Saturday, January 28, 2012
In the last six months, I have discovered a new, beautiful thing: the thrill of estate sales. I love the invitation into a stranger's home to look over their personal life collection. It's such a uniquely vulnerable experience. The family running the sale is softened and sentimental. The pieces are diverse, a mix of new and old, and certain ones may bring a smile to the loved one's face as a memory returns. The hunt is never predictable and I never know quite what I will find.
I think one reason in particular why I'm so drawn to estate sales are the stories. On one hand, I can't imagine how hard it is for the family members to empty their parents' (or sister, brother, aunt, etc) old home to get rid of all of those memories for bargain prices. But at the same time, it's a way for them to share their stories, and to let go of things so that new stories can be made.
This morning, I spoke with one such lady as I was buying a few colored glass bottles. I'm a private person by nature, so I don't usually share much with those I don't know. But because of the circumstance and her own vulnerability at selling her mother's items, I wanted to share. I told her that my grandma had rows and rows of colored glass bottles sitting on shelves in a huge window in her living room. When she passed away, I didn't get any of those bottles, so slowly I've been building my own collection. When I see the bottles throughout my home, it reminds me of her and makes me happy. The lady smiled with an understanding in her eyes. It was a simple but meaningful moment we shared.
I'm learning to not be afraid to share my story and to recognize the value in others' stories. One glass bottle at a time.