Garage sales hold hidden memories

The real enjoyment is not actually finding the treasures – but walking among another’s treasures and musing.

Dawn Humpfreys

Zig Zag Girl

I love garage sales. Finding a treasure or two, some little something I really don’t need but, it’s only $2 … so I buy it and add to my future garage sale items.

The real enjoyment for me is not actually finding the treasures – but walking among another’s treasures and musing.

Feeling that, at some point in time, a certain item in some small or large way has been important to them.

Sometimes I’ll stumble upon a memory. A  familiar lamp just like my grandma used to have, or a plaque: “God bless this kitchen” like my mom has or,  a pair of rainbow suspenders that I insisted upon wearing when I was a teenager. (That phase thankfully,

only lasted through my Grade 7 year). Ah, the memories: the ones that make you cringe and the ones that make you smile.

I find garage sales and the division of items interesting: utensils, furniture, clothes, dishes and the toys.

The toys often are missing pieces and dented, nicked, and in need of cleaning or refurbishing. They aren’t worth much compared to a new toy. Some might argue that they should go in the garbage, having been so thoroughly “used.” But they do not go in the garbage – they are for sale.

Toys. It’s where my mind muses most.

When I see a battered teddy bear or a truck, scuffed with the markings of intense play, I start to make up stories in my head.

I think of the fond memories a parents’ or grandparents’ have – knowing what others might see and think as junk, but to them, the item has value and just can’t be thrown away.

I imagine a little Emily playing with her teddy bear, and serving it “afternoon tea.” The table set, and cups and saucers set out in order. “Molly” the bear, sitting up in a chair gazing happily as Emily pours the imaginary elixir of ladies of finery, evenly and carefully. The chit chat is simple with an elegant innocence that comes: “Why yes, Molly, it is delightful to see you too!”, “Oh, yes! It has been lovely this year!” “Want a cookie, they are freshly made and yummy?” Emily carries the conversation until it is jointly decided to go in and try to give the cat a bath.

Or, maybe the memories of little Jimmy. Playing and making a mini map of roads going here and there with his cars, trucks, and dump truck. Moving the earth with an excavator so that he, the contractor, and land developer, can put up his mini suburbia of log and Lego homes where his GI Joes can stay when on leave.

It’s the parents or grand ones that hear about the whispered beach landings, fort takings, tea parties and imagined fashion shows because they listened, and they loved.

Perhaps …when it comes to the toys, there is no mere item for sale.

After all a memory is more precious than just stuff.

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Dawn Humphreys is an East Sooke resident and author of the upcoming book Straight Talk from a Zig Zag Girl.