As more and more of my mother’s house is being taken apart by my sister’s actions to sort, to sell, to ask about or to keep the things here in order to satisfy my Dad’s estate and mine that are wrapped up here together, the more the memories of these things awaken that remind me of why my had them, when she bought them,
and why she had me come over to her house to clean it, organize it for her, to re-order all these things around her and put my time into caring for them whether it was crystal, or antiques, or porcelain collectible dolls, or doll patterns, or books, collectibles or doll making supplies, porcelain doll making molds and cast pieces she had made for baby dolls, or her vast collection of cookbooks and recipes, many of them hand-written or clipped from magazines and newspapers – among other things. She loved buying things and knew the story of how she and Daddy had bought each one, where they went out to eat that time and a story about how she came to find each one even though there are very likely over 200,000 individual items in this house, most of them hers and Dad’s but also a vast number of mine because she took nine households of my things over the years and hoarded it as she called me to get it and then wouldn’t allow me to have it or remove it in the thousands of times across thirty something years, (we’ve lived here 42 years in total with me in and out of this house living here on a number of occasions as well) that I’ve really felt this was my home no matter where else I lived or stayed and coming here staying for weeks at a time over the years to help them fix something, clean something, organize something, do some plumbing, change flooring or whatever needed to be done.
Now, as my sister dismantles it, I feel disdain when she tells me hand-cut leaded crystal is to be sold for 50 cents to a dealer with a lot that is 250 pieces of antique, crystal, collectible and modern pieces of glass mixed together that Mom had collected over the years and had me come over to dust, wash, handle so carefully, occasionally pack up for her impeccably with great care on numerous times she wanted them out of her sight for awhile. Now, the $65 or $120 each value that many of them had and even though still in perfect or nearly perfect condition without a chip on them because of my stewardship of them over the years, they aren’t worth anything in the market according to my sister and when she clinks them together in packing the pieces in a bunch of paper into a plastic tub or as she photos them to sell, I come running at the sound and she thinks that is funny because to her they are not worth anything but a waste of her time and effort as is everything here even as she claims she is trying to get some value for them.
About two dozen Precious Moments dolls in miniature still in their unopened boxes and in the display box from my Mom’s art, antiques and collectibles store she had in the 80’s and 90’s were sitting near the glassware and writing this, I’m wondering where my sister has put those now and whether she will be toting all of them off to a thrift store or listing them for 50 cents each as a lot on Ebay despite their obvious value and still being collectibles today that would easily bring $10 or more apiece.
A large lawn and leaf bag full of Cabbage Patch Kids doll heads for making those dolls is in that room too. Are they worth something or is it something my sister will simply toss since it has no value to her? If an elegant working gramophone in its beautiful wood cabinet is only worth $600 based on her listing it on craigslist with two needles for it and albums and since she expects to not get even that from it and knock down the price, is anything here going to bring any of its real price or value to the estate of my Dad or to be given any time in the marketplace to get that value? My mind reels with the prices I’ve had to pay to get things even on craiglist or Ebay and she seems determined to bring as little as possible from the items believing that will move them faster or from any of it perhaps to prove herself right about none of it being worth anything in the marketplace today and how we need to get rid of it all as quickly as she can while doing it by herself and without our help to do it better and faster.
And, my estate along with all of my property and belongings are here too. As one of two executors of Dad’s estate, my sister says it is illegal for her to pay us (me and my daughter who my Dad asked to live here while this all goes on and until the house is sold and divided properly and equally among the twelve heirs and beneficiaries) – to help her and illegal for her to allow us to list any of it, find buyers for specific items or groups of things or to sell them for the estate and us get a 20% commission or small fee for doing that. I know that isn’t accurate, it can’t be right. We could be administrators for the estate on behalf of the executors – that’s what the law says and Daddy talked about with us, but no – and if an outside company is allowed to make a commission of 50% plus their costs, why couldn’t we be given a commission for selling the things and participate in getting the most money from the specialized things?
So, as my sister selects things to buy from the estate at whatever discounted price she is giving for it – which I’m hoping she is writing down and being above board about – and that she has placed to take home with her and put on her own Ebay and Etsy stores or in her antiques booth at a store where she lives, even though she is an executor of Dad’s estate, we’re not allowed to make sure the estate realizes as much of the market value of these collectibles, antiques and specialized items and collections of things as we could for the estate even though Daddy specifically asked us to do that while living here to keep it secured and to maintain everything until the house is sold. I wouldn’t even be here if he had not personally insisted upon that from me and he asked me that on the phone at least twice a phone call across several months of phone calls before I came and then demanded I say yes to him in person on three different occasions in the last month before he died after I came here – (I was here for his last month alive, and have been here since then because he had me move here and my other family members insisted on me doing that as the right thing to do.) He asked it of my daughter and asked that of me more than once in a way that was obviously very important to him and where saying, “no” wasn’t an acceptable answer from either of us. We both agreed to do that. We have been doing that. We are doing that. Dad thought that the estate would make it possible for us to work with getting the most value from everything here that Mom had bought and invested his money in and had me take care of and had hoarded over the years – collections of things with large numbers of items in them, some of which have real value to collectors and come of which obviously would not. And, now the two executors named among our family members, are not going to do that, nor allow us to effectively participate in making that happen.
And, every part of me is saying, there are over 150,000 items here in anyone’s estimation and the family members agree that is the case. There are likely more like 200K items with a basement and attic filled with antiques from Mom’s shop and other things she collected after that until her death in 2013. Even if the average of $1 is gained from the sale of each item – averaging across the whole total, that is $150,000 – $200,000 that should be available to the estate. And, hundreds if not, thousands of items should get far in excess of $1 since they are antiques like curio cabinets and chairs and collectibles and collections of desirable items collectors seek to have like hundreds of Matchbox and the other brand of little cars which as a group would probably be worth something to people who want to add them to their own collections.
There are also tens of thousands of photos from this particular time in America from the 40’s to the present that Dad took across life in the South and in Florida during the CUban Missile crisis days when we lived there and as the first rockets to the moon were being designed and tested at Cape Canaveral and then called Cape Kennedy – to photos and 8mm films of driving across America several times to go live in California from Georgia and then back again to live in Georgia and back to live in California along with our yearly trek to the Carolinas where our family is from during those years as well.
There are photos specific to the space race that Dad and us were so much a part of because of his work at Lockheed and photos and memorabilia from California in the late 60’s and 70’s when we lived there including a program from the first showing of Hello Dolly at Graumann’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles where we got to see it because someone had not picked up their tickets at the window during the last few minutes before the show started and Daddy had just come up to ask if there were any as we were having a touristy moment in Hollywood when we lived in the San Fernando Valley. It would seem that would be worth something in the right memorabilia auction or by emailing it somewhere that has a museum of those kinds of things – my sister and my son that is acting as executors are not going to do that because it “takes too much time” in their estimation, but they won’t let me and my daughter do it either.
Not talking about the pictures from calendars of planes that are seen on this wall – There were times Daddy was on the flight line running tests because of his engineering job with Lockheed, loaned out to Boeing and Graumann and back in his days at Martin and McDonnell-Douglas aeronautics that he has photos and film of planes from sitting here.
There are also photos that Mom and Dad got from other family members that show life in the South in original photographs and their negatives of the South from the 30’s to the 50’s with peach farming long before the 50’s in the Piedmont areas of South Carolina and photos from North Carolina where both Mom’s and Dad’s family had lived before that.
This estate of Dad’s also has test reels of new planes flying over the desert sitting back in the room where I had collected up all the family photos and vast numbers of assorted documents from his work along with all these collectibles Mom sought in crystal and dolls, antiques and china, Pfaltzgraff pieces including lots of serving pieces that to replace even one piece of the set would cost well over $35 even if there was a sale at the replacement site online to a large plastic bin tub full of slotcar tracks that my sons had when they lived here and I found up in the attic to rare memorabilia from events including ones in California, a collection of souvenir postcards and old postcards from the 50’s and 60’s from California and Florida as well as across the country where we traveled by car, vast numbers of stamps from different times that were never catalogued but saved such that they weren’t damaged by Dad especially and memorabilia from the LA Museum of Art and other museums and attractions from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Those all should be handled with an intention of getting value from them in the money they should be bringing to the estate but no, it won’t be in the way it is being done now. The photos won’t be digitized as Daddy asked. And as I said, if the estate even received an average of $1 each across all 200K items, that is $200,000 – but not if they’re being given away or drastically discounted.
About CricketDiane –
I’ve been creating nearly every day since I was a kid and that is over 50 years. I’ve created in numerous ways in a range that moves from art to problem-solving to inventing, creating music, sculpting and painting to writing and doing various computer / online based projects.
“It is better to make the effort to move forward and release the flow of ideas to work with them and do things creatively, create things and invent and write and make – I definitely know that by experience.” – cricketdiane, 2018
You can find more of my art and designs here –
CricketDiane and Cricket House Studios Store on Zazzle
and other blog writings by me here –
On YouTube –
The website for Cricket House Studios Art and Design is found here –
And see my current efforts on GoFundMe to make a board game I created into a video game that I’m working on right now – (NOT active right now – re-analyzing this effort)
The Scared Donkey Mine Money Game by CricketDiane on GoFundMe
Thanks for checking us out!
The Cricket House Studios Team and CricketDiane
Now, at 3331 Elm Creek Drive in Marietta, GA – near Atlanta.