I have a new favorite thing to do on the weekend. We live within a stone’s throw of a 55+ community. It’s a fairly large neighborhood, but a bit secluded with access from one of the main arteries off the freeway. We travel down that particular artery quite frequently and each weekend we see the signs for Estates Sales.
I had never been to an estate sale until a couple of weekends ago. I have been to auctions, garage sales and yard sales, but the estate sale had never been one that I sought out – I envisioned tables of fine China and original paintings from famous artists.
We happened to be driving with not much to do when I saw an Estate Sale sign and I suggested we go check it out. Usually Ryan is a hard sale (ha!) when it comes to me requesting such adventures, but he didn’t put up much of a protest. I didn’t know what to expect, but to my delight we got to walk through the house and everything had a tag on it. Eve-ry-thing.
The house had already been sold, but all of it’s contents were fair game. I don’t know if the furniture was in the same place as it was when the previous occupant was alive, but part of me likes to think that it was. As we wandered through the small, ranch-style house, we walked in and out of rooms, perusing the wares of whoever had lived there.
I peeked in the bathroom and not only were there about 8 house coats hanging from the shower rod, but sitting on the counter, with hand-written price tags stuck to the containers were presumably every thing from the cupboards. From a half used container of Vaseline to an unopened bottle of Pepto Bismol…all laid out for the world to see – or at least those who live in the general vicinity.
I started to get a little sad. It was pretty clear that it was a woman who had lived in the house and I’m guessing she isn’t at a nursing home now, but that she most likely passed away – possibly in that very house that I was walking around in. All of her most private things were laid out for complete strangers to rifle through, comment on or decide if it was worth the price written on the sticker. All I could imagine was this sweet little old lady, nervously watching all of these people in her house and touching her things from “the beyond”.
I don’t like to be sad so I had to put a different spin on this Estate Sale stuff because nothing pleases me more than to see how someone else lives. I love going into someone’s house for the first time – you learn so much! Instead I started to take note of the other “shoppers”. I didn’t see any other families and Ryan and I seemed to be the youngest of the adults, but I didn’t see anyone that appeared to be buying for profit. No one looked like they were searching for a hidden gem to list on eBay the second they got home. Maybe all of those people already filtered through, but I didn’t see them, ergo they were never there. That made me feel better. That the purchases made that day were made by people who would, in a sense, carry on this woman’s memory in their own homes. Yeah, I know, it’s sappy.
The harsh reality is that you can’t take it with you. I have few possessions that I am emotionally attached to and those will certainly be things that I want my children to have. I don’t know how I would feel about my things being sold while I’m still alive, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it much so I’m going to request that they hold off on selling my 1/2 used bottle of tea tree oil until I’m taking my dirt nap. If you haven’t noticed, I am assuming that I have outlived Ryan. We’ve talked about it and we came to the conclusion that he is going to die first. No reason in particular – he just is.
So if you happen to be my neighbor in about 50 or so years and enjoy a good sale, come on over and see what I have left behind for you. Chances are it’s a bunch of shitty clothes and equally shitty household goods. Enjoy!