It’s always an eye-opening experience working in estates after the children have taken what they want and allow us to handle the remainder. You just never know what you will find left behind.
Sometimes, we just find what you would expect, the items that should have been discarded 40 years ago – broken items from the attic, old appliances, clothing that needs to be donated, etc. Other times, we find items that have value and we arrange to have them sold for the family. And on occasion, we find items that leave us scratching our heads, or items that we can never speak of and promise to take that information to our graves.
We see it all: the love, the fights, the estrangements, the addictions, the sorrows, the secrets – all of which are carried through our lifetimes.
It is difficult to put into words when you find war medals of courage and valor left on the floor for disposal, or antique photos of people in the family that have been left in a pile for us to discard. But we understand that every person has a story and we are not privy to their upbringing or lives, and therefore do not understand why they made the decisions they did.
Recently we found letters dating from the Civil War period, of a soldier who wrote home to his sister. He wrote of the horrible conditions, how most of his comrades had died from dysentery, and that there wasn’t enough food to keep the soldiers strong. He spoke of having no warmth through the winter months, but described it in such a way that he was not complaining. It was fascinating to hear of life so long ago from a person who lived during those times, but the family took no interest.
Other things we find are scrapbooks, war letters between mom and dad, family Bibles with genealogy information inside the front cover, diaries, estate jewelry, guns, etc.
I guess it’s true what they say. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and one cannot predict what is in a person’s heart during such difficult times.
© 2012 Julie Hall