Monday, 02 September 2013 15:16

Garage Sale Addict

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family storytelling cereal bowl stainless steelI need to make a confession - I'm addicted to garage and estate sales!  I go every weekend I can swing it!  I love sifting through a packed estate sale.  Following those neon "garage sale" signs is almost an addiction (curse those people who forget to take them down after it's over and send me on a wild goose chase!)  I've learned how to turn this little hobby into extra cash by "selling memories."  I use the internet to sell such memories and it never ceases to amaze me just how much people will pay for nostalgia.  But, on the other hand, I guess I do understand it, because I've been known to stumble upon items that remind me of my own childhood and when I do, there's never a question of "do I really need this?"  It is more like I'm already packing the item in my trunk before I can logically figure out WHY I even purchased it.



For instance, last week I was rummaging through a huge box of vintage patterns at a sale and came across the Vogue craft pattern that my mom used to make our Christmas stockings and Advent calendar back in the '70's.  Did I buy it for 25 cents?!  Of course I did!  Do I plan on actually using the pattern?  Most  likely not!  But why did I buy it?!  What will I actually do with it?  None of those reasonable questions seem to matter when I'm holding a precious memory in my hands.  I'm pretty sure that I'm not the first to do something so crazy... and I can attest to you that most people spend WAY more on nostalgia than 25 cents.  Even if all I did was bring it home and show it to my family and tell a few stories, I got a GREAT deal!

On another occasion, I came across a stainless steel footed bowl from Denmark.  It was exactly like the one we had in my house as a kid.  The problem is that there was only ONE!  I think it was crafted to be used for gravy or dressing, but in our house, it was the BEST cereal and ice cream bowl because it was the BIGGEST bowl in the cupboard!  With 6 children and 1 bowl, you can probably see the potential for conflict here.  We "dibbsed" it, we licked it, we hid it... whatever we had to do to stake our claim.  So, as you can imagine, when I saw that lonely bowl sitting there at that estate sale, I HAD TO HAVE IT!  It was like a piece of my childhood.  I mean, the memories that came rushing through my mind were worth every cent of that $4 I spent on it!  The funny thing was that throughout that summer, I found 3 more at various sales.  Each one called out to me.  I almost had enough for each of my five kids to have their own!

family storytelling cereal bowl stainless steelBut then I thought, "wait a minute... then they won't have that same experience of fighting over the ONE bowl!"  It was just all wrong.  So I found 2 more on Ebay, spent way more than I should for them, and gave them to each of my siblings for Christmas so that they, too, could have the ONE bowl in their house for THEIR kids to fight over.  I wondered when my sibs opened the present if they would even "get it."  They did!  My siblings all LOVED the gift, and some shed tears as they had a moment to re-live a part of their Childhood at Christmas.  I discovered that when we're seeking for things that remind us of precious memories of the past, dollars just don't matter.

I still continue to see things on my weekly "treasure hunt" that bring back great memories - the exact sewing box I took to my first 4-H lesson, the Mad Magazine game I got for Christmas in the 6th grade, a lantern that reminded me of my Grandparents taking me to Williamsburg, and a vinyl record that reminds me of middle school and that cute boy.  It's a little embarrassing to admit, but I've almost been brought to tears standing in some stranger's driveway and holding such an item in my hands.  No, I don't buy them all, but I sure enjoy those unexpected memories that sweep over me and remind me of times past and of people I love.

Do you have things (treasures) you've kept from your past that mean something to you... have you ever shared those items and stories with your children?  When you see or hear something that brings back a memory, do you just smile and enjoy it by yourself, or do you share it with your family?  (For more ideas, check out our My Collection Hobbies collection story starter)

Last modified on Thursday, 12 September 2013 20:23
Linda Hill

Linda Hill is a native of…well, nowhere really.  She grew up as an Air Force brat and currently claims Littleton, CO as her home of 8 years (the longest she’s lived any one place in her life so far!)  She is the mother of 5 children, two sons and a daughter who have already “flown the coop” and 2 daughters in high School.  She is a graduate of Brigham Young University in Family Science and put her degree to use as she raised her large family and operated several home-based businesses while serving in many volunteer positions in her church, community and the schools.  She has been married to Kent Hill for 25 years and they look forward to at least another 125!  Currently she is an instructor to teens for a daily early morning religion class.  She is passionate about her family, storytelling, politics and when she gets the time – locking herself in her sewing room with a chick flick and getting her “creative” on!

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