Mabel sings a tune

When it comes to the power of objects, few items shine as bright in the dumpster archeoogy collection than the sunglasses of Mabel Fitzwater. They are classic white frame 1960’s frames with mirror lens and they are stunning. One of the arms had been repaired carefully and you just know..somewhere deep inside that the Owner loved this sunglasses. That was the begnining of the Queen of Dogtown. a simple inspiration point.

My imagination is at play when I view the items and I wonder about the woman behind them. DId she love those high end black and blue dresses i the closet and maybe hoped to fit in them again one day? How did she keep those blue slippers so clean, was there carpet? Was the hardware Norman’s, Her’s or maybe her Dad’s? Its the funny things that tell a story.

The hymal was practially brand new, the crusifex was missing parts, and the bible was still in it’s wrapping. The books that Mabel had are about Nobel Men, Adventurous women, and History, and she doesn’t strike me as relgious. Coul be wrong of course but that’s what it feels like. Ironically the dictionary is amess as if it was used daily, missing pages, worn cover, and with the discovery of serveral finished cross-word puzzles, one can assume which book she spent the most time with.

A tiny little dog collar was found, with a name, a serial number and medical info, also some sparkling diamonds around the pink colored edges. I also found a vet reciete, adoption papers for a diffrent dog, and a nice pamplet about taking care of a dog, aimed at little boys. Mabel loved little cute dogs.

The Postcards are hard to read, except for George, he has decent writing, and they come from Ginny and Daniel, Linda, and Amy, her grand daughter, who writes the messiest. The postcards come from ClearWater bay in Tampa Bay, St Peters-burg FL, Sky-way Bridge and Fort Lauderdale. Seems Florida is a popular family destination.

Mabel is buried in Florrisannt, at a total cost that is unknown, but she added an extra 173 dollars to allow her family member to be buried below her “x-deep” it is written. So whereever Mabel now rests, a few feet below her lies Doris Munday, who lived from 1928 to 1983. It was the cutters choice to put it on the Gittens momument or the Norman and Mabel Marker. I wonder which one it ended up on.

In 1931, Mabel’s husband paid for repair work on the house, the same one that sat like a ghost for decades. He paid for new pins and posts in basement, to ease doors and jack up the girder. it cost him 17.50 total. some reciets tell the whole story.

There is a photo for a bunch of school children in front of a school. Some time in the 1930s, same era as the repair work. A list of names lies under the picture, the name of the teacher (Miss Louise) and the name of the class was the Sun-beams. the first name in the class is Doris June Stubbs. Perhaps the same Doris buried under Mabel.

The tax reciets for the years 1965-66-67 are in the collection. Not just Norman, and Mabel Fiztwater, who lived on Roberts avenue, the same house Jennings Stubbs lived with his wife Mabel and daughter Doris. Mabel also had the reciets of her father George who was still living blocks away on West Park The taxes were much higher for his property for the year than hers, George paid 247 and she paid 179, could be dollars or cents, it is unknown to me,

Mabel had a could court cases, she had to fight. Sunday laws, Business issues and the time her Husband shot an unruly customer late at the bar. She lost that last one, and the business. A lot of tragedy is in the life of Mabel Fiztwater, but I can’t say much about it, I don’t know the woman.

in 1966, Mabel’s mother died, December 23th to be exact. 3 Months later, Mabel began to pay rent to MR Robert Fuhrmann, a business aquantic of her fathers, for the same house she had been living in since the 1930s. Money travels in funny ways in Dogtown, as an elderly Mabel gets sued and held liable for things at the bar, still owned by George Gittens, a father who outlive both her husbands.

Mabel Gittens took out a loan when she was 18. It was with Stix, Baer and Fuller, the famous St Louis Department store. She bought 9 items from Sep 20 1922 to May 15th 1923, and all told spent 186 dollars and 25 cents. Do I have any of the items she bought there? What kind of things did the young woman buy, wedding dress and more, or high school Prom? She seemed to like her nice things, and I have evidence she took care of all the nice things she bought.

I might not be able to tell the story I wanted to about Mabel, but she still sings a tune. Can you hear it?

Mabel was a remarkable woman. Her whole story is compelling and I only have bits and pieces. It’s a narrative I discovered one beautiful rainy night. Like a song bird, singing a tune, she called to me and it begins with a shortcut.

The Collection is one of the finest Dumpster Archeology has that tells a most compelling story in complete sentences. We have the artifacts she loved, the dresses she wore and the life she lived. All pulled from Trash Oblivion on a rainy night. I like to say, that I am attracted to the obsessive people, but in this case, it was simply beauty and her objects spoke more of love than obsession.

The essence of something unique was found by Dumpster Archeology in the absolute “normalness” of this discovery. Mabel was an average America woman, who lived an extraordinary life. I desired that her legacy to be the unique history of her family and her role as a central figure in it’s St Louis imprint. Just a song, sung by a woman one rainy night on the floor of my living room, into the hearts of all Americans who just existed as average citizens and then disappeared into a dumpster to be forgotten by time. Unless of course an odd man decides to turn it into historical art.