Daily Archives: January 13, 2008

My Visit to an Estate Sale


Sunday, my hubby and I walked down the street to an estate sale of a lady who died about a month ago.

Her name was Dolores and she was a Christian. She was housebound from many ailments, had a home church, had a yappy fluffy puppy. She had neighbors who came and helped her with laundry, moving garbage cans, made visits, cut her grass. Her husband died many years ago. I’m told she told everyone who would listen she was ready to go home and be with her Tom.

They had no children and a friend who no longer lived in the neighborhood was her executor of her estate.

I met her once, while I was on a walk with another neighbor, she was sweet, she knew right away I was a child of God.

A professional company put on the estate sale and I had never been to one.

I never want to go to one again. I never want my kid to sell my stuff in an estate sale.

It was almost surreal walking thru her house, looking thru her things. The house was left pretty much the way she left it when she went to the hospital to die. Her body was riddled with cancer and they could not save her after they performed surgery.

The estate sale company went thru the neighborhood passing out flyers to whomever they saw on the street, I just happened to be on the street that day.

As I walked thru the house I learned so many things about her.

He was in the military.

They both won awards when he was in the military (pictures and awards framed on the wall)

They loved Chinese artwork, china, silver. (they had tons of Japanese and Chinese artwork, clothes, china, dishware, books in every room)

She loved books, she loved to learn. Bookcases full of books in every room. She had diplomas from colleges, at-home learning centers, bible course studies, art college, all on the wall. She had a word processor, tons of christian tapes, DVDs, learning CDs, music books, cookbooks, books on how to learn. (She must have been still trying to learn new things even when her body could not work for her very well)

Let me go from room to room.

Living room:  a nativity scene made from wood, books, furniture, from the Orient (they must have traveled there, or may even been stationed there) paintings on the wall, oriental and what I would call ‘american’.

Dining room: contained all the silver and a woman had a glass case with all Dolores’ jewelry in it. Most of it old. A few pieces I would have liked. All way over- priced. China cabinet with knick knacks.

Kitchen: the cupboards were taped open revealing all her cookware and silverware, china set, beautiful. Even the food cupboard was open and food for sale for 50 cents an item. Things were sitting there just like they had been when she was alive. I got a bit teary-eyed in the kitchen. Some things were even just strewn around, but everything had a price. A full bookcase in the corner of the kitchen with cookbooks.

They was 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The bedroom she used was the first I went in to. I’m drawn to bookcases, I look for bibles (I also collect very old bibles for myself). I found her old bible. With all her notes it in.  I grabbed it. (To me, that bible is something so personal and it was just sitting on the shelf for anyone to grab, I can only hope she is glad I took it)

There are poems and funeral notices in there. Her husbands funeral notice was there. There was two cards in there that had a bunch of men’s signatures on them. It was a prayer card, it stated that at the men’s church breakfast, they had prayed for her surgery to go well. The other one was for her husband.

The clothes were hanging in the closet, all with  price tags, the drawers were open for people to go thru. Even her underwear drawer. Some very beautiful and old things, a fur coat, some Japanese silk jackets, old suits, tiny little ballet type shoes.

One bedroom was her music room with one wall full of records, tapes, books, albums, sheet music, computer, paintings.

I learned more about this woman with each room I explored.

One bedroom was her art/craft room. There was cross stitch, embroidery, yarn, items she had worked on were thrown on the bed with extra sets of sheets, an embroidered piece with a man and woman in wedding attire with their names and date of their wedding was laying on the bed.

I’m tearing up just typing this. I will tell you why in a moment.

The bathrooms looked like she just walked out of it after taking a shower in the morning. In one of the bathrooms, a thing woman use for hygiene purposes was just laying on the floor in the box, for all to see. Soap was in the holder, toothbrush, etc.

I had noticed a lot of paintings on the walls, in every room. When I walked back out into the hallway, I realized these were HER paintings (there was a diploma from an art school on the wall) and I just had to have one. If nothing else but to keep her memory.

I had a landscape painting in my hand, then, in a back bedroom, I found the perfect one.


Let me skip ahead; my hubby was getting tired and wanted to go home, but I was fascinated by this house, by this lady’s life. This woman was probably a wonderful, exciting,  interesting woman.

And I just walked by her house, most every day.

And did nothing. I knew she needed help, I knew she was lonely and alone.

I had thought about it many times, but was good does that do now?

All the while I’m thinking and looking around there are people from the estate sales company milling around, making sure you’re not jacking anything of value. Some asshole (yes, I said asshole, twice now) said to another in a very loud voice “So, we gotta carry all this SHIT out of the house?”

My heart fell. I wanted to punch him. This was not someones shit, this was someones life here. Being dug thru by strangers. Her stuff being milled thru and sold for a price. To pay for this asshole to carry off.

The garage had all of the husbands stuff in it. All of it dusty. Some art/crafts stuff, bottle cutters, Christmas wreaths, clothes pins, tools, lawn furniture. There was bottles of water in a box. A big pot with birdseed and a scoop in it.

I said to hubby “Look, she fed the birds” He just doesn’t get it. {I’m not quite sure what happened to her dog, I’m told it went back to the person who gave it to Dolores. I saw only 2 things that even hinted that she had a dog. A small purse-like dog carrier in the bedroom and a dog dish in the garage. She loved that dog dearly.}

He was not fascinated by this woman or her house, he had found what he wanted and wondered how we were gonna carry all  the books home.


We found this stool in the kitchen, it is to be hubbies work stool in the garage.

I bought Shakespeare complete works, several bibles, a German bible and 2 very old bibles, some with both their names on them. she had marked every single bible, under lined and highlighted, lots of stuff, many notes and poems and prayers in all the bibles, all handwritten. And I bought the painting.

I imagine it is her or her husbands plot and that he or she wanted to be buried near the mountains.

Now, to get why I think this:

I was getting ready to leave and heard this little old woman talking and telling another woman and her daughter about Dolores. She knew her! She was pointing out the clothes, the books, the coats and where everything came from. I grabbed the painting and followed her to a back room. I waited patiently for her to finish and asked her did she knew if Dolores had painted that picture.

She said “Yes, she did, that was her last complete painting, she started another one but never finished it”

Here’s another thing, we paid for the stuff in the front room, the before mentioned asshole was sitting in the front on the other side by the front door. When we walked to the door, he asked to see our receipt. I’m like ‘what?’ Cuz he had just watched us pay and bag the stuff up.

Another fella says ‘We have had a pricey item already walk out with someone, he really is checking your receipt.’


Disclaimer: While I realize all this is just ‘stuff’ and I know she is in heaven with her Lord and her husband and that’s all that matters to her now.

I also know I walked thru the life of a woman today, a woman who lived a full life, who loved her Lord, who could have taught me much.

I should have made an attempt to know this woman.

She would have been a wonderful friend.

She would have made me a better person.

Here is the poem I found in her bible. It’s handwritten and some words are marked out with changes on them.

To a Small Boy

When oer these troubled waters pass

a spanking infant breeze to cast

away the angry torment of the sea

And there’s a hope of cloudless blue

of cheery dawns sunset hues

and the ship of life is sailing hard a lee

Then to you from this helmsmans hands

with course well laid to promised lands

will pass this ship well found, well manned, and free

Look sharp upon the charts of strife

heed wise the shallow shoals of life

Maintain the course, my faith abides in thee.

Thanks for listening, Kristina