I’m a collector of things;
“Want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty! But who cares? No big deal. I want moooooore…”
That’s me. Between my lifetime of yard-sales and junk stores…and now working in a thrift store. I have a lot of things. Some of these things are for me to sell in my Etsy shop or at my mother’s flea market, but some of them are things for me. As much as I love The Hunt, I also find estate sales to be incredibly depressing at times. The belonging of a loved one that people just don’t care about bothers me. Old letters, pictures, and a host of other things that give you as much insight to a life as a piece of vintage Lenox or a fancy class ring. History of a life. Often just thrown out. Well I went to one estate sale last year and brought home two boxes of cards, letters and work from a man named Arnold Muller. He had polio as a child, one of the first cases Corpus Christi in the late 1940’s early 50’s. He became an acoustics researcher for NASA. I have his life in a box. Cards from his family, letters from his brother who was off in the military, pictures of a Halloween party at NASA. There is something fascinating about a man I never met in person and his life and something tragic about the way it ended. That day I’m sure I missed picking up all sorts of schematics and things that may have very well made me rich, but I instantly became consumed with two boxes of stuff. Things the people holding the sale were simply going to toss. I suppose one day they will get tossed, but today is not that day.
Not too long ago I was reading a r/bestof that made the front page, it was from a reddit subgroup called r/archivists. There another user talks about an estate sale he went to and the pile of mouse dropping encrusted letters he discovered in the bottom of a chest no one cared about. I connected with the person almost immediately, I had felt all of his feelings and too had a pile of discards of another’s life. He spoke of archiving and “telling” this story for everyone. This is me and this, because quite frankly fashion is not my cup of tea…is my bottle of rum on a Friday night. Starting next week I will begin to tell the stories from the letters of other’s. Letters older than me and my mother combined.
My first few weeks will be the letters to a Mrs. Mildred Hall/Hott from the mid-late 1950’s. So stay tuned. I realize this is so geeky that I’ll probably lose some readers over it. But I hope you will all stick around, maybe we can learn something together.
Cheers & Beers,