24 January 2010

Millie and Mildred

This is Millie.

Millie was named after the owner of the house we tore down, whose name was Mildred. (I don't have a picture of Mildred. I wish I did.)

Mildred was the original owner of the house, built in 1963. From what we've heard from neighbors (some of whom have also been there since the beginning), it wasn't the happiest of families. Mildred, who was 85, was widowed several years ago and had since suffered some kind of injury that impaired her mobility. Apparently she had not left the house in quite some time. As an elderly woman, she was also very security-minded and had installed burglar bars on all of the windows. Late at night last January 17, a fire started in her kitchen. She was not able to get out of the house, and the burglar bars impeded the firefighters' access to her. Once she was rescued, Mildred was taken to the hospital, where she died of smoke inhalation.

Since we signed the contract to purchase the the house, we have learned everything we could about Mildred. There was an estate sale in the backyard shortly before we closed on the purchase. We bought a few decorative items that we thought should go back into the house -- platters, a vase, a piano bench that we will refinish and use as a small table. (I also bought a pair of vintage pink gloves -- so cute.) We saw that Mildred collected salt and pepper shakers (hundreds of them), among lots and lots (and LOTS) of other things.

The day we tore the house down, we went in one last time (we had been inside perhaps three our four other times). Steve found a rake, which we have since used several times, and I found a huge heap of shoeboxes in the garage. I think the estate sale people had moved things around a few times before and after the estate sale and forgot some of the shoes in the garage. Mildred had hundreds of pairs of shoes, many of which had never been worn, but the estate sale company took care of all but these 58:

Most of the boxes were sooty, so I organized the shoes in larger boxes (mostly by style; she was quite a fan of slingback sandals) and am donating them to Goodwill tomorrow.

And we are so glad we are able to create a happier home this time around.

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