There are major estate sales and minor estate sales.
Major sales have lines outside the door hours ahead of time, and are held in rich neighborhoods. Dealers spend the night outside in their vans, waiting. The word is out that there are antiques, designer pocketbooks, quality cookware, and top of the line garden ornaments.
Minor sales do not attract dealers, and there are no lines. One is not pinned against a wall trying to get to the checkout table or to get a look in the closet.
The three sales I went to today were minor, but not a waste of time. My motives for going were curiosity, the endless hunt for vintage cookware and vintage cookery books, and my desire to buy a blender, since my ancient Waring, circa 1960, died.
All three sales were at a nearby subdivision of condominiums. These homes suffered much damage two years ago when the Harpeth River flooded, but are recovered now and once again inhabited by the elderly and retired.
The first sale had few books and fewer cookbooks, but boxes of old cassette tapes, both audio and video, and the out sized black boxes we used to use to play them on. How dated they are now, how remote. But how surprising to see people rushing to look through old L.P. records, which are much sought after!
I saw little of interest until I reached the kitchen, which was empty. (Even at 9am, I do not think there were more than a dozen people in the house,)
I found a vintage Wearever aluminum steamer/double boiler with that pre-Julia 50's look. A few bucks, and not to be resisted-
There were also some good quality storage containers. Banal, I realize, and not interesting until one regrets not having one to freeze leftover roast lamb in- These are always a good and economical deal at estate and yard sales, especially if they are Pyrex and can go from freezer to microwave.
The next two sales were at two neighboring clubhouses at the same condos. One was forgettable, yielding only a cheap blanket and comforter that I will put out on the daybed this winter for the Porch Cats, a feral tribe that has taken up living out there. And there was one interesting book- an encyclopedia of Tennessee history and culture. I might have paid five for it, but $20 is too steep for me. I may stop over tomorrow and see if it is still there and if I can deal-
The first clubhouse was more interesting, not only for the three nice Talbot's blouses in my size and the London Fog lined winter jacket, but because it had two cookbooks-the only cookbooks I saw- and both were choice.
The first, a community volunteer cookbook from a group called the Tennessee Telephone Pioneers, was published in 1981, and new editions of "Dining With Pioneers" still appear from time to time, though now the old name has become "Telecom Pioneers", a name that does not have the friendly, neighborly, good times, traditional spirit of the original. One reads "Telephone Pioneers" and imagines women on the phone across this country-house to house, farm to farm- sharing banana pie recipes and stories about their children and grandchildren. One sees the word"Telecom", and the images morph to outsourcing, layoffs, to nothing good.
The second book, quite worn, is "Kitchen Kollege", a collection of recipes from a 1950's Nashville cooking show on WSMV TV. The author, then Phila Rawlings and later Phila Hach,was a well-traveled and well educated woman who flew over a million miles around the world as an airline stewardess. Later she cooked on the air, then opened a restaurant called "Hachland Hill", which was open for "private dining". She wrote six cookbooks, and now I own two.
Altogether a successful and thrifty day. And I bought a blender. An Oster, for $8.00.