Wednesday, May 8, 2019

April Into May: Shamsky, Ducks, Basements And Cinco de Mayo

The end of April slid right into the beginning of May very quickly. We were pretty busy so time flew. The weather has been consistently rainy. It hasn't rained all of the time...just most of the time. During the month of April, there were more days with some recorded rain than during any month since records have been kept in our area. It wasn't the rainiest April. It was the rainiest month...period...ever! The first few days of May brought us a completely dry May 1st followed by five days with some recorded rainfall. The pattern continues. 

On the last Tuesday of April, Art Shamsky of the 1969 World Champion New York Mets had a book signing and we were there.

Art Shamsky and his co-author, Erik Sherman

Co-authors, Erik Sherman and Art Shamsky, with their new book

In the audience, as introduced by Art Shamsky, was Fred Cambria who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1970. Art and Fred are good friends and play golf together often. Fred's major league career lasted only six games due to arm problems. He was a really nice guy and he posed for a picture with us.

Fred Cambria on his 1971 Topps rookie card. Fred told us that he also appeared on a 1972 rookie card and he did! He shared that card with Richie Zisk. We have both of his rookie cards.

With Art Shamsky! 

The book...After The Miracle.

Art Shamsky personalized the book for us and his co-author, Erik Sherman, also signed it.

There were some estate sales the last weekend in April but the few that appealed to us were second day sales. We had to make a choice between searching through leftovers or being productive at home. We chose productivity. The next weekend would be pretty busy. This was our chance to get ahead and stay ahead. It worked out well.

The following week was a four day workweek as we chose to take a vacation on Friday. It would allow us to go to a couple of good estate sales and would give us the opportunity to finalize our preparation for our annual Cinco de Mayo party. Each day of the week seemed long as we tried to be as productive as we could at work so that taking off Friday wouldn't kill us the following Monday. When the Thursday workday had finally passed, we could breathe deep. We came home to find exciting mail.

We are members of The Official Munsters Fan Group on Facebook whose two administrators are Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster) and Leila Murray (Butch's wife). They ran a quick contest where the first ten fans to react to a post would get a couple of free Munsters cards mailed directly from Leila. Monica reacted quickly to that post. We got our gift! 

Thursday was also 85 Cent Ice Cream Cone Day at Carvel. Now, who could pass up that! Not us! 

We set a target of waking up early on Friday as we had a very busy day planned which included two estate sales. We wanted to get to the first one early enough to be amongst the first inside. The sale was described as "vintage and collectibles" with a "digger basement with vintage bar signs". Plus, it was run by one of our favorite estate sale companies. An early start was planned and that plan worked out well. 

The first sale on our list was located two counties to our west (a 45 minute drive) but we were there an hour before it opened and were #14 and #15 in line.

The first fifteen in line were let in at the start which meant we were in! The basement was where we started. Remember it being described as a digger? It was! 

There were boxes and bags everywhere! 

Monica was very happy here!

From this angle, you can see the very cool basement bar in the distance.

A closer look at that basement bar

This old lighted Miller bucket garnered a lot of interest but the fact that is was wired directly to the wall frightened some people away. Eventually, someone managed to get it.

On the other side of the basement, there was this great old stove.

These basement cabinets were really cool and, of course, actually made of wood.

The vintage metal cabinet was really cool, too. The whole basement was a lot of fun and we spent over an hour in that basement and only about ten minutes in the rest of the house (which was pretty boring). The sale was everything we had hoped and we left with some vintage Christmas things, some vintage ceramic pieces, an old Arthur Treacher's tray, a vintage sweater for Monica and so much more. 

It was a great start to our saling day but it wasn't over because we had one more on our list. It was run by another of our favorite tag sale companies. described as "an entire house of goodies" and although it didn't promise the same level of excitement as the first sale, it was run by one of our favorite tag sales companies and it was on the way home. The pictures from the ad showed bar stuff, records and a little Pyrex.

We arrived at sale #2 long after any lines had come and gone.

This house had a basement bar, too, but it was a lot neater than the one at the first house and with far fewer cool things around it. Most of the really cool things probably left with the first people at this sale.

This was on the bar and, let's face it...clowns on straw boxes are always cool!

That basement had an old stove and this very cool room divider cabinet, both of which probably held more prestigious spots in this house decades earlier.

This great, old refrigerator was sitting in the basement.

These old cabinets, like the stove, refrigerator and room divider cabinet, were probably in the kitchen upstairs when this house was built. This basement became a retirement community for 1950's kitchens. 

Like the first house, everything north of the basement was kind of boring. We missed out on the crowds here and we may have missed on anything great that might have been here but we did not leave empty-handed. Four records, an old Cooperstown pennant and some vintage Tupperware coasters came home with us.

We went home to rest after our sales and by rest, we mean nap. Hey! It was a day off so why not? We needed it! We got up early on our day off and we had evening plans which would turn out to be quite an adventure in itself. The nap wasn't all that long but it was refreshing and we were ready to tackle the evening.

We had tickets for the home opener of the Long Island Ducks, a Long Island minor league baseball team competing in the Atlantic League.

Good news! The first 1500 fans got a free Wally Backman bobblehead and we got them! Wally Backman is their new manager and he was one of the 1986 World Champion New York Mets.

Bad news! When we bought our hot dogs, we found out that they don't have brown mustard! They only have yellow mustard! That is not the way it is done in New York! Rob made the best of it and ate three hot dogs anyway. Monica had one plus a pretzel.
Good news! We had great seats. We were sitting in the third row just to the left of home plate! 

Bad news! It was misty and drizzling the entire game and was pretty chilly. Still, we were going to have fun just like the Long Island Duck's mascot, Quackerjack. 

Good news! There's Wally Backman out on the field before the game and he was soon joined by Bud Harrelson. Bud was a member of the 1969 World Champion Mets and was coach on the 1986 World Champion New York Mets. He is also a part owner of the Ducks and a former manager of the team. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2016 and his appearances are limited but he was here tonight.

Bad news! The first inning gets underway. Well, that wasn't actually the bad news but the bad news came in the bottom of the first. With one out, a player fouled a ball back behind home plate. As you can see by the picture, we were behind the netting. The ball flew well over our heads and we figured that would be the last we would see of that ball. It wasn't. The ball ricocheted off a metal sign on the stands. It flew back through the sky and, with our backs turned to imminent danger, hit Rob in the face and ricocheted into Monica's head (softened by the hood she was wearing). It knocked Rob's glasses off. Medical staff escorted Rob to their onsite triage with Monica in tow. Rob sustained a small cut above his left eye, a small cut on the right side of the bridge of his nose (from the glasses) and a swollen nose but nothing was broken, not even his glasses. Monica was checked out, too, and she just had a small bump. We'll call this good news...and we got the ball. We were back in our seats by the second inning.

They sell ball cubes in the gift shop so we bought one to protect this memory and to keep fresh in case Rob is ever in an accident and needs to be identified. A simple swab test on this ball will easily pick up Rob's skin cells and DNA. 

As we walked around the stadium a little later, we caught a different view of the field.

More good news! We ran into an old friend of ours from the club days and had fun catching up. 

While we were catching up with our old friend, we saw another foul ball come into the area where we were sitting earlier. One of our guys sitting next to us caught a foul ball after it first hit a sign behind them, ricocheted back towards the seats, hit the seat I was sitting in and popped up into the air. When Quackerjack was walking around our section, one of the guys insisted that we all pose for a picture with him. It will be a night none of us will ever forget.

Quackerjack signed our ball, "QJ". The Ducks eventually lost in the tenth inning but we weren't around at the end. By the seventh inning, Rob was getting a headache and we decided to go home to relax and prepare ourselves for a busy Saturday. We were both still a little sore on Saturday but we were ready to go! 

Saturday morning arrived and we got off to an early start again. These ducks were on our street as we drove by as a reminder that our adventures amongst the ducks was about to begin once again. There were two sales on our list and we knew which one we wanted to go to first. 

We were once again ready for an opening at a tag sale run by one of our favorites. They were the same company that ran that second sale from the day before. We were #16 and #17 this time but we were still in the first group allowed inside.

The basement, once again, was our first target. The sale was described as a packed house and the pictures showed us a cool bar, some bar items and some other old things which all appeared to be in the basement. Our starting point was an easy choice. 

Christmas stuff! We found a few things to our liking on this table and in the boxes beneath the table. 

Knotty pine walls. An old tile floor. There were so many things that were so very right about this picture.

And then there was this bar. Look how cool this one is! 

A second look at this cool bar. Look at the cool bar stools, too! 

In one of the back rooms of this basement sat this cool 1950's kitchen table. It wasn't our favorite color but that does not take away from its coolness at all! 

A mounted pencil sharpener! Always a good sign! 

Our host, Ron, alongside the owner of the house. The house belonged to his parents and he grew up here. He had some great memories of this house. 

Unlike the sales on Friday, there were things worth seeing on the other floors. There was this old bathroom with yellow tile and an olive green toilet and tub. 

 There was a second great bathroom and this one was mainly pink

The kitchen had a old yellow stove, green tile and a great vintage exhaust fan. 

There was also an old sunroom with louver glass windows and we love sunrooms. 
Although we didn't find anything we wanted on any floor other than the basement, we enjoyed some of the other rooms. When we left, it was with some Christmas things, some records and a few other things. As it turned out, this was our only sale of the day. After getting some breakfast, we arrived to find a line outside the other sale on our list. That sale didn't look all that good to begin with so we decided not to wait. We still had things to do. That evening, we were hosting our annual Cinco de Mayo party! 

In preparation for the party, we always do some theme decorating. What self-respecting Cinco de Mayo party doesn't have an authentic 1960's Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass poster? Seriously! 


Maracas from Mexico

More decorations

Sometimes, you just have to get the normal household items to get festive by wearing mini sombreros like this tiki.

More decorations

More decorations

We try to fit Cinco de Mayo decorations everywhere we can. 

The couch gets Mexican blankets

More decorations

Our trusty Cinco de Mayo drink straw holder

We didn't have to decorate these. They hang in our house all year round and the two on the outside are bullfighters.

Our traditional "Wall Of Siesta". If you get caught on film napping during the year, we get photoshopped with a sombrero and moustache and make the "Wall Of Siesta". 

The Cinco de Mayo dinner is ready for all to enjoy. 

Richard and Dad

Valerie, Marissa, Lenny and Peter

Monica in her beautiful Cinco de Mayo skirt. A fun time was had by all! 

When Sunday arrived, we were tired so we spent the day indoors. We undecorated, did some household chores and found some time to relax as well. Oh, and we did look at the stuff we found over the weekend. This is what we saw:

Some records

A box of Cowboys Classics. There are three 7-inch records inside.

Vintage cookbooks
A postcard of the Hi-Way Diner in West Haverstraw, New York. We couldn't find anything current on the internet about it so we assume it is long gone.

Vintage greeting cards. The one on the left folds out into a honeycomb design.

A vintage flamingo beach towel

An old Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips tray

Lots of cocktail stirrers. Most are whistle stirrers.

A vintage sweater for Monica 

A vintage Cooperstown pennant, two books of matches (Don Ho and the New York Giants), a Rheingold bottle opener and a chef spoon rest

Small Vintage Tupperware bowls, a mug from White Tower Hamburgers, some old Tupperware coasters, a pair of Flintstones glasses and a pink elephant glass

Lots of old Easter cake toppers

A pair of vintage hula girl bobble nodders (made in Japan), an old ceramic Easter bunny, a pair of skunk salt and pepper shakers (made in Japan), a Kreiss skunk dresser caddy/bank (made in Japan), Porky Pine (from Pogo), wooden Humpty Dumpty salt and pepper shakers, two different deer and a Marx Chilly and Willy Penguin ramp walker

Some Christmas records

A vintage Christmas gift tag and two vintage Christmas kitchen towels

A box of Shiny Brite ornaments

Inside the Shiny Brite box

An empty Woolworth's ornament box, a Tom and Jerry bowl and mug set and a kneehugger elf (marked Japan). The ornament box may be empty but we have plenty of ornaments that can fill that box.

Two old Christmas squeak toys, a 1970's plastic Santa display, an old plastic reindeer, a Lefton ceramic winking Christmas girl and boy, a Napco ceramic Christmas girl head and a ceramic angel bell. Those last three items are all marked Japan

Two Christmas glass electric houses. The boxes are marked Japan. Here is what is inside...

Both light up when you plug them in

It was a very busy weekend with plenty of smiles (and maybe a few bruises but mostly smiles). It's easy to smile when you're sharing your adventures with the person you love.