Finally. Midsummer has arrived in Vermont, and with the blossomed flowers, lengthening grass, and warmer temperatures comes the inevitable crop of hand-lettered signs on lawns and intersections throughout Vermont. “Yard Sale.” I’ve never been much of a “yard saler”; it takes an enormous amount of patience and thrill of the hunt that just doesn’t seem to be part of my nature. But I love to hear stories from friends who are regular participants in the sport.
I was having coffee with a neighbor last week, and she showed me her latest lawn sale purchase: a worn wooden rolling pin that she bought for ten cents a few blocks away. I inquired as to why something like that would be of interest, and she told me how it was the woman’s grandmother’s and had been in her family for several generations. My neighbor told me she has one from each side of her family, and several other pins she had been given by friends. Each had their own story and long history, and for her they were pieces of history of women caring for their families. Though I didn’t share her enthusiasm for the utensils — it helps that she actually enjoys cooking, I don’t — I could appreciate the stories they carried within their smooth wooden surfaces. That is the kind of thing people bring home from yard sales, items with stories, histories. In an effort to clean out some of our excessive historical objects, I attempted to have my own sale last year.
Of course, given my organizational style, I was still pulling stuff out of our barn as the early birders were making their rounds that hot July Saturday morning. My husband was up in the barn, throwing stuff out the hay loft door onto the driveway for me to catch. I stood there in the center, catching, opening, then going through each box while people milled around looking at our junk. My friend who had come to assist me in the bedlam was running around sticking little price tags on the many articles, yelling “How much you want for this, Lupe?” After about 20 minutes, my husband threw down the last disintegrating box, and while answering questions about how much the ugly vase shaped like a bunch of grapes was, I tore open the top to see if there was anything worth keeping, or probably more likely, selling since it looked like it hadn’t been opened in years. After I yanked open the softened cardboard top I found that it was a filled with purses.