Monday, April 1, 2013

My Life with Margaret Quimby

   In 1965, my husband decided to build a house.  A new housing development was being built around a new elementary school.  Since we had two young children, my husband thought that this area was the perfect place to raise our family. Not only did we need to  build the house, but we needed to furnish it a well.

Margaret Quimby
My mother and sister contributed their unwanted pieces of furniture and we styled our new home with a minimalistic flare.  Not by choice, but by necessity, we had no money to buy furniture.  And then one Saturday afternoon my mother called. “If you come right now I know where we can get some things for your house. Cheap! Even free!” With that phone call, Margaret Quimby and her possessions became a part of my life for the next forty plus years.
    Margaret Quimby was born on December 6, 1904, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She started dancing lessons when she was ten years old and by the time she was sixteen she was performing in vaudeville. Trained as a classical dancer, Margaret disliked the rowdiness of vaudeville and so she became a jazz dancer.  She toured with the William Seabury’s dancers.  In 1924, she had a small part in a Universal Pictures film, “Fight and Win” starting Jack Dempsey. She had roles in 22 film during a span of six years. Her last film was “Men on Call” where she played Mr. Burton’s secretary, but in the end her scenes were left on the editing room’s floor.  The newspapers reported that Margaret’s career was ruined by talking pictures. She left Hollywood and married Irving Walsh, a wealthy well-known realtor in New York City. The marriage was short lived and Walsh committed suicide in 1933.  Margaret married again in 1938, this time to Felix Campbell Good but this marriage also ended in divorce about a year later. There were several other marriages and Margaret sunk quietly into obscurity. She died on August 26, 1965.

   I picked up my mother and we drove to a huge warehouse.  It turned out that my mother’s friend was Margaret Quimby’s niece.  The two sisters had inherited Margaret’s estate and they were selling her things in a giant estate sale.  My mother’s friend, Lois, met us at the door.  “The sale is just ending and there’s a lot of stuff left.  Pick out what you can use and I’ll sell it to you cheap.  You have to hurry.  The dump trucks will be here soon and what’s left is going to the dump.”  We ran around the warehouse as fast as we could and started dragging things into one corner. The dump trucks came and men started throwing things into them.  We ran with arm loads of things and stuffed our car full.  At one point, I heard yelling and I turned around to see my mother climbing into a dump truck with two workmen screaming at her to get down.  When I reached her, she was pulling a huge oil painting out of the back of the truck. We made trip after trip to my mother’s house filling up the porch and garage. My husband came with his truck and hauled the furniture: a white bedroom set for my daughter, a dresser for my son, matching lamps, and so much more.
      We have moved many times since living in that first house. But as I look around my house today many of Margaret Quimby’s things are still in use. And that painting? It still hangs over the sofa.
A few of Margaret Quimby's possession's are for sale at the Reuzeit store. You also can live with Margaret Quimby.
Time Travel Thursday: Brambleberry Cottage


  1. I came over from your comment left on my blog b-day post. I have thoroughly enjoyed your post. Your writing voice is clear and the narrative is very interesting. I think there is a Quimby story in each of us. Just think you and your family have kept her memory alive all these years. I suggest adding a Bloglovin' button to your side bar so people can get updates when you post. I look forward to coming back over to read more.

  2. I'm glad to see you're preserving memories... so many are lost! I enjoyed your old photos, too.


  3. This was such a great story to share with us. I love that you know the story behind the furniture in your house.

  4. Wow! What an amazing story! How wonderful to know your furniture had quite a life. Thank you for sharing and thank you for the visit and sweet comment at The Dedicated House. It means the world. Would love it if you would join me for Anything Blue Friday which is live now. Just like the name states, Anything Blue. Here's the link if you want to check it out. Or, Make it Pretty Monday which goes live at 8am CDT. Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog today! Looks like we both have emotional attachments to our homes/furnishings. We live in a 130 house that my husbands Dad was born in. Four generations have lived here with the fifth (our grandchild) visiting often. We still have his grandparents bedroom set (as well as other family pieces - not for budget reasons but to "save" them I guess.

    I look forward to reading more of your blogs posts in the future! at Florals, Family and Faith.

  6. What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures


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