Thursday, January 22, 2015

Everywhere and Nowhere

Several months ago I signed up with a website that lists estate
sales not only in my area but in other areas of the country.
Estate Sales is a great free service that will notify you of 
estate sales in your town or you can expand your search to 
include nearby cities.  They give you the dates and the address of
the sale and also include pictures so you can easily decide if it's a
sale you want to visit or to skip.  

While looking through the photos of this coming weekend's 
sale in my town I decided that I would skip it.  What I did notice
though was a woman's life opened up and displayed before my 
eyes.  She has passed away yet her life was there on display
for all to see.  She liked to quilt.  She had all sorts of quilt 
patterns and there was an unfinished quilt top.  She was a neat
person.  Her shoes were all carefully placed in the original boxes
never to be worn by her again.  A winter coat with a fake fur 
collar hung on display.  I could imagine her wearing it to
church on a cold winter Sunday morning in this church going

She was everywhere yet she was also nowhere.  Do you ever notice
that feeling when you walk through an antique shop?  Everywhere 
there are dishes, trinkets, furniture and books that were once loved
and used by someone.   

How many times were the drawers of this dresser opened by it's 
owner?  What did the owner of this dresser look like?  

Do the vibrations of a heart become attached to a beloved piece
of furniture the way one's DNA remains on an envelope that 
has been licked by the sender?  

Do the vibrations of sound and movement live on in a recovered
upholstered bench?  Sounds of laughter and tears that are
permanently etched in the fibers of the batting and into the
wood of it's legs.  Vibrations that no amount of paint or new
fabric can cover?

Have you ever looked through an old family photo album and
sensed the essence of the loved ones who have passed?
Loved ones who are nowhere yet everywhere?

Sometimes I find a vintage book in a shop and when I open 
the cover there is a note written inside for it's recipient.  Happy
Birthday wishes or Merry Christmas to one loved one from 
another.  If I pause very quietly over those handwritten words
on old faded and yellowed pages, I can almost feel the love
that was meant for that book's recipient.

The other night I was taking Bentley on his nightly walk and
I looked up at the very clear and star filled sky.  The same stars
that looked down upon loved ones who have now past.  Loved
ones who were suddenly here with us yet nowhere.

Just some random musings on a cold and rainy day.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


  1. I do the same thingOften wonder about who, where and why of a piece I pick up at estate sales. Can't help but wonder about the past.


    1. I wonder if that is part of the reason we are so drawn to antiques in the first place? Thanks for stopping by Judy!

  2. Love your blog and today's post also! I love when I open a book up and can read a note written long ago. Although I sometimes feel like I've invaded a private moment.

  3. Funny you should post this today. I took a large book or album my mother had put together of family members names, date of birth, childrens names, etc. From a drawer I had stored it in ....and immediately I could smell my mothers' house. I pressed my face to the book ans was flooded of so many memories. Could mamas' energy remain in that album she worked so tirelessly on for so long? I want...NEED... to believe a part of her remains among her personal belongings I have here in my home.

    1. I think part of your mother is right with you always, both in your heart and in the things she left behind for you.

  4. Hi Susan,
    Every time I see old family photos, yearbooks, etc. in flea markets it really bothers me. One time I brought home someone's ratty old Girl Scout badges just because it bothered me so much to leave them there; I later appliqued them to a pillow! I thought I was the only one who had these feelings about the personal items left behind when someone passes away . . . until I read this post. Thanks so much for sharing. ~Cheryl p.s. As always, your photos are great eye candy!

    1. I love your idea of using the old Girl Scout badges. Some young girl worked hard to get them and it's nice to think that they are valued once again. You have a good heart my friend.

  5. I agree with Cheryl. I thought I was the only one who felt like this when I see things in thrift stores and estate sales. When I see embroidered or needlepoint items I always feel I must buy them. Who would part with those things so lovingly hand made? I always look at things and wonder if the home they came from was a happy one, or if they had seen any tragedy. With my own things I always think that a family member had looked at that exact same item I am holding. When I bake I always take out an old tin measuring cup my Mom had. It is so old and woren that liquids and dry ingredients come through the bottom, but I always bring it out for a day of baking. This was so heartfelt and I thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    1. You too? You are as sentimental as I am. And I can never pass up needlepoint either. I have several pieces I am not sure how I will use but I love them. I would love to see a picture of your beloved measuring cup!

  6. WOW!!! I have had these overwhelming feelings from estate sales too. One of my very first "estate sale" adventures struck my heart deeply. I, being young-naive, said, "Wow!!! you guys are really cleaning out" the man in charge looked me dead in the eye & said, "MY mother is dead, these are her things." I was stunned (18 yrs. old) and it upset me so. It was in an expensive part of town and people were grabbing, pulling, fighting and making quite a mess of her home & things. I had a sick feeling and had to go out for some fresh
    air. Stunned I went back in & decided I wanted to buy something to remember her by. There really was not much left just a "war zone". So I walked into her bedroom & something made me look up to the top of the closet. It was trashed with all her I. Magnins boxes smashed on the floor.....but way in the corner, I found one unopened box. Inside was the most beautiful needlepoint purse ever!!!! It was gently used & wrapped carefully in tissue paper. I changed the short handle into a shoulder strap and have used it still to this day. (off & on). Many an antique dealer have offered me a price to sell it. I bought it for $5.00. But I would NEVER sell Dorothy's purse.
    Yes, I loved your post today. It might be just "stuff" but it was part of a life. A life that was lived and made a difference in some ways.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing that memory with us. It is a beautiful one. I have a similar story. When my husband and I were living in Boise we went to an estate sale at the home of one of the city's wealthiest families. Both the husband and wife had passed and although their children had taken most of what was in the large home, a few things remained. There were a few items of clothing left. One of which was a "little black dress" from Elizabeth Arden in New York City. The woman who owned it was very petite ~ a size 2 and it had not sold because no one was able to wear it. Now I am a very petite person and I do wear a size 2. The dress was a perfect fit for me. Somehow, I knew it was left behind for a reason. I treasure that "little black dress" and it is hanging in a dress bag in my closet. I also purchased a well worn and obviously well loved book titled, "Quiet Talks with the Master" by Eva Bell Werber. I still have that dear little book as well. I know exactly how you feel!

  8. What wonderful sad words. I've had similar experiences at estate sales. Sometimes I walk around and leave empty handed. I've also bought what I call treasures because it just speaks to me of another person, another life.

  9. This post is special for me because I am often asked into someone's home to help the heirs decide what is valuable and what is garage sale material. I've never done this without falling in love with the person and the family (past and present). Just like you say, their lives are laid out in front of you. After days of looking at someone's property, I know their parents and I know their life history. I know if they were good housekeepers, I know how they spent their time, what was important to them and if they had happy or sad lives. I have had conversations with heirs about keeping family pictures, exquisite hand-work, family artwork, and, at least, one thing from each family member. I tell them that even if they aren't interested, there may be someone in a future generation that would treasure these small mementos. People who come in my shop to buy furniture usually ask where the piece came from and I tag furniture with the owner's name and town and any small history of the piece that I can find out. After helping someone sort through their belongings, it is always hard if the person (it always seems to be a woman) is moving to a nursing home. People can be very brave and act with great dignity. I wonder if I would be so cheerful if I was being put in a nursing home. I never forget these people.

  10. I know exactly what you are saying!! I love estate sales, but sometimes I see things that I feel tell me more than I wanted to know. Same thing about antique stores....
    But the power of the draw is too strong...I still have to go and look :^)
    Scent is the thing that ALWAYS brings my passed loved ones close around me. When I smell some particular odor, I can imagine myself in someone's presence or take myself back to a long forgotten place. It's funny how our brains work!!
    Have a great weekend.
    Blessings to you,


Bentley and I LOVE and read every comment.


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