I went to a great sale today in a town about 40 miles away. There were lots of people there -- I got there an hour early and was #75. It was so crowded because two of the people in the family had been jazz musicians and there were 1000+ records and lots of musical instruments.
I found a treasure trove of wonderful stuff! Lots of pyrex, linens and some interesting and unusual things, too. It took three trips to the car to load it up. Some items are destined for the booth, some for Etsy and some, of course are going to stay here!
Now for the bittersweet. . .
For the second time in a month, I've ended up talking to a relative of the deceased person. This time, I was walking out and held the door for an elderly woman with a cane. She stopped me out on the sidewalk and told me that the lady who lived there (who'd passed away 2 years ago) was her first cousin and the lady's son had just passed away in the fall, which is why the sale was taking place. She seemed so sad about it all -- and had even bought one or two things. I couldn't believe that they'd make her pay for her cousins' stuff, but she didn't mind -- she was very gracious about it.
When I got home and was cleaning everything up, I started looking through the recipes in a really unusual recipe box I'd bought. After reading the recipes (and her added comments), and seeing her handwriting, I feel as though I got to know the lady who lived there -- she's now a real person to me. I know that she liked to bake and had a weakness for lemons and especially for lemon meringue pie. After buying her aprons and pyrex, I know which was her go-to apron and which casseroles were her favorites. I wish I could go back to that conversation on the sidewalk in the snow and ask that lady more about her cousin -- what she'd been like and how old she'd been. At the sale, a man came out and told the lady (as he was walking away) that he'd known the son and that he hated the home being 'ransacked'. She (being again, gracious) said that the owner and his mom (her cousin) wouldn't know and would no longer care, anyway.
I'd add something else to that: If no one who's related wanted the family's stuff, if it isn't sold or given away, it's thrown out (to end up in a landfill somewhere). When it's sold, the people who ultimately end up with it (from the estate sale or an antiques dealer) will like and appreciate it. They will care about it and enjoy it, giving those items -- whether they're records, pyrex bowls, a saxaphone or a recipe box -- new life! There's nothing wrong with that.
I know this has been a long and philosophical post, but sometimes it's just good to share!