The Arena & a St Louis Avenue estate

One hot summer day in 1991 I rode with my auctioneer in an old red beat up pickup truck to a home also in the same condition.  We’d won a bid via probate court to clean out any and all items that were salable and many were.  Since I knew in advance that the house had roaches, I opted to wear knee hi boots, a long sleeve blouse, jeans tucked into the boots and rubber gloves.  Heaven forbid, a baby roach would touch me!  Thankfully, I escaped undefiled!

The small white bacon grease smelling, disheveled, shingled 1930’s style house clearly stated, no almost screamed of a sadness that roamed about.  I recall feeling and envisioning a story-like sadness, where perhaps the mother cleaned nearby office buildings or took in laundry too tired to clean her home properly, when finally home from a hard days work.  Her hair possibly washed once per week, piled upon her head in a bun while wearing a dingy white rag like scarf dirty from each weeks work.  The father perhaps walked to and worked down the way at the carriage factory, on the other side of the hi-way, just making it by week after week.  Late in life the mother gave birth to a baby girl, the only child they had.  Sadly the baby girl, I was told, was a slow sort mentally, but ever so kind as were the parents.


The Arena – Post Dispatch archives

This daughter, when in her teens begged friends and her parents to chauffeur her via the local bus to the Arena (built in 1929-closed in 1994) when boxing stars and or country western siJack Dempsey memorbilia 1991 001nger’s came into town.  There, I was told she’d lean up against the stage, beg for signatures, like many, to be placed on the free pictures given to all as they entered the Arena.  She apparently went often gathering quite a mound of signed pictures, of which I kept.  Here’s a signed postcard by Jack Dempsey 1957 and a pair of advertising size boxing gloves he signed…..pretty cool!

The auctioneer had no problem digging in the mounds of smelly householdShirley Temple creamer from the St Louis AVe house 1991 items.  One of the finds were many cobalt blue small pitchers advertising Shirley Temple, the sweet singer/tap dancer that I and the masses fell in love with.  And watched on the silver screen and or TV during my years.

As the auctioneer pulled items out, I’d wash them at the large white porcelain sink, making darn sure I never touched the sink with my body.  No, no roaches bothered the sink, but many scurried away as we walked about and he searched.  Each time I washed an item, I carried it to the truck to pack it for our future sale.

You might wonder why I’d take on such a horrific job.  Well, I had and have four children and by golly I’d do whatever it took to take care of my babies even if once in a while the estate was a falling down, smelly old place filled with valuable vintage items.  Yep, I’d do it and did, proudly so!

I never know what treasures and stories await me when commissioned with each estate sale.  Two weeks from now I’m handling a St. Louis city 2-story red bricked church.  What will I unfold then?

Victoria Signature 9-17-15


Seeing an Entity

Victoria Gray

Off and on within this career, I’ve seen and or felt a presence at various estates.

One such time soon after arriving at a house just outside the hub of St. Louis city, it happened again!

I instructed some of my crew to work in the basement and another lady to work with me in the shotgun side of a 2-bedroom home.  This estate was packed to the gills!  This meant we had to stay focused in one area, pulling out all items within a room as usual, but this one had so much that it took extra days to finish.

After about two hours we pulled out and set up all items in the the living room where the entrance door was. Subsequently, we moved to the adjoining dining room.  Again we took all items from the very full china cabinet, buffet, side shelves and table tops to neatly…

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Spit out the Seeds!

Today, while packing, I flipped on the TV to watch an old black and white movie.  Wow and old Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard movie entitled Made for each other.  Jimmy Stewart-Carole Lombard 1939 10-26-15 picture

What a movie!  Real actors, no green screens.  It touched my heart and I want to share a thought within the movie.

This 1939 movie depicts Carole Lombard as Jimmy Stewart’s wife and he a lawyer who needs to make more money.  Stewart’s wife just learned about her husband’s boss notifying the employees that they’d have to take a twenty-five percent pay cut. Their nanny (actress Louise Beavers) a sweet kind lady noted how upset Carole was, thus telling her she’s worried about the seeds and not the whole watermelon.

Seeds?  What does that mean? Carole asked.

She said honey most people get caught up in the seeds and forget about the actual watermelon.  Spit out them seeds!

The watermelon pictures the whole of life and the seeds, whats in between.

It’s the `in between’ that obstructs our view of the whole watermelon.

Let’s pay attention to the whole `watermelon’ picture, spit out the seeds and live our lives to the fullest!

Quit nitpicking and spit out those seeds of doubt and despair.  Take a different avenue, turn the corner differently than everyone else, make new goals.  Don’t let the seeds hinder your success!

When we have family and friends, we have it all!  Let’s pull together!  Help each other.  Spit out the seeds and live `the whole life’ we’re intended to live!

You can do and so can I!

Spit out the seeds!

Victoria Signature 9-17-15

My wonderful father Victor….

I woke at 4:44 today, 10-1-15 noting thoughts from yesterday.  4’s represent Angels to me and many enlightened, ones.

Victoria and Victor 11-27-2009

Click on this link: to view a blog I wrote about dad’s entire life in and around central Missouri and all his Navy years too. I also wrote a 385 page book entitled The Ankle Express. It’s truly dad!

Within that realm is my very special father whom I’m proudly named after.

Yesterday, I faced new challenges.  Would I make it through the day without breaking my stride?  I would and did.

Midday, during a stress point, I prayed and noted almost a stroking on my right cheek and onto the jaw bone.  The kind of stroke my father used to give when he knew I was in a bind financially.  I never asked for money; however he always knew how to mend this type of angst.  Today was no different except for the physical money.  But his presence pushed me further.

I must add, my daughter Ashley worked alongside me today, hugged me, looked me straight in the eyes like dad would have done and said, mom in a hundred years no one will even remember this (unless you journal it).  This too shall pass.  Mom, you tell us that all the time when we have our bumps in the road too, remember?

Yes, of course I remember and I thank you for that memory jog my sweet!

At least four times I felt as if my father was with me, stroking my right cheek down to and along the jawbone.

Yes, he was there, to be sure!

When he left his earthly life, August 20, 2012, I mourned this very very special man and still do.  Not special just to me, but to all his babies and to all his customers.  He was a barber by trade and had a huge following.

Everyone loved Victor or Mr. Gray to many.  You see he was one of the kindest and gentlest of gentlemen.   He gave with compassion.  He taught by example.  He told stories and laughed till the walls chuckled too!

He’d tell me, honey my customers stand in line for me to cut their hair!  They told their wives how much fun we have and now the wives come just for fun too.  I have the best time at work and before I know it the day is done.  Sweet! He’d always finish with sweet, when it was in fact sweet.

On August 26th, 2012, I began to meditate and chat with dad asking questions and typing the answers with eyes closed when he telepathically answered.

It was and is so magical, the information I receive during these sessions.

I have to say it’s been a several months since we spoke.  Life just gets in the way!

But yesterday I knew my father was with me.  I heard, my little Bixby (his nickname for me), you can do this!  You know you can!  Take one step at a time. 

Finish what is and move on, I thought.

Yes, circumstances surely cause great angst at times, but we pull through it.

Find your `father’ figure.  Male or female, on this earth or beyond, they are there to help us.

Love, laugh, cry if you must.  You and I will pull through anything with the aide of our loved ones.

Love you my sweet dear father…..