Cape Cod Side Tables

Posted by mrssmythe on July 13, 2014 in House, Mrs. Smythe, On the Home Front, Reminiscing, Tag Sale-ing |

I was out tag sale-ing again this weekend. I have a plan to furnish our living room in 1950’s Colonial Revival furniture and I’m hoping to find all of it second hand. This is all to be blamed on a blog called Retro Renovation which I’ve been spending a great deal of time on lately. It’s filled with posts about maintaining, renovating, and decorating mid-20th-century homes…avocado-colored appliances, pink bathrooms, and people who actually want their homes to look like the Brady Bunch lives there. It’s a wild place, and I think it’s rubbing off on me.

Anyway, when I saw this pair of end tables at a tag sale this weekend, I knew I had to have them. They reminded me so much of a pair of end tables I grew up with.


The price was right, but I decided to circle the whole sale before I made my offer.

The owner, however, noted my interest and came after me.

“I could give those to you for less,” she said quickly.

I blinked at her for a moment. Less? (This is one of the things I love about tag sales. My indecision and hesitance are frequently rewarded!)

“How much less?” I asked.

She slashed the price by 50%.

I smiled and said, “I’ll take them.”

Then came the hard part – getting them into my car. They were larger than they’d looked sitting on her driveway. I thought both would fit in the back of my car, but I was concerned they might get scratched if they bumped up against one another. Then, I remembered I could stow one of the seats – something I hadn’t done in almost a year. I was trying to remember how to do this when the woman came up behind me and started to chat.

“Do you have a summer place?” She asked, clearly curious about the tables’ destination. I think she was surprised the tables had sold. I don’t think she could picture them in my living room.

“I have a Cape home,” I said, still trying to figure out how to stow the seat. I was distracted. I wasn’t thinking clearly. What I’d meant to say was, “I have a Cape Cod style home.” “I have a Cape home,” sounded like I had a summer home on Cape Cod. People who have summer homes on Cape Cod generally have a great deal of money. People who have summer homes on Cape Cod don’t often need their tag sale finds discounted 50%. Maybe it was my imagination, but the woman’s interest in me suddenly shifted from curiosity to chagrin. Maybe she was thinking she could have charged me double. I obviously would have been able to afford it if I had a home on Cape Cod.

I didn’t really think much about any of this at the time, though. I was too wrapped up in stowing the seat. And, I never did figure out how to do that. Instead, I gave up, shifted Pepper’s seat forward and shoved the table into the back where it rode home cheek to jowl with Ginger.

If I had the whole thing to do over, though, I would definitely have stopped my seat fiddling to explain to the woman that the tables were not, in fact, headed to a pricey little cottage on Cape Cod. Maybe it would have put her mind at ease.

Incidentally, here I am in one of several mid-20th-century homes I lived in as a child. Isn’t that a great purple leisure suit I’m wearing?


Note the side table – a close match to the ones I bought this weekend. Not bad for a morning’s tag sale-ing. Now, if I could only find another purple leisure suit….

From the dining room table, assuring you that I am kidding about the purple leisure suit (sort of),

Mrs. Smythe



  • TeaLady says:

    Ha! Your Dad and I are still using those end tables up in the family room. Yours look in much better condition, however. I think your purple leisure suit was a hand me down from your cousin Lisa. Oh, how you looked forward to the arrival of those boxes of used clothing (NOT!)

    • mrssmythe says:

      I remember trying everything on when they came – one thing after the other. It seemed to take forever!

  • Amy says:

    Congrats on the great find! Maybe you’ll get a deal on a purple leisure suit some day–in which case, I can’t wait to see pictures!

    PS–I should have never tried that link. It’s like a wormhole . . .

    • mrssmythe says:

      I know – I keep telling myself I’ll read “just one more post” and then I look up and 45 minutes have passed. I read one about a circular house yesterday that was fascinating. There are some really devoted, creative people out there. I love reading about their projects.

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