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Damiani puts his treasures up for sale

Published 9:06pm Monday, July 22, 2013

The first time I visited Andy Damiani in his downtown apartment several years ago, I felt like I had stepped into a Suffolk-themed rabbit hole.

There was music, but I could not determine its origin, since it seemed to be the same volume everywhere. There was a staircase that led nowhere. There were peanut-themed items galore and furniture that looked so nice I didn’t want to sit down. I was sure I would encounter a Cheshire cat around every turn.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought I might like to live there, mostly because of the one-minute walking commute to work.

As it turns out, the esteemed former mayor had the same idea.

He told me last week he’s planning to move to the apartment when his Riverview home sells. He was kind enough to show me around his home last Friday, which — in contrast to my many visits to his business office inside his downtown apartment — was the first time I had ever been there.

His home didn’t quite have the Wonderland vibe that his apartment exudes, though I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Perhaps it was because it was a sunny day outside. Oh, and there was no music of indeterminate origin.

Even so, it is a nice home — “Nothing pretentious about it,” Damiani told me — and has plenty of nice things gathered during his long life. He regaled me with the stories behind many of the pieces, and even this wizened man got a little soft when talking about his late wife, Mary Manos Damiani, whom I never met but who must have been a real treat to know.

She was responsible for much of the antique furniture, the mirrors and the Japanese art that graces each corner of the home.

“I’m sure she would want me to make sure this is in good hands,” Damiani said.

That’s his reason for holding an estate sale the next three weekends. He wants to see the antiques in the hands of other folks who will appreciate them before he’s gone.

I can appreciate antique furniture, but collecting it isn’t my style. I’ll leave it to the folks with more room to show off such finery.

But there are other things available, too, especially much Suffolk and peanut memorabilia Damiani has collected through his decades of living here. I eyed a set of drinking glasses with beautifully painted cats (not the Cheshire variety) on them but decided to let the estate-sale visitors have a crack at them. I’m sure they’ll be gone soon enough.

Damiani will donate the proceeds from the estate sale to his church, St. Mary of the Presentation Catholic Church. I hope the sale gets plenty of business.

The sale will be held at 701 Dumville Ave. on July 26-27, Aug. 2-3 and Aug. 9-10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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