Each time I receive the MacKenzie-Childs catalogue I pause when I come to the page featuring Mrs. Power’s Dinner and Door Bell. Unquestionably charming, this would be an effective way to call the boys into dinner without revealing my inner fish wife. And yet, even at its reasonable price, I’ve hesitated.

Last week, a woman in town of unquestionable taste held an estate sale to help her transition from her gracious and lovely home to what I’m sure will be a quite sophisticated empty nest.

The boys in good hands, I decided to walk over, it isn’t far and I didn’t have plans on purchasing. Really. The house is beautiful and I salute the new owners; I’m sure several lookers have passed to pursue flashier digs. But I did find a little something for myself.

These bells hang on my front door. I don’t know if they are original to the house, but the previous owner left them for me. I was surprised and delighted.

I loathe doorbells and avoid them at all cost. Jarring and noisy, they are not the way I choose to announce my arrival. We have one, of course, but many people prefer these and their melodic ring always foretells engaging visitors. They are sometimes drowned out by Rosie’s bark, the volume of which far exceeds her size. Darling girl, she is just trying to help.

In the garage of the estate sale my eye was drawn to a shelf of metal pieces. This bell, jumbled in the mix, had somehow been overlooked.

I had happened to bring a check. (This is making my original statement ring false, but truly, I didn’t think I would buy a thing. However, it never hurts to be prepared.) One of my favorite antiques dealers, Suzanne Cooper, was on hand and sweetly and discreetly asked for a slight discount as the 1/2 price part of the sale was only minutes away. The lovely staff agreed. What I hadn’t counted on, of course, was carrying (unplanned) purchases home. As Megan is always preaching, I decided to “own my look.” Head up, shoulders back, bell in hand, I headed home. Amusingly, I passed a friend who smiled and waved. It gives me pause that a friend would see me walking down a neighborhood street, iron bell in hand and think nothing of it.

The new/old backdoor bell did need a bit of repair, but Mr. Blandings fixed her right up.

And, much to my delight, hung her in just the right spot while I had zipped over to Suzanne’s to try and get a peak of her new shipment. (Promising things had been pulled from the boxes; I’ll give a visual update this week, but she will be open to show her new things on Tuesday if you are in town.)

She looks as if she were made for the spot. I was just waiting for the opportunity to give her chain a gentle pull.

As usual, things took a bit of a turn. Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for me.
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19 thoughts on “Ding-A-Ling

  1. Good things come to those who are patient — I like this bell better than the catalogue one — it has some age on it which is nice!


  2. Now, every time I hear “Ring my bell, ding-a-ling-ling” I shall pause to think of you, Mrs.Blandings.
    Have you a copy of “Bell Jar.” Next post, jars?

  3. I have been searching for an old dinner bell as well in my local haunts here in CT. Great job on finding something so perfect!

  4. Just paused before the Monday morning drudgery to enjoy this story. Wish I could hear the bell in person 🙂

    (You need to be a syndicated columnist.)

  5. You do need to be a syndicated columnist!!!!!!!!!!! Your wit and outlook on life is so charming.
    Good to hear more of Rosie. Guess the allergy problem is gone.

  6. We had an old bell that my parents lugged back from Spain. It had a particular tone that could be heard for blocks. We all knew to come running home when it rang. My brother has it at his house now.

  7. Charming store – as usual. I just love “your voice.”

    ok – I want one now, for sure!!!! seriously. It’s on my list.

  8. It is a wonderful house; I love it. And do buy the McKenzie-Childs bell. It is pretty lovely, and a wonderful way to avoid the fish-wife bellow. 🙂

  9. The bells are so charming, I love them and I love your yellow home. I adore yellow homes especially your shade.

  10. Patricia – The Bell Jar rocked me to the core when I read it – past the post-adolescent/early adult stage that it chronicles so well. We’ll see if that literary masterpiece will inspire an impulse buy – it’s not unlikely.

  11. Excellent story as always Mrs. B. and a fine purchase. It has inspired me to be on the lookout for something to replace the wireless horror we have in place.

    Growing up, we had a “door bell” that was activated by a small crank and gears sort of thing and inside we had a tapestry bellpull and bell by the front door, mostly for decoration, but it worked to bring a party to the table! You, too, are making wonderful memories.

  12. What a great post! You are always putting a smile on my face. Thanks for the charming and insightful blog.

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