Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Clean Sweep With An Old Broom

For the Dowager Duchess's EIGHTY-SEVENTH birthday Wednesday, I volunteered to clean the balcony, pull up the 25-year-old outdoor carpet, and wash the windows while San Geraldo and Judy went out for morning coffee without me. Since The Kid Brother was going to be here with me, I volunteered him, too. However, he didn't hesitate. He threw on some rubber gloves, cleaned windows, and scrubbed railings before I finally told him to stop. He was well-dressed, showered, and shaved. He hadn't come over expecting to do manual labor. So I finished and then pulled up the carpet myself. A filthy job. The underside of the carpet left a mess behind that had to be swept. I used a broad, old push-broom that had been sitting out on the balcony for 49 years. Fourth push and snap! The long wooden handle split apart near the base. I bent low and tried to use it anyway, but I couldn't get much leverage and was worried about splinters.

THE OLD BROOM BITES THE DUST.

The Dowager Duchess poked her head outside to check progress (I had sent her inside earlier because of the dirt and dust). I asked her if she had another broom. She did, and retrieved it from the kitchen. When she handed it to me, she said, "Don't worry if this one breaks. I bought it from the Fuller Brush man when we moved to Van Siclen Avenue," (years before I was born).

THE REPLACEMENT BROOM... A RELIC.

It seems I had broken the new broom. After 63 years, he handle of the Van Siclen Avenue broom has turned to petrified wood. It didn't snap during use and is now back in the broom closet... for another 63 years.

SOME OF THE VIEWS FROM THE NEWLY CLEAN BALCONY.
YOU CAN'T SEE THE NEW YORK SKYLINE FROM THIS SIDE OF THE BUILDING.
BUT THEN YOU CAN'T SEE THE OCEAN FROM THE OTHER SIDE.
DOWN BELOW.
ACROSS THE STREET.

24 comments:

  1. Mitchell , your mum is an amazing woman. Definitely the brooms are old as the hills. The buildings are nice like in my place

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    Replies
    1. Gosia:
      The brooms were quite a joke... and not very useful. And, yes, my mum IS an amazing woman. Thanks, as always!

      Delete
  2. How was the party? That broom looks like something my mother would have had.

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    1. Carole:
      WHICH party? There was the Friday with the wonderful friends of the Duchess birthday lunch (for which San Geraldo and I treated); the Sunday extended family birthday lunch (for which the Dowager Duchess picked up the tab); the two dinners out with birthday dessert, candles, and song; the "real" birthday Wednesday playing in Coney Island and then dinner out with more birthday dessert, candles, and song. The Duchess was spoiled!

      As for the broom, do you remember the Fuller Brush man?

      Delete
  3. LOL! You always get me laughing Mitch! Which is a good thing!
    Can you imagine anything made nowadays lasting that long? Such good craftsmanship back then.
    Geesh! I AM sounding a little 'old', wouldn't you say?!
    Great views from your mother's balcony. And I would prefer the ocean view over the NYC skyline view.

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    1. Jim:
      The Duchess's views are mesmerizing. The balcony faces east with that view. The three bedrooms and kitchen have windows on the south as well, with direct views of the ocean. I think it's why I was so excited to get the view we have here. Memories! I don't think the Duchess really uses that broom anymore... if you're interested (especially for that mid-century store of yours)!

      Delete
  4. There is plenty of space around the buildings, with parkland. Very nice.

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    1. Andrew:
      The parks and gardens around the complex and in the neighborhood are beautiful and quite surprising.

      Delete
  5. What good sons you two are. I am sure she loved having you there for her birthday. Really nice views from her apartment too!

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    1. Cheapchick:
      She, and we, were very happy to be together. And San Geraldo earned his "San" once again!

      Delete
  6. Lovely view from your window. I always look at tall buildings and wonder what the view is like from the top

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    1. Hayley-Eszti:
      How wonderful to meet you here. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I look forward to reading your blog and getting caught up!

      When we were kids, they didn't lock the doors to the roof. We would take the elevator to the top, walk a final flight of stairs, and enjoy the view. Coney Island has weekly fireworks from a tug boat in summer. My sister and I would often go to the roof to watch them. It was amazing. Now, however, they very smartly keep those doors locked.

      Delete
  7. The Fuller Brush man..... wow, haven't heard that in YEARS. The Fuller Brush company still exists by the by; like so much else, it's gone online.
    You are a very good son btw, and that was a heckuva birthday gift for your Mom. Happy Birthday to the both of you!

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    1. Jacqueline:
      I looked up the Fuller Brush Co. while doing this post and was shocked to learn it was still in existence (although completely different now... and no fun). I remember the Fuller Brush "Man" coming to our house in the suburbs, too. So much more fun than the Avon "Lady."

      Delete
  8. Ditto! What everybody said :)
    You're a good son, and so is "the kid brother"!
    Hilarious brooms. Hilarious. My husband had to come in to see what I was laughing about. All I could do was point at the Fuller Brush Man broom. :)

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    1. Judy:
      Thanks! The Kid Brother was back again with The Dowager Duchess to go out to lunch. Now you know who NOT to call if you ever need to borrow a broom!

      Delete
  9. Wow - happy birthday to the Duchess! She looks fantastic!

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    1. Carole:
      The Duchess doesn't appreciate how truly amazing she is.

      Delete
  10. Hey, that old broom should be taken to the Antiques Roadshow. It might be worth something,

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    1. Stephen:
      Don't I wish?!! Everything I ever think "might be worth something" is in fact not even worth anything!

      Delete
  11. "A new broom sweeps clean, but the old one knows the corners best." What good sons you and your brother are. I remember the fuller brush man coming to our house every few months when I was growing up....They still sell some things online, I believe........

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    1. Kristi:
      What a great expression. Sadly, that old broom was so worn around the edges, it couldn't find a corner no matter how hard it (or I) tried. I used to love when the Fuller Brush man stopped by... Such high-tech gadgets!

      Delete
  12. What beautiful views and what a good son you are. Your Mom also looks so young in that photo of Coney Island.

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    1. Laurent:
      I'm a saint (if I do have to say so myself). As for my mother, she's an unbelievably young 87. A real inspiration. (Although she thinks she looks OLD in that photo.)

      Delete

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