As I’m learning, there are two kinds of estate sales: those, like the one I went to a couple of weeks ago, where everything’s set up more or less like a typical yardsale, with items priced and arranged tastefully, and professional sellers buzzing about just delighted with the prospect of helping you buy their things.
Then, there’s ones like the one I went to today. Look at your home, right now. Notice how you have everything arranged. Notice how everything’s set up. Very personal. Very cozy. That’s how this place was set up—which is to say, it wasn’t set up at all. Nothing was priced; nothing was arranged neatly on tables. It was as if the owners had gone on vacation, and in the meantime the most enterprising robbers of all time took it over and tried to sell everything. It made me feel weird and creepy.
I didn’t buy anything, although I did find this—on a table they set up in the front yard, to display the most choice merchandise:
A vintage Mr. Potato Head set! Note the lack of potato. That’s right—in this toy’s early incarnations, it was BYO potato; you had to supply your own, from your own cupboard. An actual potato. (Or, an actual apple, or an actual cucumber, or whatever else you had handy. Perhaps a younger sibling.) I opened the box to confirm that there wasn’t a rotten, 50-year-old potato resting inside, and there wasn’t—although there did appear to be a small pile of human hair. The ratio of yardsales I visit: human hair for sale should not be this high.
Also found at this estate sale:
Two tiny chairs and one tiny table, made for tiny people. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think there’s a creepier place in the world for children’s furniture than in a dark, unfinished basement. I of course can’t confirm that the owners used to keep kidnapped children shackled to this playset, but I can’t exactly rule it out, either.
At a later sale, I found a datebook from the 1930s:
Mostly unnoteworthy (save for the book’s sheer adorableness), but I wanted to point out where it says “husband” on this page, because it made me think that the owner was afraid she’d forget who this strange person named “David” was.
Continuing today’s trek through some of the area’s more unique sales, I came across one held in a nearby industrial park. Specifically, in a two-floor what I can only assume was at least once some sort of mechanic’s warehouse. I braved a trip to the second floor, which did not appear to be built by someone who typically built floors, to take this photo:
Unfortunately, this was a Guy Sale—meaning lots of rusty tools and car paraphernalia, and not much else. The second floor was neck-deep in disassembled furniture—bookshelves and desks, things like that. The bottom floor had buckets of nails and a tower of (I’m guessing busted, or possibly stolen) DVD players that was just about as tall as me.
…So I didn’t find much there, other than utter fear. But that’s OK, because the last yardsale of the day had something wonderful waiting for me.
Fair warning: you’d better make sure those tear ducts are warmed up.
This is a very special gift
That you can never see…
The reason it’s so special is
It’s just for you and me
When ever you are lonely
Or ever feeling blue
You only have to hold this gift
And know I think of you…
You can never unwrap it
Please leave the ribbon tied
Just hold this box close to your heart
It’s filled with love inside
I checked all around; the box had never been opened. I’m not sure why Mom wanted to get rid of it.
But, hey! Let’s not end on a weepy note! Guess what: I actually bought something this week! The first buy of the 2012 yardsale season! And it was:
Wait, wait; I don’t think that lent the appropriate gravitas to something with as great a name as this. Let’s try that again:
Much better. Now, what is Huggermugger? I have absolutely no idea! I mean, it’s a board game, and it has something to do with words, but… I must’ve spent at least two minutes rifling through the box trying to understand it; eventually, the seller felt bad for me and offered it to me for 50 cents. I just couldn’t say no to that. If nothing else, it’s worth 50 cents to have something called “Huggermugger” in my life.
Total spent: 50 cents.
P.S. On my way home, I saw three goats sitting in someone’s driveway, unchained, unenclosed. Just chillin’. Bein’ goats.