Thursday, July 23, 2009
Road Trip! Baraboo - Part I
Last week my friend Kathy and I headed up to Baraboo, Wisconsin. The original winter quarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus was on the Baraboo River and the largest surviving group of original circus structures is here. Circus World Museum brings that rich history to life. The quaint town of Baraboo is loaded with well-preserved buildings and homes.
But we were in search of history of a different kind. Providentially, we'd met a lady at an auction a couple of weeks earlier, who told us about an estate sale that she was helping with in Baraboo. Her nieces were selling their Grandmother's estate. We were intrigued by the tidbits we heard and decided that we needed to be first in line for this sale.
After scouting out the location of the sale we checked into our hotel. We were up at 4:40 the next morning and made the short drive to the farm. As it turns out, we could have slept until 6:30 and still been first. Oh well! (We're used to attending sales in the Milwaukee area, where the first arrivals often sleep overnight in their cars.) It was a beautiful morning and we sat on the steps of the old house and enjoyed the early sun.
The barns were opened at 8:00 and we came out with egg crates, stools, chairs, old signs and more. Kathy snagged a shabby green "potty" chair. After cleaning ourselves up with Wet Wipes, (a must-have in the vehicle of an antiquer!), we were ready to shop inside when the house was opened. Everything had been moved to the main floor and fifteen people were allowed inside initially.
Arriving first paid off. We came out with loads of wonderful vintage hats, tins, Cracker Jack prizes, paper dolls, toys and so much more.
This fun & friendly family ran the sale perfectly. They wore name tags and were stationed throughout the property and in each room of the house. Parking areas were marked off and cars were directed safely in and out. Purchases were carried out to vehicles for loading. It was without a doubt the best-organized sale I've attended in quite some time.
One granddaughter told me that while they felt a little bad about letting everything go, there wasn't any sentimental attachment to the items in the sale; they had never seen most of the stuff prior to the death of their Grandmother. She had kept the living room curtained off and they were never allowed in. Upstairs was also off limits. She kept a slate and chalk in one drawer of the buffet and that's what the five girls were allowed to play with when they visited.
The big old farmhouse that seemed like it should have echoed with laughter, did not have quite the history that we had imagined. Perhaps because little hands never played with Grandma's "old things", they were preserved to be passed on to others that will cherish them. It was a sale we'll remember for years to come.
Every now and then you have a 'golden' day and ours had just begun when we left this sale...check back for Part II coming soon!