April 24, 2009
This vintage picture (circa 1938) really makes me smile.

Yesterday I stopped by an Estate Sale around the corner from my house and usually I get quite excited about these things, but for some reason this house made me a bit sad.

It was pretty bare by the time I got there, mostly antique furniture (which I have no room for in my house) and a scattering of bits and pieces here and there. But it was these bits and pieces that made me so melancholy.

The woman that lived there had kept hundreds of photographs of her family. I sifted through a box of photos of a young boy and his family. (I can only assume one of the women was his mother, the lady of the house). There were pictures of them on the beach, pictures of the boy playing in the streets (the very street right outside), pictures of them having a picnic.

Then there were art books, mostly of Impressionist artists. She was a painter as well, mimicking the styles of Cezanne, Matisse, Manet, and a bit of Van Gogh too. (I might go back today to see if any of her work is still on sale) And she had plenty of travel books and maps of Paris and London from the 1960s. I considered buying these just for fun.

I suppose I got a bit blue because many of the wonderful things she had collected and her possessions reminded me so much of myself. The pretty collection of teacups, hoarding magazines (you never know when you need to reference them!), and her apparent love for art, traveling, and all things beautiful.

It upset me a little to see all these people milling about, turning over her things, tossing them back with nonchalance, and moving on.

She was my neighbor. When I walked my dog past her bright pink house I always wondered what kind of person would live in a house entirely painted cotton candy pink. And now, I know.


  1. I've never been to an estate sale (they're not a tradition in Italy), but I always thought they could be a little upsetting in the way you mentioned here. I love all things vintage, from clothes to old objects and photos and I always wonder about the former owners of them: this is fun but there's also a pinch of melancholy in it...

  2. That's so sad, I always wonder what would happen if I passed on and left my possessions for someone to rummage through. It seems very depressing. I could only hope that the possessions taken from this woman will be treasured as much as she treasured them.




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