Monday, July 11, 2016

Goodbyes, Garage Sales, and Goodwill

When my grandfather passed away, we had to downsize my grandmother’s household so she could move in with my parents.  We went through all of her treasures and the unsellable stuff went first – old oleo containers, chipped or broken things, and paper bags in all sizes and shapes – into the trash can. 
Next we went through all of her better stuff, especially the things she had squirreled away in the tops of her closets and in the bottom drawers of her dressers. Some things were still in their original packaging or in their gift boxes with their price tags still attached.  She doled out the better stuff among us, and then, we labeled the remainder, assigning it a price and held a two-three day garage sale in her front yard until most of it was gone. I don’t know what happened to the stuff that didn’t sell, but it was probably donated to some charitable organization, like Goodwill.
My grandmother never complained, took it all in stride, but I know it must have been difficult to see her beloved things go for so little and with such lack of feeling.
          I occasionally go into the local Goodwill store to find things I can use for my crafting hobby.  I buy old puzzles or a basket or vase, but as I go through the things, I can feel their history.  They once belonged to someone, and like my grandmother’s treasures, they meant something special to their owners. 
A wedding dress.  Why did she get rid of it? 
A complete tabletop Christmas village.  Did someone stop believing in Santa?
A table with one chair. Was there always just one chair?
When I am gone, most of my stuff will end up in the trash, or sold at an estate sale, and the remnants will be donated to a charitable organization.  Someone will take off with my dishes for a quarter a piece.  My clothes will hang on wire hangers at Goodwill and my books will be recycled for the paper. Things I once treasured will mean nothing more than a bargain to others.  

Strangers will go through my things and ask, “Will you take half for this?”           

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