We love to go to yard sales. It’s our little Saturday ritual during the summer and fall months. We head out early, armed with our newspaper and trusty navigator. I have a list of all the stuff I’m looking for but I usually end up buying stuff I’m not looking for.
I always start the day off anticipating a treasure. Sometimes I tell John I can feel it in my bones.
I’ve come across some great things over the years. Beautiful, old treasures, items that I’m sure have a story behind them. Beautiful wooden pieces with such character and so carefully made, I almost feel like I’m imposing when I take them home.
It always amazes when I see what people are selling from their homes. Usually it’s the normal type stuff, old coffee pots, baskets, pots, pans, kids’ clothes, books, etc. but sometimes there is so much more.
A few weeks back we stopped at an old house on the corner of a busy road. I love to stop at old houses because it usually means there’s lots of old stuff for sale and I love me some old stuff. This particular house had the usual odd’s and end’s, lots of old framed paintings, candle holders, old Christmas ornaments and such, but what struck me was the amount of personal items. Boxes and boxes full of photos, a family on vacation, graduation photos, new babies, birthday parties. Happy smiling people taken in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s mostly. There was also a box of slides, all carefully labeled and dated in swirly old handwriting. Framed family portraits. Memories. Someones whole life in damp and crumbly boxes.
I looked though the photos and wondered whose life this was? What happened to this family? Why weren’t these photos passed down to children or grandchildren? Who was this smiling lady in the apron? Where is this child leaning over a homemade birthday cake blowing out the candles? Why was the photographic history of all these happy smiling people being sold at a yard sale?
It made me so sad.
I looked around again at everything laid out on that lawn and I wanted to cry.
Pieces of someone’s life scattered around on blankets and piled up on card tables.
It broke my heart.
I looked through dozens upon dozens of framed prints and paintings and I found this:
This botanical print by J. L Prevost in an antique wooden frame. I did a little research. This print was made in the 1930’s.
Maybe it hung in her kitchen? Maybe it was her favorite little picture? Maybe it was a gift from one of her kids?
I bought it.
A single dollar for this little piece of her life.
I’m going to put it on one of my walls and I know I’ll think about her each time I pass by it.
I don’t know who she was or what happened to her but I’m happy that a little piece of her will live on with me.