Wednesday, January 27, 2016

An Upscale Rummage Sale

St. James Episcopal Church, Grosse Ile, MI
by Gail Albin

An Autumn Leaves necktie
design by Ralph Lauren.
My late husband Leon and I enjoyed going to garage and rummage sales. We especially enjoyed the St James Episcopal Church’s spring and autumn sales. We had met several members of the church and we looked forward to seeing them and other new friends at these popular Grosse Ile events.

At the October rummage sale in 2008, my husband asked at the bag day sale on Saturday if he could buy a bundle of the hangers he noticed in the adult clothing room. The lady told him, “Yes, just take the bundle of hangers and put them in your brown paper grocery bag, fill up the bag and then you pay only $1.00 at check out.” He managed to fill that bag where it could hold no more.

When we got home, I was looking at our new ‘treasures’ and I noticed that the hangers had been bundled together and tied with a necktie. It was a pretty tie that had autumn leaves as the pattern. The tie was in excellent condition. The label stated it was designed by the well-known Ralph Lauren. I of course had to look it up on the computer to find out the value. I will just say that it became his best tie, the very best he had ever owned! We both had a laugh over finding this treasure. I carefully pressed it and put it in Leon’s neck tie drawer. (Not sure if the tie shown is the same one which Gail mentions. But it may be close. - RB)

About three weeks later, Leon died suddenly of natural causes. Then soon it came time to take his burial clothes to Martenson’s Mortuary in Trenton, MI. My daughter Jane and I looked in his tie drawer and there were no ties better suited for this sad occasion. It would be our secret.

Elizabeth Lisette Denison Forth Chapel.
A couple days later when my son Tom came from Minneapolis, we let him in on what we had done. Tom looked at his father in the casket and through tears he whispered, “Nice tie Dad.”

Sons Frank and Tom along with daughter Jane and I all knew that Dad would approve.

If you visit Grosse Ile, MI, please don’t miss historical St. James Episcopal Church and the Elizabeth Lisette Denison Forth Chapel. Born into slavery in 1786, Lisette ranks among America’s heroes.  The first person of color to own property in Detroit, she accumulated enough wealth to build the chapel on Grosse Ile. - RB

M. C. Escher "Twelve Birds" Tie.
By the way, back in the olden days when I wore ties, I liked the "Twelve Birds" which is based upon a 1948 tessellation design by M.C. Escher. I purchased it from the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum Shop. Do you have a favorite? - RB
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