The great estate of Dr. Maya Angelou

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I never imagined that one day I would stand in Dr. Maya Angelou’s home.

Yet, this is exactly what happened when I attended her estate tag sale hosted by Laster’s Fine Art and Antiques.

My godchild was visiting and as we listened to the morning news, the reporter shared details of the sale. We just looked at each other rather dumbfounded. “Do you want to go?” I asked. She nodded emphatically.

So we packed a bag lunch for the short drive to Winston-Salem and set a goal of purchasing a few books from her library.

cooldeb and goddaughter smiling outside the home of Dr. Maya Angelou

A giddy Gab and cooldeb getting ready to enter the tag estate sale for Dr. Maya Angelou 

Standing in awe

Honestly, it took some time to get our feet moving. We just couldn’t believe we were standing in Dr. Angelou’s home, along with a hundred others who were busy milling about.

We stared at her walls and I thought: these are the walls that defined her home and contained her private life. They were bright and boldly colored yellow, red and pink.

We stared at her furniture and I imagined: guests were entertained in these chairs and sofas. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for some of the conversations.

We stared at her kitchen and I wondered: who sat around the island on a regular basis? What was her favorite meal?

In search of the perfect book

Eventually, we moved into shopping mode starting with a bookcase that held her “preferred” books. They were mostly hard covered and many had handwritten notes. We then made our way downstairs and discovered there were three more libraries!

A group of twenty people look at books in the library of Dr. Angelou

One of four libraries in the home of Dr. Angelou 

We went through each section and carefully reviewed titles to verify they had the ‘From the library of Dr. Maya Angelo’ label in the front. Gab and I were not taking this book search lightly!

We sat on the floor with our potential pile and narrowed down our choices. Gab purchased The Book of Hopes and Dreams for Girls & Young Women by Christine Aulicino (Editor) and Joann M. Deak (Editor). I went with a group of four paperbacks from the 1960s, including a book of poetry.

Books purchased at Dr. Angelou's estate sale including African American art journals, a poetry book and a novel

My carefully curated collection of books purchased at the estate sale of Dr. Angelou

We moved upstairs, back downstairs and then outside. The backyard was beyond amazing. It included an oversized patio resembling a ballroom floor, flanked with pedestals. There was also a rock slide that used to spill out into a pool now covered with wood.

It was in this great space that we ventured into one of her storage sheds and I dusted off this cool ceramic vase. Sold!

A white, rectangle, ceramic vase purchased from Dr. Angelou's Estate Sale

My vase discovery found in a gardening shed of Dr. Angelou’s 

I find it rather astounding that ‘us regular folk’ now have the honor of sharing items of Dr. Angelou’s estate with friends and family. Pinch me; is this real?

No doubt, Dr. Angelou is smiling from heaven above. She embodied this very real and tangible sense of community and togetherness.

P.S. If you would like to read more about Dr. Angelou and how she inspired me, go here.

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1 Comment

Sally · at

What a wonderful feeling surrounded by Maya Angelou’s world. Wish I could have gone with you.

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