When you think about things to decorate during the holidays, few things are more suited to be decorated than an antique iron beds.
I can remember being on a buying trip in the backwoods of Pennsylvania, for iron beds many years ago. I’d been following a lead I’d gotten from a gas station attendant . I always ask, wherever I happen to stop, be it a restaurant …… gas station etc., if the person knows of anyone dealing in antiques in the area. This particular attendant saw a number of beds I had in the back of my truck and said I should meet Old Man Murry. Seems Mr. Murry was a antique/junk collector that was known for buying entire estates when people passed away or needed to sell the contents of their house because they were moving. I was told he also collected beds.
Old Man Murry lived so far back in the woods you had to pump in the sun light. I’d followed the directions I was given by the attendant and about 20 minutes after leaving the paved road and thinking the next thing I was going to see was a “Tee Pee” with Indian’s dancing around a camp fire, I came around a corner and saw two metal beds on either side of the driveway leading up to a house on a hill. It was evening when I pulled in to the driveway and the beds were strung with white Christmas lights. It was quite a sight and the first time I’d ever seen them decorated in such a fashion.
Turns out Old Man Murry had a thing for beds. He had no intention of selling any of them. He took us into his barn and had stacks of them……probably a couple hundred all leaning against the walls. There was every imaginable style bed from straight Austere to fancy scrolled Victorians. Murry didn’t discriminate …….he loved them all.
When I asked what he wanted for them, he said his beds weren’t for sale. Everything else he’d bought at estate sales and auctions was. But just not the beds. He definitely had a thing for them. He had a couple of incredible beds that he showed us in his house.
Murry was a nice old guy. We became friends and I managed to stop by his place every time I was in the area. We’d set at the kitchen table and drink coffee and eat is wife’s fresh baked pie. She was quite a baker.
Mr. Murry loved seeing what I’d found and on more than one occasion tried to buy ones I’d just found that day. Some of the time he’d tell me where and who I’d gotten a particular bed from, and he’d scold me for paying too much for it. He said every time I came into the area and paid a persons asking price for their beds……. I was driving the price up and making it harder for him to buy them. This was our on-going argument ……..in a friendly way.
But I’ll never forget Old Man Murry’s decorated beds for the holidays.
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