This story begins with Huck, but I promise you it is indeed book-related.
Huck and I went out to another estate sale today. I have to say that I really enjoy watching my nine-year-old son, whose spending threshold is about $2 per item, choose objects he thinks he is going to resell at a garage sale at the end of summer.
Let’s just say that his picks are not what I would pick. But then again, I’m not a nine-year-old boy. And I’m only shopping for books, of which I haven’t found many at the sales we visited this past week.
Here are a few of Huck’s finds from the past week: an old matchbook from Andersen Pea Soup; a pencil case that also acts as a ruler, pencil sharpener, and multiplication table; a giant paperclip; and a miniature toolbox. Total cost for all these things: $3.75.
He plans to give the miniature toolbox to his dad, Thoughtful Husband, for Thoughtful Husband’s birthday, which is coming up soon. Look what’s inside the miniature toolbox: lots and lots of real, miniature screwdrivers! At just $1, that toolbox was a good find for Huck.
Perhaps the acquisition I really couldn’t understand, though, was this:
It’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from the miniature toolbox with miniature screwdrivers. It’s a three-foot long, extremely heavy, cast iron (I think it may be iron?) wrench made for hanging on a wall. An actual wrench is placed next to the big wrench in the picture above to show scale.
Huck fell in love with it immediately. He says if he can’t sell it at the garage sale, he’ll hang it on the wall of his and Tom’s bedroom.
What?! Someone — please. Come by at the end of the summer and buy it so I don’t have to look at it hanging in my house. Please.
Again, the giant wrench and the miniature toolbox are not what I would have picked, but then again, I’m not a nine-year-old boy. Huck knows what I’m interested in finding at estate sales: books. He looks for books for me, too.
Today, he was wandering about the sale and found me staring at a bookcase full of books that are not worth the paper on which they’re printed. I was discouraged. I hate making the time and effort to look for good books and coming home empty-handed. Again.
“Mom! You have to come with me. Right now! I found the perfect thing for you, but I didn’t pick it up since you said not to touch anything fragile. Come right now! You HAVE to get this!”
I had no good reason to trust the judgment of someone who thinks a three-foot-long cast iron wrench is a must-have, but I love Huck’s enthusiasm, so I followed along.
Huck was right. I HAD to have this item. Here it is:
Wondering what this is? It looks like a bunch of old books arranged in a semi-circle.
But look at the back of it:
That’s right. It’s a lamp — a lamp! — with a ceramic base and old leather book spines glued around it. The picture above shows where a lightbulb would go and the electric plug.
I liked the lamp, even though I have no idea where I’m going to put it. The detail that finally made me decide to buy it was the title on one of the book spines that make up the lamp — Dante’s Divine Comedy:
Tacky, yes. But very apropos for an antiquarian bookseller who specializes in Dante, don’t you think?
See you in the stacks!