Saturday, July 26, 2014

A very tired wheel

My mother always said that I was the wheel that kept the k's clan together.
I was always busy at her house , sitting in the tiny kitchen by the window with figures.
Always figures.
How much did I buy for the shop?
How much did I spent for myself ?
Figures, accounts, counting money....
My mother could not get her head on all of this , she had always worked and got a paycheck at the end of the month and that was that!
i had always been in retail, for most of my life I had shops and different businesses.

Bob had 2 , his art work and his art restoration.
I had my antique shop and then later the production of the Father Christmas dolls.
Everything had to be kept separate.
Bills paid receipts, bills due never ended and then came January it was going to the books for the IRS.

In between all else we did art show, Christmas show, antique shows.
We would go as far as Richmond Va. and as far South as Jacksonville Fla.
Every week end another place to eat and sleep on a budget until you make the big sale and then
you splurge with a great meal to be served at your table
If the big sale did not come it was to the quiet zone. We just did not have that much to say then.
I did shows with Bob and Sabrina. We alternated and often had two different cities on the same
week end. Bobby came with us from the time he was little till he was in High School.
We'd pick him up at school and get on our way so we could reach our destination and set up in time
for the next morning opening.

One time we did a huge field market. That was in Mass. It was bitter cold and we slept in our mini
camper , trying to stay warm while setting up in the dark. We did not understand why every one was working till 2 am to have it ready. Then we found out that we had clients at 3 am.
Our first ones were from Holland and they bought all our sterling. We had a good start.
The fields yielded some 300 to 500 dealers and there where many fields the farmers arranged them for one event during their quiet season. We only did this one once. Exhausted from driving and the cold it
was not something we liked that much.

Atlanta we did once a month and Bobby had found a movie lot near us and would find some other kids to go and check out the props, he just loved going there and the movie people always invited the kids to check them out.  Then there was the weird lady who only sold skeletons of animals. She had a zoo in her booth, I shuddered but she thought Bobby was very smart and showed him ever one of her bone collection and what to look for in them. He was talking "weird stuff" for days after Atlanta.
Fortunately it was still safe then but as time went on, a dealer got raped in the ladies room, a dealer in his wheelchair had everything stolen in his van (all silver) while he went to the restroom.
In our motel a lady jeweler had everything stolen out of her van, even with security guards or maybe because of security guards. She had nothing left and near Christmas. We all chipped in and gave her money
and our own stocks so she would have something to begin with.

Another dealer was making pins with old watch faces, very original, she was well known and people loved her stuff. Her son had cancer and then the hospital bill was 180.000. She made a deal with the hospital and promised to do shows every week end till she paid this off, she did it and we all rejoiced when she said she had burned the bills all paid now. Her son was back in good health too.
These are the people you learn to look up to in the weekly markets.

Bob insisted on buying ORIGINAL art at every show depending on what we could afford or often could not afford. He insisted that in order for us to make a living we needed to help others too. He was a rare jewel and I loved him for that, his son is the same.

Sabrina and I worked Savannah GA. Christmas show. A huge show and we always did well with our dolls. This time the police came to see us and warn us. The Christmas shop in town had a visitor who offered our dolls at a very low price and was taking "orders". Lucky for us the lady had talked with us and right away she knew the dolls were ours. The police helped us load the van that evening because they thought it would be someone working the night crew who would apprehend the dolls.
I could not believe it, jewelry? yes. Sterling? yes but Father Christmas dollls? We never worried about them.
Police escorted us out of the parking lot to the gate and then 2 nervous women drove to our motel looking back and writing down the licenses in case the same ones were following us.
We did not return to Savannah.

One day I was not well and was in the motel with little Zack and could not go to sell with Brie.
We were in Augusta and had never done the show. We were not happy with the space given which was quite dark and just at the entrance when people come in always in a hurry.
Sabrina called me about mid afternoon.
"I sold out!"
"You did what? "I have one doll left and the promotor is angry because we did not bring enough."
Our dolls were one of a kind and high end and sold for 175.00 and 225.00 some of the large one for 750.00
Our inventory had been like 24 or so plus big one.
Bob was doing another show and he had the rest with him but too far to go get some.
We did eat well that evening with a screaming Zack which we ignored.

Zack started doing shows with us at 6 weeks old.
He was the best baby and I walked miles with him in the show while every body was just so interested in the dimpled baby. One town he hates was Augusta. As soon as we hit the town he would scream. He was a tiny baby, what was it that he just did not want to be in Augusta. We could not even eat out, he'd scream to high heavens. One time he screamed all the way home which was about a 4 hour ride. Never did he do that
in other locations. Every year the same ritual, hated Augusta.

Every November like clock work during our Christmas shows I would get sick, ersatz lungs. I was so overworked as we never had enough stock and yet we started in June or July to make the dolls but they took a long time, each being une piece unique.
One time I ended with pneumonia during Christmas.

So here I am now alone, 82, and I just can't do a lot of things anymore.
I am baffled.
I could multi task like a robot.
Now trying to do 2 things at the same time? Are you kidding me?
So when I see Bob and Brie working on something I should do , well, it just drives me nuts.
No mistake I am very happy with any help, I do not have the money to hire people and an old house is a money pit, it's an old house and I just love it. Age and all.
Yesterday Sabrina and a young lad came to take down 2 trees.
I was a wreck, did she ever take down trees? No.
she did do it and I calmed down a little in the evening.
Took a pill and went to sleep.

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