Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bookfield, Life on the Bookfield Continued


After the Mary hitchhiking debacle, I used my Long Island street smarts to invent a relatively safe method for hitchhiking. I would wait until a car came by with a couple in it and flag it down. I never accepted a ride with men alone in cars. If one pulled over I would ride away. It was even safer to hitchhike with the bike. I would hail a truck with a couple in it and insist on riding in the back with my bike. I never had trouble when I followed this method of hitchhiking. One day, when it was raining, I couldn't see who the couple was in the truck and it turned out to be two men. I was pretty wet and just wanted to get out of the rain, so I got in anyhow. Well, those two guys lectured me the whole way on the risk I was taking being out hitchhiking in a truck with two guys and how they could have their way with me and everything. I knew they were just giving me a well deserved hard time.

I had difficulty selling books during the first few weeks. My sales were mediocre at best. At the time I couldn’t figure out why, although I gave it a lot of thought. I was putting in the hours, and doing the demos as suggested by Parchment. I was really working my butt off with disappointing results. I wanted nothing more than to sell a lot of books and feel more secure at sales meetings, maybe even proud of myself. In retrospect, I guess I was going through a learning process. It was difficult to keep at knocking on doors and not making sales.

On my bicycle I had surveyed my territory from South of Broad Street, East of the Oconee River, and West of Route 29. Although it was a large area on the map, quite a bit of it was not ‘sales territory’. Almost a quarter of the space was the University of Georgia campus. There were no houses there. There was also a large public housing project area just south of Broad Street. I had been advised that it was not safe for me to sell there and so I didn’t. I carefully scheduled the remaining areas of houses, and at the rate that I was covering territory, I would have to sell outside of these areas within less than a month’s time. Somehow, my territory had to last until the end of the summer.

Early one morning, I also surveyed the house, or should I say mansion, I was living in. No one else was up yet when I went down stairs to explore. There were several large parlors on the first floor. In some there was no furniture, and in one the furniture was covered with white drop cloths. Everything was extremely dusty. It seemed to have been closed off and ignored for many years. The most interesting room was the dining room. In the center was a large crystal chandelier, and under it a table that could easily seat twenty or more people. The entire length of the room on both sides was covered with built in china cabinets. The doors of the cabinets were beveled glass, so there was no problem seeing what was there. The entire length of the cabinets were filled with beautiful china with delicate oriental or floral patterns, cut crystal glasses of every description, and impressively large and ornate silver services. I was awed by the size and opulence of this collection. Much of it was antique; I am sure it had been handed down in the Epps family for generations. On top of the cabinets were wooden decoy ducks. I found out later that the Epps family men were avid duck hunters and collectors of antique decoys. I wanted to look at the decoys up close, but I heard Mary get up, and I didn’t want to get caught snooping. I never went back to take another look at that part of the house.

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