Sunday, October 23, 2011

Estate Sale

I was pondering on how much I love to write and how down the road a blog or two may not relate to my experience with cancer.  Then I realized how it has been, daily it's on my mind, and in some way or another it is interwoven with my experiences, or how I draw interesting parallels from my life to events and/or the lives of others while I carry this big ol' C bag.  I suppose you could say it goes with me everywhere I go, no pun intended.
  One thing about me, is that I love garage sales, and the like.  LOVE THEM.  I am amazing at dickering.  I found an estate sale which I knew would be a jackpot. There would be some little something I couldn't live without.
  Walking into the house, a kind of weird feeling overcame me. A familiar feeling, it's always weird to me to go to a sale where EVERYTHING is for sale, down to even food items.  An estate sale is definitely not always related to a death.  It seemed this one was.
   A fellow shopper, a woman was talking to herself, well it seemed so as I didn't see anyone around.  She was musing aloud saying, "How sad, this is what it comes too."  In my somewhat jaded mind, I thought, what, you collect a bunch of shit and then you die? I still wasn't certain why they were having this sale, but I figured she meant death, though the economy did cross my mind.
  I looked at different things, wondering about the people who had owned the things.  I was moving into emotional territory but not there yet.  I saw this handmade bag and had to get it for my mom, and then wondered if she would even like it. It wasn't necessarily her style.
There was a sweetness to these handmade items I was seeing.  I put the bag back later and then grabbed it again.
  (I have a history with monarch butterflies, well I love their story, and I also have a history with Monarch vodka. (yes, I know top shelf is where it's at)  There's more to all that, years ago I wore a metal butterfly around my neck, in high school in fact a group of us did, they were from a belt that a friend got used and took apart and we wore them.  It was my good luck charm, still have it. (I always write a novel, lol)  Throughout the years people have given me butterflies, all sorts of types, the monarch isn't my favorite look, just story.....anywaaaaaaaay there was a needlepoint tapestry type thing I found that was wicked cool, with a girls name on the bottom, and the words, made at age 11, and the year 1974, etc.  I had to have it.  Then what looked to be copper wound tightly in a shadow box, but perhaps quilled paper.  (very cool)
  I found a couple more handmade items, they were so endearing, made with love.  I am a minimalist, I don't own much, I constantly give things away.  I am only excessive with clothes, and I don't get attached to many things.  This blanket has warmth and color, all these little items drug me into emotional territory.
  I went out to the garage and an older man looking at stuff looked at me and said "Looks like a bunch of junk."  For some reason, I now felt protective of the people that had lived here in a way.  It bothered me he said that. I let it go.  I made a neutral comment- if anything.
  Downstairs there had been photo albums. This particular album caught my eye, bright swirly colors, one of a kind it was, oh but I didn't need it.  I couldn't find a price, I abandoned the idea. It was definitely made in the late seventies.  How do I know this? Dates written inside.  There were also pictures in it and two other albums.  I absolutely could not stand this.  These pictures were private moments.  I made a mental note to tell the woman when I purchased my items.
  When I saw the books, I didn't want to take the time to go through them all.  Books on death caught my eye.  Like taking care of details afterwards I think, that type of stuff.  It was unsettling, it brought to mind, I have cancer, and death had been right at my door, and, and, and I left the books and bought my items. It was too weird to see words on death and rifling through likely someone recently deceased items, after everything of late.  They easily could have been my own, had I not accidentally discovered the fluid around my heart, mass above it, etc...
  I ended up wanting the album, I told her about the pictures, she said the people had just left them.  This struck me as odd, family just leaving pictures?
   Downstairs I grabbed my album, then glanced at the others, I couldn't in good conscious leave those pictures in there.  I started the task of pulling them all out, and a task it was.  I wondered what I'd do with the pictures, throw them away?  Take them?  That didn't feel right. I was quick, it wasn't my place to gawk at them either.  The woman came downstairs, I think I told her there was obviously a death and that I was taking the pictures out. (she probably thought I a little loola)  She was fine with that, telling me how the relatives were there for a few weeks but didn't bother to take them, maybe they had copies she said.  She gave me the priceless album.  The relatives made me a little sad.
   The woman shopper in the beginning had a point, but death though sad, really it's forgetting the memories, the little things, the details, that is what is sad, a stranger discarding all of your private moments for you is disheartening.  I realize people can't keep everything, but leaving family pictures? What's sad is when loved ones likely rake through a house collecting what they think is valuable, and leave the items that so visibly hold all the love.


  1. I kept all my dad's pictures when I cleaned out his house. But I have gazillions of my own also. What will be done with them all I wonder? Will someone keep them or will they all get tossed as unusable

  2. See your on the same page! keeping your dad's pics :) I too have gazillions, and I think my fam and friends would keep them, I know they would. Yours too, at least that is what I'm feeling. I say pics should get passed down the line...