Monday, July 8, 2013

The Object of My Desire: Garage Sale Memories

I love garage sales. I really do. I can't resist rummaging around in boxes heaped with old books and magazines, sifting through much loved linens or Christmas decorations and listening to the stories that accompany the objects that catch my eye.

People always want to know what it is that I'm looking for when I am out thrifting, and the answer  always causes me to stumble. For unless I'm shopping for a particular person or working on a project that calls for thrifty touches, I couldn't really say how I want to spend my dimes and quarters. I do know, however,  that an object that comes with a heartwarming story or provokes a fond flicker from the past is one that will cause me to pause.

Take, for instance, these little goodies procured from a garage sale in Independence, Missouri, that set me back a whopping $2.95.

The retro napkin holder was marked down from $2 to $1 and will happily complement the mid-century dining table my sister bought me at a garage sale just down the street from my parents' house.

The 1970s paper snowman, at 25 cents and in perfect condition, also found his way into my heart. He reminded me of how my sister and I were always so eager to decorate the house for Christmas as soon as the Thanksgiving dinner table was cleared.

The birthday candles from the 1950s were marked 5 cents. What are birthday cakes without birthday candles? No birthday in my history has ever been celebrated without some type of cake set aglow (more glowing in recent years!) with rows of candles just waiting to be blown out with a puff and a wish.

The Ryman Auditorium refrigerator magnet for 15 cents brought back such memories of family vacations. One of our favorite places to go was Nashville, Tennessee. We'd load up the old Chevrolet Impala or Caprice Classic and head down south, where we would spend a day at the Opryland USA amusement park, take in the Grand Ole Opry and tour sites around town, some of which no longer exist: The Country Music Wax Museum, The Minnie Pearl Museum and The Country Music Walk of Fame.  I added it to my other finds.

After I made my initial purchase,  I did another quick sweep and spied the Cake Breaker still in its original box and priced at $1.50. I asked the couple selling it about the serving utensil, and the wife told me how it was a wedding gift 60 years ago. "I think I used it three times," she said. "But a knife was easier."

I couldn't resist, and counted out six more quarters.

All these things are just things, you might say. And you're right. I realize that these objects have no real monetary value., but for me, they are priceless. These little treasures help me hold on to lovely memories of the past, especially of the people I love and of those who love me. And the next time I slice a cake, I'll think of this sweet, summertime garage sale.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter


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