Sunday, November 1, 2015

Garage Sale America - Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks - Week 44

Back in August, after my mom died, my sister, brother, and I had considered having an estate sale. After meeting with several estate sale companies, we realized that there simply weren't enough items to make a sale profitable or worthwhile.

My parents lived frugally and had what they needed to furnish a home and live comfortably. Between my siblings and I, we divided the items between our families based on who needed and/or wanted items.

When we were done, we had a lot of items that no one needed or wanted. That's the nature of having a home for 41 years...and of growing up in during The Depression. Our parents kept a lot of things convinced that they would need them again one day.

With the remaining items, we considered having a garage sale. Ultimately, we decided not to go ahead with one. Rather, we are boxing and donating the items to three different non-profit organizations that have thrift shops. The proceeds from the sale of the items will be used to support the programs that benefit people in need. This would have made our parents happy.

During the time when we were considering doing a garage sale, I checked out a book from the library called Garage Sale America by Bruce Littlefield. I thought it would have some helpful tips about having a garage sale and how to set one up. Rather, it was a book that documented the author's coast-to-coast tour of America's garage sales.

It had information about garage sales, how to get deals when you go to garage sales, and what to look for when at them. It was more of a buyer's book than seller's book. So, if someone were passionate about going to garage sales and finding deals...this is the book for her/him. For my purpose, it wasn't what I was looking for at this stage in my life.

What I did find interesting - and what reflected what I was going through at the time - was the following passage called A Table Full of Stories. "The stories here are, at surface, of the pursuit of objects we adore, but as people talk about those objects - whether with fondness or good-riddance - we get a vivid snapshot of the life of the beholder. Looking at a garage sale - its objects and its citizens - is like visiting an art gallery filled with detailed self-portraits."

As I read that and reflected what my parents had a lot of surplus items of, I could see what was important to them beyond their core values: holidays (especially Christmas and Easter) and entertaining (for family and friends).

As people described my mom after she died, they talked about her gracious hospitality....memories of Christmas parties and open houses at her home...and delicious meals. It seemed fitting, then, that there would be quite a few items that were these categories of possessions that belonged to my parents.

So, although this book wasn't what I was anticipating, it did give me pause for thought as I reflected back on the many memories of holidays that my parents made magical and special for us kids and for our own kids; and for the many times we gathered together as a family to share a meal and celebrate a meaningful occasion...or simply just enjoy being together.

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