Day 2 – California Pickin’
The title of today’s post can apply to so many situations. For the purpose of this day it serves only to remind me of fellowship around Aunt Katy’s table listening to life stories, laughing and loving. If it ever fits, you are welcome to quote Cora!
Again, a rainy, rainy day in the forest. At times, torrential, but still a soothing water bath cleansing the earth and soaking us to the gills! Not letting Mother Nature ruin our dig, we set off to the Enchanted Acres to explore the indoor modern day California gold mines!
Donning gloves, face masks and a headlamp I enter the first room that I have been offered to explore. Even the sight of the closed door is inviting and exciting!
Shelves laden with previously organized boxes lined the walls. A curious pairing of bottles makes me smile.
What picker would not be drawn first to the a box labeled, “May Be Valuable?” I sift through the totes of Christmas items on my way to that box calling out to me. The Christmas items I mentally catagorize as “great garage sale inventory.” I set aside a couple of books, an old 45 record and a some smaller tskchockis before I crack the lid on “the valuables.” Stacked inside were some labeless dishes, which may be valuable, didn’t want to spend time looking them up, more books; and “the hand!” Now that’s one I’m bringing home! Picture to follow. In my tunnel vision I didn’t take time to snap a photo!
The call for food snapped me from my world of bliss to the kitchen table where a yummy breakfast was waiting and served over another round of more of Cora’s amazing life stories…Thank you Father, but I think Jesus knows! Conversation then turned to The West Wing! “Oh, I must take you now to the West Wing. And off we go to forget for awhile the yet undiscovered treasures in “the room.”
Boots on, jackets zipped, gloves protecting our hands from whatever nature may have left lying on surfaces, and masks back in place, we head outside. Wow, more pots! They are so beautiful. Up the outdoor wet and slippery wooden staircase, around to the back of the house we ascend into the caverns of The West Wing.
With eyes darting everywhere I struggle with the decision of where to start. Again, nooks and crannies packed with untold stories. This must be where the former professional photographer owner did much of his studio work. Cameras, film, reels, empty film cannisters, paper supplies, uncategorized photos and postcards litter the spanse of the entire upper room. I am drawn to two distinct areas, a workbence area and a desk area.
My organizational penchance controlling me, I begin grouping like items: pottery (yes, more and more pottery of every size, shape and composition), glass, ephemera, old money, jewelry, all have their own display in the “departments” of my virtual thrift store. I add a few things to my “must have” basket; an amazing sterling silver bracelet, old photos and several collectible “smalls.” I salvage a beautiful old Scandenavian metal candle holder likely once used to celebrate Saint Lucia at Christmas time.
I feel a strong pull to move onto the workbench. Stored safely in vintage glass refrigerator keeper boxes I find enough glass beads to fill many of the pots that are stacked in the yard. Tucked behind, forgotten years ago, a true treasure trove of cool stuff layered in boxes-in-boxes! Into the “keep” basket goes a pair of antique knives, old silver coins, old fishing lures, more ephemera, old marbles of every size and category and some cool old bottle glass things that look like old medicine bottle stoppers. I’ve got to look those up. No time to do that now!
I discover an amazing old, but still wrapped in plastic and “new with tags” huge bursting with colors ceramic serving bowl from Poland. Cora loves this one and is pulling it aside for personal use and to honor her Polish heritage. Cora comes and goes to check on my welfare. I am still in my blissful state of euphoria!
We sadly pitch many old books that would likely have been of some value were it not for the mold from having lived in the outdoor elements of the humid forest.
About three hours later we decide to call it quits in the West Wing and bring our treasures in for further inspection and a rest. We defy the weather gods and safely make our way back down the wet slippery stairs, protecting our treasures from the elements. It’s only at this time that I realize that I left the first room without grabbing my finds. Back in for one last glance I retrieve my goodies and add them to the “keep” pile. I return the shelves to their original organized state and close the door on another amazing memory.
This day has brought me through so many emotions. Anticipation for the unknown adventure and treasures, at some point turned to solitude and reflection on all of the lives that each item may have touched on their way to these resting spots. Each, I’m sure, has a story to tell., All at the same time, overwhelming gratitude for this experience. Again, the value of things that may find their way for resale on the internet far overshadowed by the bursting love in my heart getting to spend precious time and share more with my extended family.
How will I ever say thank you?
A few months ago I struck up a casual Facebook conversation with a “distant” relative about my book, Flea Market Travel, Treasures and Tips. I was sitting at the kitchen table of my daughter’s home in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Cora was tucked in the tranquility of her Enchanted Acres home nestled deep in the foothills of the Redwood Forest in northern California. Casual exchanges revealed discovery that we are both writers and have a passion for sharing non-fiction based on true stories. It wasn’t long before those early polite electronic exchanges became a catalyst to bind family ties left frayed by time, distance, and circumstance.
Cora invited me to visit her home. I, being one to never turn down a travel invitation, without hesitation, accepted her invitation. Thanks to a Christmas gift of airfare from my husband, together with our shared cousin and my travel buddy Stephanie, we planned our reunion adventure.
Cora’s home is not the typical sprawling ranch that you imagine when you think “California living.” She and her beautiful family have chosen instead to revive and restore a home and property left vagrant by a former hoarding couple, a veritable pickers paradise!
With boots, flashlight, loupe and gloves in hand…I packed my bags and headed for the Redwood Forest. Let this picking reunion begin.
A cold and rainy Day One didn’t deter us. I got a peripheral glimpse of the maze of buildings on the sprawling four acre property. I gazed in wonder at the volume and diversity of treasures littering the forest floor and those which Cora has unearthed in the nooks and crannies of secret passages inside the home. We took a drive around the edges of a majestic redwood park and hit up several local thrift stores. We chatted and shared long held family tales and reveled in the renewed security of our family bond.
Not only is this adventure providing me an opportunity to “pick” among treasures scattered on the forest floors and hidden deep in abandoned sheds, shacks and cavernous hallways of Cora’s Enchanted Acres home, but for all of us, the gift of family ties left raveled by time and now tightly bound through a week of travel, treasures, tales and love.
My anticipation is palpable! My heart is full.
I share my Day One discoveries with you in this post with more to come as our week unfolds. I hope you enjoy my pictorial ride-along.