As I sit and sort through last weekend’s finds I am feeling so nostalgic. Every box I open makes me hold my breath. What treasure will be under this cardboard flap? What will I learn about this woman who’s things I now own.
She was a teacher for over 50 years and her students not only loved her but kept in touch for many years after they left her classroom. She loved old silk hankies. She was never married and had no children but she loved her family and her friends. She loved calligraphy and old milk glass. She valued a dollar and had a keen eye for collectibles. When she passed away at the age of 102 she left a houseful of items that she cherished and had saved all of her life…items that no one around seemed to want.
I reach for a new mystery item out of the next box. The first thing my hand finds is an old magazine and immediately my heart begins to pound. What is it?? How old is it?? It is an edition of National Geographic from December of 1941. Think for a moment about what happened on that month in that year.
Looking through the magazine and pausing not only for each article but each and every ad I can see how times have changed so quickly. Life is truly different now. As I continue to browse I come across an advertisement for Hawaii. It talks about what an amazing place Hawaii is to visit. That ad came out days before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
How would that make you feel? To hold that issue of National Geographic and see how the world has changed? To know that this amazing woman (who wasn’t a magazine collector) had protected and saved this edition of National Geographic because of what she saw happen in the world around her at that time.
It makes me warm. It fills my heart with a sense of responsibility to this woman I have never met. I want to pass on her treasures to others who will treasure them. I want to keep her things and therefore her memory alive by helping them live on.
Yes, I will make a profit and yes, I will sell most of these things to people I don’t know and will never meet but I know what they inspire in me. I know the feeling of awe and excitement that it gives me to hold these items that have survived thru the decades. I also know that there are people on the other end of my shipping labels that will feel the same way about them.
When they pull the 100 year old piece of china out of the box that reminds them of their grandma, when they flip thru the pages of an 80 year old magazine, when they run their fingertips along the edge of a photograph that shows images of WWI soldiers coming home from war, or when they breathe in the scent of an old book, they will appreciate and understand the same things that I do.
Maybe they will hold their kids a little tighter as they think of passing it onto them. Maybe they will pick up the phone and call their mother or grandmother and tell them that they love them. Maybe they will just smile, sip a glass of wine and appreciate the beauty of what they are holding. Whatever they do I am thankful that the history lives on.