Nowhere may be found more condensed treasure than at an auction. When the event is a family member’s, sweetness and sadness push in all at once.
I observed several things on the Saturday estate sale of a dear aunt. The turnout of townspeople just because they knew her. Family history traipsing in and out of rows of chairs, cabinets and pretty dishes. Stone crocks and comforters used in daily housekeeping one hundred years past.
Sun and a nice breeze came in waves as the house on the corner stood looking out of its 1890 stained glass windows at curious antiques dealers, friends and relatives. In one ring the caller echoed, “What’ll you give…” against another ring as helpers in both places fielded the bids.
There were clues left about some pieces: notes, in drawers and pinned to quilt tops. Others had to speak their age and origin for themselves.
More recent momentos: ice skates worn on the holidays at the frozen pond down the road from the farm. Toys from the Fifties and Sixties well used by brothers, sisters and cousins.
Some things went high; some did not. I should have bought another chair. I should have separated a pair of high-buttoned shoes and a piece of irreplaceable artwork by my grandmother from boxes whose contents went above my bids.
“What’ll you give” for the memories and one’s heritage? They are without a price. You cannot pay for such things.