Sunday, February 24, 2008

While you were sleeping...

Early, early Friday morning Liz drove her ancient Honda to deep southwest Portland for an estate sale. The sun was just coming up, and orange light filtered beyond Mt. Hood. The air outside smelled moist and earthy, like it does when you unzip your tent flap after a night camping.

Liz lined up in front of a neglected 1950s ranch-style house. The sale wouldn't start for another three hours, but already sale-goers' cars choked the street and would soon start filling the nearby Charthouse restaurant's parking lot. The sale had been billed as a vintage-clothes-lover's dream, and photos posted online showed brightly-colored coats, rows of cocktail dresses, and purses with matching shoes.

When staff from the estate sale company arrived a few hours before the sale opened, the crowd waiting outside started jostling for position. The estate sale company had posted a note on the door saying that they would only honor the line at the door. Meanwhile, the people waiting in their cars, some since five in the morning, were steamed that people who had arrived later but waited at the house might get in before they did. The crowd was ugly. Nasty words were exchanged. Liz was patient, even philosophical. "I always thought someone should do a movie about estate sales," she said.

The sale turned out not to be the bonanza promised, but Liz still managed to walk out with an armload of finds: the gorgeous black and white dress Aley models in the photo above, a chocolate silk Cardin dress, a Diane von Furstenberg skirt and shirt set, a Lanvin dress from I Magnin, a black silk evening coat that looks to be Givenchy, and much more. Exhausted, Liz loaded up her Honda and headed home for lunch and a nap. Some of the estate sale booty is being priced and put in the store as I write.

All I can say is that I'm grateful that Liz is on the patrol. And all while I'm still in bed.


  1. Ooo, I went to that sale too. There were some real knockouts there, but what took the cake for me was the black and gold velvet wallpaper in the entry way.

  2. Yes! I loved how the dining room had the same wallpaper, only with the colors reversed.