Saturday, 26 March 2016
Trip to Pauline's May 2001
Composed about 15 April 2001
I hope that this is a good paper to take to the bathroom for a sit. I want to take a little time to explain that I did get the chance to understand Pauline, Agnes, her caregiver and NYC in our little May 2001 five day trip.
We were fairly careful in selecting some of the things to take with us. We had all reviewed Norman’s dark video of the apartment. I had created a spreadsheet itemizing some of the furnishings that we were interested in so that we could relocate them and review the items. Masking tape, cameras, garbage bags, light bulbs and a flashlight were all among the things we took down.
Arriving at 333 East 53rd was uneventful and on schedule. Tony Rudovic (212-xxx-xxxx) was paged. After the introductions and a timely call from Jim, were given the keys for apartment 9E. The day had been long, we were all a little tired (Thursday at 7:00). We had two keys, one for the latch deadbolt, the other for the door deadbolt. The latch deadbolt did not appear to do anything, just did not fit. We tried and prodded but no change. Finally we asked Tony. Tony rapidly surmised that something was wrong with the lock and key. He suggested that Norman was the last user. I suggested that the appraisers had to be in since then. Anyhow to gain entrance Tony suggested he would break the lock and repaint the door the next day. Armed a next time with two very substantial pry bars, the steel door buckled and the lock quickly fell apart. We were in at last.
After we were in and alone, I quickly tried to ensure that we had good lighting for the night and yes NYC was hot so we checked out the air conditioning. It was amazing that I could not find any wall plugs. There were lots of extension cords; most dating back a couple of decades. Many of the light fixtures were the old trilights with the large screw in bulbs - bulbs missing!
Now after a half hour of use, while we roamed about surveying our abode, the power went out in the living room and bedroom - both air conditioners and some lights, oh yes, and the fridge, come to think of it. Now it was just getting into twilight, where was the fusebox, and I did not bring fuses! Soon Gail found the box in the entrance way; it had circuit breakers which she reset and it all worked again. They never did go out again.
You do not survive much time in an apartment without water. This place had faucets that were from the sixties. The first time the taps were used, a strong arm was required. The first time each faucet was used the water was incredibly brown and chunky! This improved with use. But the stains were in most sinks. Every tap valve leaked. Before going out I was required to go around the apartment with a face cloth to protect my hands and with both hands twist each valve, a little closer to off! The bathtub had two sets of faucets, one for the bath, one for the shower. My fear was that I would break one totally off and water would gush everywhere - never happened though.
The sleeping was supposed to be Gail and I in the bedroom, the kids in the living room. One design flaw was that the poster bed was a single. I slept on the floor!
Friday morning Gail and Denyse were up and out early. They did not like the shower much. It worked on the gravity principle and the shower head was 6 inches in diameter, an antique!
I knew I was free to roam about for hours. With coffee which
bought, I was all set. I decided to
start in the bedroom away from Luke. I
like antiques and treasure hunts so I appeared to be in my elements! Pauline enjoyed sewing in her better days and
was a fashionable woman. A lot of the
drawers of the dresser contained only fabric, patterns and sewing
paraphernalia. There was a lot of stuff that should have been thrown away years
ago. Old pots, empty containers and
boxes - I filled garbage bags at quite a rate.
The hallway filled with bags of garbage.
She enjoyed plants but all were terminally ill at this time - and they
were always the same type of plant! Pots
and all went. I found bottles of whiskey
in the laundry and bedroom. These I put
in the liquor cabinet which is still reasonably well stocked! Norman
I went though every drawer and every box of clothing and accessories. Eventually we used ten garbage bags. In the most revealing places we would find whiskey or magazines like ‘True Confessions’.
A lot of the furniture had nicks and breaks. But Pauline or Agnes kept the chips, or the parts and I located every key. I taped these parts, inside the furniture, where possible.
In her clothes closet were perhaps three bags which appeared to be patient possession bags from hospitals. In one of them I found an uncashed cheque from Philip Morris. It appeared that several times no-one had unpacked after she got back!
It was curious the broken, chipped, damaged stuff that was kept and the frugality of the place. We really only located four every day cups and mugs for coffee. We did locate three wine glasses that were broken. The first had the stem broken completely off. The other two had broken at the lips, so a section was missing. Someone had put tape where the section was missing so the user would not cut themselves. There were few wine glasses, come to think of it. All of the dish sets seemed to be missing a lot of pieces.
We really wanted to talk to Jim; I had also located two very thick keys which might be sage deposit box keys! This hunt was getting exciting! Jim was visiting friends in Montreal from Friday to late Sunday - all our calls were in vane.
I should mention that there were three phones in the apartment; the service was disconnected, we believe. All the phones were rotary dial type.
I have mentioned that I did not go though the desk. I did not go through the bottom of the china cabinet in the hallway not the congha(?) chest in the hallway; they were filled with financial records dating back at least to 1950s. I was surprised that the executor did not arrange to have them picked up for review and finally for disposal. Similarly I found keys for the front door and the mailbox. The mailbox contained mail including one item addressed to the ‘Estate of Pauline Graesser’. The Super advised that someone picks up the mail every now and then. I put the mail back in the box. The keys were all eventually transferred back to Tony.
Inventory, things we brought back:
· Keys - maybe safe deposit keys, but very thick. There are two identical keys.
· Cheque 3002280, dividend for $9216.00, not cashed.
· Two plastic boxed magnifying glasses.
· Two paper mache boxes
· pendant with monogram contains a photo of 3 children
· scissors 4" fancy type
· scissors 2 nail scissors
· wind up travel clock 2" tall
· framed photo inside is labeled “Emma Pauline Frizzle Aged 6 Months”, size 12x10 inches.
· Cig converter for 9 volts for the TV
· 3 keys to clock works. The porcelain clock has been gutted and now operates with an electric version.
· wooden rolling pin
· misc clothes that only Denyse could wear! And that she wanted.
· three small plant books
I do have a fondness for antiques. None of the items there were antiques per se. I like old stuff. From the brief discussion I did have with Jim, late on Mothers Day eve, he indicated that the inventory was completed and a list prepared. I was shocked that it was not sent out to each of the seven benefactors. Jim indicated that the totals were not given either.
We know that a moving company will have to clear out the apartment and we will pay for this. We know that one table has to be delivered to Marie McGinnis, and the estate will pay for transportation.
I think at this point, I am willing to buy all of the remainder - without seeing the totals yet! We can transfer everything to a storage facility here. If anyone wants stuff, we can discuss that in the summer when you visit. Nothing was to exciting but there was a lot of quality items, chipped maybe. We do not know yet if GST is payable on the shipment from US.
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- As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.