Friday, February 25, 2011

The Church Lady and the Victrola

Foxtrot Anyone?

I first learned of the Church Garage Sale because of a Facebook post searching for a home for a load of old vinyl records. This was my first hint of technology meeting theocracy, though I did not yet understand the near biblical nature of its impending outcome.
A far leap from the old church bulletin announcement, a Church Guy posted and said he would pick up the albums. And he did. So, out with about 200 LPs that I’d picked through over and over again, to thin my permanent collection, and in with the freedom of the extra space. Relief. My doctor was threatening to order another dumpster anyway.
I next learned of my brother the heirloom tosser the afternoon of the sale. While visiting with my mother and sister, Mom related how my brother had stocked the church garage sale by emptying his attic. Most of it was ready to go but Mom told me of racing over to the church and buying back a fine bowl of her grandmother’s and a rocking chair. Then in a very quiet, somewhat apologetic voice, I heard the word “Victrola.” Mom knew, I knew, everyone knew that there was going to be blood on the moon when I saw my brother.
He didn’t even ask me if I wanted the Victrola. Wow. That Victrola was symbolic of the magic of the old family home and my first bonding with music and art. 
With steam and profanity exuding from my pores and vocal chords, I raced to the church, just as my mother had earlier that day. Finding locked doors, I banged on the windows. A church that is never locked was in full lockdown due to a bunch of junk and my Victrola in the basement! 
Mom instructed me to call the Church Lady and explain the situation. I told her that Church Lady does not like me. Normally, this would not bother me a bit, but this was different. She had my Victrola under her control in the church basement.
So, I conned Jim into making the call. He talked her up in the usual Jim way--he spoke to her as if she was expecting his call--and explained the error of our brother’s judgment. Church Lady conceeded by saying she would hold it for me and charge me “only $200,” since it “used to be in the family.” Acceptable behavior? I think not. But Jim wouldn’t call her back when i told him he needed to wheel and deal her for me and i realized that ultimately the Victrola was back within my grasp.
I rolled down to the sale early, located Church Lady, and started to write the check. In a chipper voice, she announced, “That will be $300.” Immediately, I reminded her that she had promised to sell it back for $200. 
She retorted that it was $200 for the Victrola and $100—only half price--for the stand. It was beat up with peeling veneer, and i didn’t have room for it anyway. So I let Church Lady know that I just wanted the Victrola. Almost preening her bird-like bosom, she said “well then you won’t have any records to play.” I had forgotten the stand had all the 78 RPM records tucked in the fold out bottom of the stand. I wrote the $300 check, then called and told my brother that he was to deliver my repatriated Victrola to my house. This directive, delivered with what is now commonly referred to as an F-bomb, then gave Church Lady a plastic smile and headed back home for bed.

Home Sweet Home


  1. You're inspiring me again Annie! Wonderful tale! Reminds me of "My Grandma's Dresser" story. I'll share it sometime. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. You are a wonderful writer, Annie. Love it. And love the 'ole victrola :-)