Marnie and I went to an estate sale today and found all sorts of goodies. I even missed some of the items for sale because there were so many things to look at! All the items for sale had been moved to the barns on the property and some items were very dirty. In fact, one of my items was marked $3 but the lady only charged me $1 because it was really filthy. Dirt for the win! Right now I’m going through some of the things I bought, hoping to find things I can sell in my Etsy store. I got a whole box of sewing notions – vintage patterns, thread, buttons, and zippers; a bag of game pieces; some Christmas decorations; a bowl made of English walnut that is worth far more than I paid for it; a concrete bear statue for the side yard; two wind chimes; some other things, and most interestingly a box of cards and letters originally owned by a Mennonite girl named Irene. I think this is her senior picture:
Right now I’m going through the box and wiping off all the dirt and spider webs from the cards and letters. They are mostly just letters from her friends with a few newspaper clippings, such as this one about some giant waves at the coast. I do wish there were more newspaper clippings, as I enjoy reading the ads and other little articles.
Irene was very detailed in noting on each envelope that she had answered the letter. I assume she would have gotten many more letters than this in her life and I’m not sure why these are the only ones left, but I imagine that her family had looked at these and didn’t feel they were important. There are no photos in the box except the senior photo. Plus, they are all dirty and webby and there was an actual spider in the box.
Of course, you don’t learn much about a person from reading the letters sent to them. I don’t know if the estate was hers or how she was related to the person who left the estate, but I found her obituary online and she indeed passed away in the last few months. It sounds like she was a wonderful and generous woman who loved to help people. But she had no children of her own, and some letters from her teenage years would have meant little to her nephews and niece, I think.
Anyway, I always find it very interesting to read old letters and postcards. I was hoping to find some postcards in the box, but only one has turned up so far. It is a photo of Giant Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, from 1961.
I thought I’d start a “Monday Memories” series to put down some sort of random memories that pop up in my brain here and there. I’d love to hear some of yours, too!
I heard the name “Heidi” yesterday and it reminded me of a girl who took care of my sister and me during the summer one year when our mom had gone back to work to sell real estate. (This was around 1980 or 1981, when the real estate market had unfortunately bottomed out.)
Heidi was 17 years old and she was a wonderful babysitter. She was very pretty and had an old pickup to drive us places, which we thought was extremely cool.
The clearest memory I have of Heidi is that she had a purse that looked like a rolled up magazine. It was a plastic clutch style to hold under your arm, and you couldn’t tell it was a purse. I had never seen one before and she had gotten it on a trip somewhere, so I couldn’t get one. But, I just found some beautiful models and more info about them online at StyleWithAnna! This site just gave one away, but I missed it. :’-( You can buy them at Clutch For Cures, and I also found a vintage model on eBay. I’ll have to start saving immediately to get one!
Hey, does anyone know where I could find a video of the Kite Man commercial put out by Pacific Power in Portland, OR in the 1970s? It was a public service announcement aimed at preventing electricity-related injuries due to kite flying. To this day when anyone says “Ever?” I shriek “NEVER!!” in my head, and when I hear the word “frogs” I immediately think “I like frogs!” I want to show the video to my children so they will understand me better…!
I just found the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial (the one with Donny Most from Happy Days) on YouTube and showed it to my son – “You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter on my chocolate!” I also still hum the “Reese’s PEAnut Butter Cup” jingle when I eat a Reese’s. And we didn’t even have a TV when I was growing up – we had to watch the neighbor’s TV. My sister and I must have watched the neighbors’ TV more than I remember!
Why do we remember these unimportant tidbits from childhood and not the more important things? I was listening to “Radio Lab” on NPR the other day. The consensus was that our brains are supposed to keep significant details in storage, and fade out the insignificant ones while we sleep. Maybe I’m just not collecting enough significant details to replace the insignificant in the closets of my brain. Maybe the closets of my brain are like the closets in my dear grandma’s house – so stuffed with silly things that you couldn’t fit another thing in.
I cook bacon for my son’s breakfast every morning lately. The bacon smell swirls stubbornly in the air and won’t go out the open doors and windows. It refuses to be slurped up into the bathroom fan or filtered out through the fan over the stove. When I open the door after coming home from taking Benjamin to school I’m enfolded in a bear hug of bacon. But, it reminds me of my grandparents’ kitchens, and that’s one of those significant, important, comforting memories. I love that memory, so – hooray, bacon! And hooray for anything that brings a significant thought out of storage.