A few blocks up the road from where I live there was an estate sale last weekend.
The deal with these for those who don’t know, is that you hire a company to advertise and create interest in the sale, come into a house, tag everything up with prices and try to liquidate the stuff. In exchange, the company gets a cut, of course. This particular estate sale was very well attended.
The road that I live on had cars parked all along it for the majority of the time that the sale was open. I think that more people have taken up this type of thing as a hobby. I can certainly see the appeal of getting something for cheap and re-selling it on Ebay or Craigslist or wherever. And most (all?) of these transactions, I would assume, go under the radar of the tax man.
This particular house was of some interest to me since it was the Frau Becker’s house. I had a passing acquaintance with Frau Becker – she always had a little dog of some sort and she walked it in the neighborhood. When I was outside doing yard work or whatever, we always had a little light conversation. A nice lady. I asked my wife about the sale and assumed she had moved away. My wife told me that Frau Becker died a few years ago from ovarian cancer. Sad news, that. I suppose the husband finally died too, and that was the reason for the sale.
While I wasn’t close to Frau Becker, I knew her. So yesterday when I sauntered down to the sale to see what was left, it was sort of like seeing part of her that I didn’t know about.
So many chemicals and lubricants. There was a nice, barely used lathe in the basement that they were selling “dutch auction” style.
Lots of airline glassware. The Frau flew first class back and forth from the homeland, it appears. And kept the glassware. Or do you get that for free up in the front of the plane?
She kept sewing kits from all over the place. You know, the little free ones that you get in hotels? I imagine the Frau came from a depression time where you kept pretty much everything you could.
Maps from every country of Europe.
A mass of costume jewelry here, a pile of magazines there. I imagine the good jewelry was sold elsewhere by the family.
Lots of old books – in German. Those don’t do me any good.
Unwritten post cards.
An old HP laptop battery.
The dresser where Frau Becker used to keep her clothes. The dressers were quite nice but I didn’t dare bring home a piece of furniture without the express written consent of my secretary of interior decorating (i.e. the wife).
It was an interesting half hour that I spent in Frau Becker’s home. I had never attended a sale like this and it was a neat feeling to be able (yea, encouraged) to rifle through someone’s personal effects. Since I knew the Frau, I was a bit creeped out, but not too much.
I may attend a sale like this in the future. I wonder if I will think about the deceased the next time. I am sure I will – that is the historian in me.
I was reminded of a great lesson. In the end, it is all crap that you can’t take with you. It was good for me to get that reminder.
Cross Posted at LITGM.