I'm a sucker for an estate sale. Literally, a sucker. I go to them and feel an obligation to buy something, as I watch strangers manhandling the treasures that took a lifetime to accumulate. I wonder, with something akin to reverence, what the story is behind by this tablecloth or that punch bowl, and I shudder--just a little--to think of someone shopping through my own possessions someday.
So when the house a few doors down from me held an estate sale beginning Thursday, I felt that obligation to go. To tread with respect. To appreciate the dusty volumes of books. And to take something into my house and acknowledge that it lived a life somewhere else. I never knew these particular neighbors, though I knew they were an older couple. They have a flag pole in front of their house that always flew the American flag the right way--lighted at night and taken down in the rain. I always thought that said something interesting about them. (And I realize that this is the point where many of you are shaking your heads and thinking I need to get over this degree of sentimentality. My husband would agree with you. But it's a deep-seated quirk of mine, and it ain't goin' anywhere.)
I went the estate sale on Thursday, but I noticed with dismay that their prices were too high. I may be a sentimental fool, but I'm also a cheap sentimental fool. So I browsed through the treasures and tried to get a feel for who these people had been. The husband was a Shriner and a lifelong Boy Scout volunteer with a penchant for philosophy and woodworking. The wife loved to entertain, did beautiful needlepoint, and clearly Halloween was her favorite holiday. I didn't buy anything, but I swore I'd be back--Saturday (today) was half-price day.
Today I left with an armful of treasures and a sense of satisfaction I'd given these people the respect they deserve. AND I'd done it at half-off (though I confess a part of me feels guilty for that). Here is what I found:
These two shelf units, very dirty but SO sturdy, which will look great repainted in the kids' rooms, $5 for BOTH:
This piece of Christmas needlepoint in a broken frame (I can fix it easily) for $2.50 (it's upside down in this picture):
And so, yes, I'm all giddy about my tremendous bargains, but I'm happy to know these things will have a little more life in them yet.