Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Arts and Furnishing of High Acres

 I have said before that neither of my parents ever saw an antique store they didn't like. And, the house at High Acres became the final Show Case of their efforts. Now in "Show Case", I do not mean anything Sothebys would be interested in. Mama and Daddy were much more eclectic and intrigued by the bazaar. For instance, when one of the old churches near the farm was being torn down and replaced by a new structure, the congregation was thrilled when Mama and Daddy made them an offer to take all the old wooden pews off their hands.

So we found ourselves the proud owners of a dozen or so church pews, some 12 feet, some only 6 feet long. If you've never had any, church pews can be quite handy. Mama had an old harvest table in the kitchen that was often necessary to seat the number of folks Daddy was known to invite for a weekend. A 12 foot long church pew fit well along the side of the harvest table. There was a short one my mother painted red in the entrance hall. I had one painted antique green in my bedroom. Another was placed on the back deck. There was a large one along the center run in the barn. And several were stored upstairs for further use. Mama was less than pleased to find that Stanbury had even taken one and placed it in "her" picnic shed by the pond. 

One afternoon Mama commented to Stanbury that she was looking for an old steamer trunk. Next time we went to the farm, we found 3 old steamer trunks sitting in the great room. Obviously, Stanbury had been to "the sale" (as he called it) and got her 3. He was pretty proud of himself. Given one of them was basically falling apart, the second one was covered with cracked leather, and the third one was made out of aluminum, they were not exactly what Mama had in mind. Stanbury commented to Daddy, "What's she gonna do with them thar old things any how?"

Daddy paid Stanbury for the trunks and gave him a little more guidance for the next sale. Sure enough, the next time up we found 2 antique trunks with beautiful leather, wood, and lovely paper linings. Mama was thrilled. She thanked Stanbury profusely. He beamed in pride. They rarely spoke the same language and he was thrilled he had finally made her happy. She then asked, "Do you ever see any of those old iron beds at those sales? Anything like that you see, just buy it for me." Stanbury looked at Daddy who just gave him that, 'Go ahead, I'll pay for it' look. 

From then on we never knew what treasures awaited us upon our arrival at the farm. Stanbury did come through with two iron beds. One had brass balls on the corner knobs, although only on 3 of the 4 corners. There were old milk cans, a yoke for a plow mule, a dozen or so old green jars, glass transformers, a dress maker's form, a Mexican blanket, and  wooden milk crates. He bought her incomplete sets of mismatched china, an old table, a chest with all the knobs missing, various odd looking chandeliers,  two cane bottom chairs, and several old quilts. Sometimes trash, sometimes treasure, you just never knew. One day, Daddy asked Stanbury how he knew what to buy. "Warll, if it looks like junk, then I know its what Miss Zenith wants. Darn if I know why. But I buy it any way."

Of course Daddy also added to the collection. He had purchased every copy of Reader's Digest Magazine from 1950 through 1970, as well as two or three dozen of the volumes of the Condensed Books. Then somewhere he found a collection of National Geographic Magazines containing various issues from 1910 through 1972. Needless to say, we were not short of reading material.

So when visualizing the house at High Acres you have to start with all the beautiful pieces from that large Victorian home that they had torn down. Then put those lovely carved archways, large molded doorways, the stair case, and huge windows into a large square house that was sided with rough cut siding painted barn red and sitting on top of a mountain. Add to that the eclectic collection of furnishings and objects d'art Mama and Daddy had accumulated. All that results in one unique home.

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