When Uncle Jack died last September my sisters and I were thrown into a whirlwind of the unknown. We had no idea the amount of tasks that we would be faced with. It’s been a swirling dervish all its own as the three of us are at odds with this, that and the other thing and each other.
The Dutch Colonial house built in 1927 had been in our family since 1950. It had belonged to our grandparents and a place where we felt was ours too in the many visits over the years. I remember when the four of us (three sisters and one brother) would be bouncing in our station wagon and before our folks could say anything we jumped out of the car, burst through the door, and ran immediately to the kitchen to help ourselves to bottles of real coca cola. We never got this at home and we always knew a treat like this was waiting for us. Grammy admonished us as it was not very polite to run through someone’s house. This was the one and only time we would ever do that! Hey, we were kids, we ran around, hopped, skipped, and jumped wherever, whenever.
The seesaw Grampa made using the base of a cut down tree trunk that was still in place and the climbing tree with a trapeze were the elements of a simple, fun back yard which ended at the stonewall. This had a flat surface and we would run the length of that to the left and to the right scampering by all the neighbors houses and was more fun at night because no one could see us.
Holiday seasons came and went. Easter egg hunts, and summer croquet games with lemonade afterwards, trips to Pomps Pond, the Bird Sanctuary at Phillips Academy and to Ballardvale for ice cream were long over.
Time passes and Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter feasts of using the pewter dinnerware, fancy glasses and the monogrammed tableware have long passed by. One by one physical memories of family generations were packed up, discarded, or given away. Uncle Jack had rarely moved items, gotten rid of anything, or changed and modernized much of the contents when he took over the house 35 years ago from his parents. Paintings, portraits, art work, tons of family history in binders and strong boxes have now been divvied up. It seemed like our grandparents had just been on holiday for a time as things on the walls, items on the fireplace mantel and in bookshelves had stayed in place. Grampa’s architecture life continues in a sense when I use his drawing table in my own art room. I have his metal drawer unit that he kept his blueprints in for my art paper and projects. Scattered throughout the room are paintings; his, mine, and all my daughters various drawings, paintings and stuff I can’t get rid of – not just yet.
The electric, plumbing, flooring issues, insulation and multiple surprises have all been dealt with a strong arm from one sister. It’s been a rough road knowing the house will be sold this spring with proceeds to a Trust fund.
One last large collection I decided I could try to find a home for, are over a hundred LP’s – old vinyl recordings from back in the day. Also the 78’s from the turn of last century that my grandparents amassed is huge and they are extremely heavy! I remember their gramophone but that somehow disappeared a long time ago. Over the last few years Steve and I have gotten back into classic vinyl, bought a new player and are slowly picking up our favorites. We found Pitchfork Records in Concord, NH and have ventured up there more than a few times. We play our favorites now and again such as, Moody Blues, Dan Fogelberg, J. Geil’s, Average White Band , POCO, to name a few.
I had no clue what to do with the 78’s and put in a call to Pitchfork Records. They couldn’t help but gave me the name of a local place in Manchester that they thought might be able to help offload the weight. We found Music Connection tucked away on South Willow Street behind MASA Restaurant and the 99 Restaurant. John Benedict is co-owner of this business which has been around for 25 years. He and his business partner knew that this was THE place about a year and a half ago and decided to buy into it. The shop has an amazing collection and selection of more than just LP’s. So each week I would bring as many LP’s and only a few 78’s that I could carry to see if there was a market for them. John knows his stuff and unfortunately each week he would shake his head, “Sorry”. Mitch Miller, Boston Pops and scores of other similar tunes were not on the top of any list. It took about 5 visits for John to look at the collection. He was extremely polite in trying to help but to no avail. He suggested a buck a piece at a yard sale or go to a music event where they sell these (like an auction). I’m all set with that. I have one more idea before they are discarded so we’ll see. He did play one of my 78’s so I could hear it on a Victrola. It was neat! I researched the history of the invention of records, vinyl, 78’s, 45’s, etc. It’s all pretty fascinating.
If you want to go back to the day of VINYL and hear some amazing music I highly recommend Music Connection (and Pitchfork). The stacks of boxes of LP’s, movies, CD’s etc. numbering into the thousands I would see each week are now pretty well organized. You see he was on a mission just a few weeks ago. NH Chronicle is filming an episode at the shop on February 15 and he had to ramp up his game and have the place ready to meet ‘n greet the film crew. Check out Music Connection’s website, the video on YELP! and their NH Chronicle debut.
It’s been a little sad to remove things from a house that to us has stood still with time. But then I look at the mantel clock from 1830 that I had repaired and the desk with a pull down top and claw feet that now sits in our foyer and know that the Wait family will always be here with these pieces. I also have two portraits that are waiting to be restored. One is my great-grandfather, Robert Pote Wait who is the main character a Civil War novel I’ve written and his sister Frances. The date of the two portraits are estimated to be have been painted around 1858. But now there is a clause in the contract. Steve and I decided that if something comes into our house, something else has to leave. I think we’ll have to flip a coin on that one.