An Estate Sale Like No Other.

We went to an estate sale this past weekend and it turned into something of an obsession for me.

As we pulled up to the old house, we noticed that the outside had been neglected for quite some time. The yard looked like the Swamp of Sadness from The Neverending Story. As we pulled around to the back, we realized the house was much bigger than our initial impression. 

We started in the garage. Eric was looking through all the boring man-stuff and I told him I was heading inside. Only I didn't make it past the garage threshold because the narrow makeshift hallway looked like something out of a haunted house. I waited till Eric was done and we made our entrance together.

Off of the hallway was a small indoor shed that looked like it was mainly used for gardening supplies. There were vines growing through the cracks in the roof. It looked like something from Flowers in the Attic or American Horror Story. Up till this point, the house wasn't exactly very inviting feeling. However, I'm a sucker for a good vintage deal, so we pushed forward.

We rounded the corner and were immediately met with a stairway. There was a built-in lift chair and it was obvious that this estate sale was because of an older person's passing.

The upstairs consisted of one large bedroom and one large bathroom. The bathroom had double sinks, a built in closet space, and a door that seemed to lead to nowhere, but actually opened up to a small patio space built on the first story roof.

There wasn't too much of interest to us in the bedroom. A pair of super cool boots that probably would have cost $200 at Aldo or Urban Outfitters, but were too small for Eric. Lots of old computer pieces and floppy disks. I also came across an old file folder that contained the quit claim deed for the house that Benjamin Bachman had signed in 1940-something. It showed that he was in the Navy and was a bachelor at the time of purchase.

Downstairs, the first room we walked into was the kitchen. It was huge. And pink.

With all of the narrow hallways and creepy upstairs doors and pink kitchens, it felt like we were in the Winchester Mystery House. (I don't know if you can see, but the kitchen cupboards had pink flowery fabric in the panels.)

The kitchen sink

There were lots of dish sets. I would have loved to have snatched some of these up, especially the pink set, but we didn't really need them, nor do we have the space for them.

The rooms were stocked full of years of treasures. I could walk in a room, look around, leave, come back and find all new items that had been unearthed by fellow shoppers. As I paid more attention to things, I noticed the "haunted" feeling of the house was slowly going away. Instead, I felt more like I was in a house that I had known all of my life. It was like being at a grandparents' house.

I learned that Ben Bachman married a woman named Marjorie.

And that Marjorie played the organ at church for many years.

This is all sheet music

Ben had worked as an engineer at the local naval base. He was very much into building things- like the whole second story of his house- and had attached most of the bookcases in the house to the walls. (It was very earthquake-proof.) Every room had speakers built into the walls.

There were definitely a few interesting things there, like the cord closet...

And these old bottles (you could barely make out the old naval pharmacy address on one)...

And there were some sad things, like newspaper cutouts...

And a pair of glasses buried in a hatbox of old crochet pieces...

But mostly, it was just quick glimpses into the life of a loving, Christian family that had once lived in this house. 

Recipes taped in the kitchen cupboards

(Katie- I thought of you when I saw these. 
By the time I came back into the room, they were both gone.)

Clothing patterns

The original Elf on a Shelf

We ended up buying a few records, the black typewriter from the photo above, a cookie sheet for mini bundt cakes, and two index card boxes full of handwritten recipes. I can't wait to see what family-approved recipes I've just inherited. 

Upon paying for our loot, I struck up a conversation with the woman who was managing the estate sale. She told us that Ben had purchased this house right when he got out of the Navy. He and Marjorie ended up having six children, hence the considerably large kitchen and add-ons. More recently, it was just Ben and his granddaughter living in the house. She was his caretaker. The way the woman described the house upon their arrival sounded something akin to hoarders (minus the filth). In the weeks leading up to the sale, the family came in and cleared out all of the photos and sentimental items. (There was lots of emptied out photo albums left behind. It seemed sad and ghostlike.) Just knowing the amount of cool stuff that was left behind, I can't even imagine what kind of stuff the family took with them. Apparently, it was truckloads full.

In the short amount of time that we were at the house (a couple of hours), I felt like I'd learn so much about these people. It seemed like there had been such a happy family living there, it was almost a shame to leave. 

When we got home, I did some Googling on Ben Bachman. It turns out his son became a captain in the air force and flew a stealth fighter in a local air show. Marjorie had passed away sometime before 2006. 

Ben was born and raised in California. He graduated from UC Berkeley and had participated in the invasion of Normandy, as well as the battle of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. 

In the end, he was surrounded by his family when he passed away peacefully at home. 


Kara said...

Soooo awesome. I can't believe the family left behind that Ben & Marjorie plate! Seems like it would be a treasured family heirloom. I've never been to an estate sale but they seem really cool. I bet there would be some awesome old stuff in some of these Phoenix homes.

Deborah said...

The clues we leave about ourselves. You guys spent time doing my very favorite thing.

When I saw the typewriters I screeched a little! I'm so glad you brought one home.

I want the other one.

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