I found it leaning against the wall on the floor. It’s not in the best shape or even in a frame but I am so thrilled to have it. I wouldn’t trade anything for it. I felt sick when it came up for bid. I NEVER feel that way. I couldn’t even have lunch. It was just too much stress!!!
I got teary eyed several times seeing Dottie’s things, or when I got the winning bid or recognizing and remembering her stories about items or her talking about the auction after she was gone. She knew her stuff would be sold. She knew I would be there too. So I know she is happy that I have a few of her things.
Regardless of price there is not one thing that was sold on Saturday that could bring me greater joy than what I bought.
My Deddy went with me and kept me company. He moved things closer to the front as the auction moved slow and even at the end took these precious little puppets to one of the men to have them brought up so that I could get them and leave. He bought a little sewing caddy that I will see under the Christmas tree too. I’ve been to lots of auctions with my Deddy. He is the best.
Dottie had an amazing collection of antiques and I found great pride in listening to people brag about them. I text her son in Atlanta afterwards and said how well it was going. I just can’t imagine how painful it must be for him.
Dottie is now buried with her husband in Arlington Cemetery. I saw her 10 days before she passed and we had a wonderful visit. Kevin and I saw her on Sunday afternoon. When we went to leave, I knew it would be my last time to see her and as I hugged her goodbye, I told her she was a joy know.
I felt like if I could have auctioned the things off and added my stories on the things I knew about she would have been proud, but instead I just whispered them to Deddy and he liked hearing the stories.