Don't call this weekend's sale of Dr. Charles Bertan Wheeler's furnishings and household items (including artwork, books, antiques) an estate
sale. Kathe Kaul, local estate-sale maven and owner of her namesake estate-sale and appraisal-services company who is handling the two-day sale, prefers to call it a "downsizing sale" because the 87-year-old Wheeler - who served as Kansas City's mayor for two consecutive terms from 1971 to 1979 and, later, as state senator from Kansas City's 10th District in 2002 - is very much alive and continues to live with his wife of 65 years, Marjorie Martin Wheeler.
Recently the Wheelers moved from their longtime home near Loose Park (a move precipitated by a bill for $40,000 in back property taxes) to a small rental house near the Ward Parkway Shopping Center. Although the Wheelers took many personal items with them (the cost of their move was donated by Two Men & A Truck of Blue Springs), their accumulation of art, furniture and household items could not and has been set up in an empty retail space in the Old Westport Shopping Center at 1004 Westport Road. The sale begins Friday, November 15, and runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day. The sale continues Saturday, November 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Last night, Kaul and her staff were busy arranging, cleaning and pricing a wide array of items, ranging from an early 20th-century butler's desk (constructed from cherry, bird's-eye maple, and satinwood) to an oil painting by Anna Laffoon of a field of grazing sheep.
A framed watercolor by local artist J.R. Hamil depicts a white-frame house that may be Wheeler's childhood home. Or it might not be. "I'm still getting answers from Dr. Wheeler about certain items," Kaul says. "But I believe this home was at 3927 Warwick."
There are lots of hats - Wheeler collected them - as well as collectible items, geegaws, and mementos from his long career in politics (there are a few items signed by President Harry S. Truman). And more than a few oddities.
"There's lots of funny, weird stuff in here," Kaul says.