BACK in the 90’s a trend exploded where women started collecting miniature shoes. They were scaled quarter sized replicas of high heels and flats. Most that I saw appeared to be injection molded. They were sold along with tiered display shelves and seemed just the right thing for a stay-at-home wife to waste her husband’s money on.

At the time I remember thinking, “Why in the fuck do you want a replica shoe; why not just buy an actual pair of shoes and wear them?” It just made no goddamned sense to me.

Soon, they started appearing in dollar stores as grotesque and poorly executed caricatures of the original miniature shoes. Sound famiar?

As the Internet was in its AOL infancy, I don’t think there was a big collector market and so assume at some point these things got boxed up and put in the attic next to the glass blown French poodle vases and giant wooden forks and spoons.

Miniature furniture soon followed. And to be honest, this made a bit more sense to me as these were icons of mid-century modern designs; like the Eames lounge and Noguchi coffee table in 1/3 scale. At least these were specific, identifiable things. Are there really iconic shoes?

ENTER 2013 and the brilliant minds at Invicta Watch Company and their soon to launch line of miniature watches:

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Yep.

Miniature watches.

The model that they are based on is the “Venom” which has a bunch of snake cues. I’m sure these will look bitchin’ staged next to the “pure oriental” Ninja sword sets of a Katana, Wakizashi and Tanto that Watchgeeks long ago bought from the late night, infomercial-as-homeshopping channel Frost Cutlery dicks.

But these may be purely functional for some. Seeing that so many Invicta fans have such chunky wrists, they seem to weigh in well over 400 lbs. These would be perfect rings on such a ham hand. If they are going to have to cut the wall out of your bedroom to get you to the hospital, you should be swagged out.

These would also be a great first watch for an infant. One would look hard as hell on a chubby newborns wrist; complemented by an Italian horn charm necklace. And how goddamned cute would it be if daddy and baby had matching Venoms?

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We were making our way to Robinson via the road less traveled. This route takes you through Nevillewood; one of the first golf/private communities that I ever remember seeing here in the north. A lot of Pittsburgh Penguins have and still reside here with the cheap houses close to 400 large.

We see a sign for an Estate Sale and so we turned around and parked. I was convinced that this was someone just having a yard sale and that the real estate sale was around the corner – I mean the stuff in the driveway looked like straight up junk.

The garage was full of shit, no different than the crap that is typical to a Pennsyltucky affair – mismatched glassware, picture frames, cheap bedroom furniture and costume jewelry. We did find a cool Pyrex coffee carafe and matching glasses for three bucks in this mess. As we walked into the barroom basement, which as much smaller than I expected it to be, Gretchen said that “these always make her sad,” because of the circumstance that surrounds such a sale; death and/or debt. Something that I found unusual was that there were several portraits of, what I thought at the time, were the owner’s grand kids as well as several pieces of Judaica specifically for a Hollee Jo Schwartz. G, who is a veteran of these sales, also said that she found it odd. I’m not talking one or two items here – in this first room, there were at least 10, high quality portraits, several caricatures as well as several personalized religious items that I’m betting have to do with Bat Mitzvahs and the like.

They were even selling the half empty bottles of liquor for four bucks a bottle.
We made our way upstairs and the first thing that I noticed was how tacky the place was. Awful colors and Bad (yes a capital B) wallpaper and trim. Making our way into the kitchen, I was shocked, not just by the cheapness of the cutlery and cookware but also because they were even selling the food in the pantry. And I’m not talking canned goods, but opened boxes of raisins, spices and cake mixes were priced for sale.

The living room was also drenched in tack and horrible furniture with terrible patterns. Were my expectations too high? This is supposed to be an exclusive neighborhood and so I would expect All-Clad, Henckel cutlery; maybe Stickley, Audi & Co furniture; and not the sale of half used food.

There were other tacky gems throughout the first floor – like ‘gem’ encrusted hats and clothes, old ass soap that had experienced changes in humidity causing it to leak through the package and a bunch of half used crafting supplies. I was surprised that I didn’t see gold lamé Channel C logo shirts from the flea market. He also left his golf trophies behind. The second floor held more treasures on the disturbing tip, like the individual girls rooms full of items from their youths; more portraits, yearbooks and dolls and their little outfits from when they were babies. It started to seem as though the portraits in the basement were actually of the homeowners daughters. Selling portraits of your kids? What the fuck is up with that. G asked, “…who would buy pictures of someone else’s kids?” My first thought was, “you could decorate a room with them.” Like the bathroom in our basement if the price would have been right.

Making our way to the second floor bar area, I finally got a name to put with the house, Dr. Joel Schwartz.

As we made our way to the money table with the purchases, the man in front of us mentioned that he noticed the same thing I did upstairs to put a name with the stuff, Dr. Schwartz’s pen holder from his desk. See, that was for sale too. And Dr. Schwartz was his ear doctor and so now, a little bit of the Schwartz was with him. The woman running the sale related how this wasn’t your typical estate sale; that the fine doctor retired and left for Florida with a suitcase of clothes and was selling everything. That it was ‘a happy ending.’

“He didn’t take anything with him?”

“Just what fit in his car.”

But he was trying to sell his kid’s history, his historyI know a picture is nothing more than an image, but it is his family’s personal images and history; it’s his kid for Chrissake! I’m sure the caricatures were drawn during a trip to a fun and memorable family outing; the personalized religious memorabilia – how can you just let some greasy auction motherfuckers come in and put a price on that? And how about the scumbag that buys it looking to make a profit? These are the things that your kids are supposed to find when you die; so that they are reminded of the good times; of their kids and their own mortality. Maybe there was a rift, but the right thing is not to scatter these items to the world. These are little pieces of you, Dr. Schwartz. Moments of your life, captured. And every time you look at them they are like a time machine that transports back to a moment which becomes a series of moments that make memories. Maybe he should have burnt them like other items that hold an implicit reverence; love letters, prayers and flags. But it is to late now. They will no doubt end up in some heap to live on, meaningless to all who encounter them or worse yet, tossed into the trash to rot in a dump.
Was this really the ‘happy ending” that the sales woman said it was?

No way.