Tag Archive | friendship

another page from my mother’s journal

This post was originally published in the very first month of our blog on August 27,2012.  It is a page from the journal of our mother, Betty Garrigues.

July, 1989

Today was one of those sultry, humid days, the air so heavy it seemed to form drops of moisture on your skin. The house opened its doors today after being closed up for two years. “Estate Sale” the sign said, and people swarmed in, filling the once still house with a buzz of conversation.

Some were strangers to the house, others, acquaintances, and others, dear friends and neighbors. “She had no one,” I heard, “no children or relatives. The money will go to a boys’ home.”

The staff had done its job well – her goods were boxed and ready for the scrambling, inquisitive public.

$2 box. $4 box. Each item 50 cents.

Her furniture was lined up with a price tag on each piece, already glaring holes where someone had carried out a treasure.

In the dining room, a long table was filled with her jewelry and knick-knacks. A ceramic Christmas tree blinked oddly in the July heat. “Did she make this?” someone asked. “No, it was a gift.”

I pressed on into the kitchen, noting her bottle of dish soap and cloth, still on the drainboard of the sink. The kitchen items were also divided into categories and boxed accordingly.

$2. Box $4. Box. 50 cents an item.

Canned goods, spices, even flour and sugar – What unwelcome guests might be harbored within those two-year-old packages.

On upstairs I stepped, into brightly papered rooms – all in disarray. Only a short time since the sale began and already people were carrying out box after box of her things.

She liked to sew, two machines attested to this, one old treadle, gleaming black and gold in an old oak case. Sold a sign said. The other, a newer version, was still set up with bright red thread and bobbin,  all the attachments and instruction book neatly placed in a box beside.

$2 box. $4 box. Each item 50 cents.

Unfinished squares of a quilt, scraps of brightly colored fabrics. Another bedroom—her full-length mirror, boxes of doilies, lace, pillow cases with hand-crocheted edging. My eyes were drawn to a pretty, pieced bed cover done in a pattern called Dresden Plate. It was worn from many washings. $5. I could not resist, so I, too, began to pick up treasures.

While some carried out boxes of dishes, a mixer, a cleaner, their arms overburdened with bargains, dear friends and neighbors each chose one thing – an old English tea pot, a trinket remembered from a long-past childhood, a crystal vase. “One little thing,” I heard over and over. “Just to remember her by.”

By Elizabeth “Betty” Garrigues