If you have been following this series of articles, I hope you’ve enjoyed our previous four stories: Part 1: The Collector, Part 2: The Dead-End Road, Part 3: The Collapsing Barn, and Part 4: The Cat Lady House. These stories are all about the shopping adventures that my family and I have had while out sourcing vintage treasures for our shop.
Join us on yet another vintage treasure hunting adventure in Part 5 of this series of articles…
Our First Garage Sale
When I first started my vintage shop, ThirdShift, I was completely new to garage sales, auctions, estate sales, flea markets, and thrift stores – never having been to any of them before. My kids and I still remember the very first garage sale we attended. You won’t believe how it turned out!
It was a Thursday and my kids and I were just about home from having lunch at a park. We spotted a “Garage Sale” sign and on the spur of the moment I decided we should check it out. I had never been to a garage sale before and I admit, I was kind of nervous – nervous because I always thought it would feel weird looking through people’s belongings while they watched you. We drove up the driveway and got out of our truck. There were two boys playing in the garage and they seemed to be about the same ages as my two youngest boys. The boys came out of the garage and my boys started talking with them (they love meeting new people). While the five boys were talking, I started looking through the items set out for sale. I spotted a pile of vintage sheet music and thought that would be nice paper to use for various art projects. The woman running the sale was so nice! Her husband was sitting on the front porch and he said “Hi”. At this point in the story, it’s easier to use names… so let’s call him “John Doe” and her “Jane Doe” (not their real names – that would just be a weird coincidence, wouldn’t it?).
Jane asked me if we homeschool our sons. This took me by surprise and I said “Yes”. She said she thought so, since it was in the middle of the day on a Thursday, and they homeschool their kids, too. I started chatting with her and told Jane that we were still fairly new to the area, having just built our home here, and that we didn’t know many people in the area yet. We live in a very rural area, so the houses are quite far apart – not like a neighborhood you would find in the suburbs. Since we could see that our boys were getting along very well – laughing and joking – I asked Jane if she would like to get together with us at some point so the kids (and I) could make new friends. I wrote my first name on a slip of paper along with my phone number, and she did the same. We both said we would call each other soon. It was time to go, so my boys and I headed home – only a couple miles from the garage sale house.
The next day was a Friday and my kids asked if they could invite these new friends over. Absolutely! I called Jane’s number and left a message. Later that day, she had called back, but I missed her call. When I saw her message on the phone, the caller ID showed her husband’s first and last name “Johnny Doe”. I remembered someone by that name from 15-20 years ago at the place where my husband works (back when I worked there with him) and I wondered if it was the same person. I called her back right away. Looking at caller ID, she saw my husband’s first initial and our last name – so she asked me what my husband’s full name was. After I told her, I asked if her husband may have been the same “John Doe” we had known and worked with years earlier… and he was!!! She was just as astonished as I was! While I had never known Jane previously, she said she had worked at that same company with John and my husband (I had long since left that company) and that she remembered working with my husband. I told her that my husband and I were friends with John when we all worked at that company, and that I had also been friends with John’s sister (“Sue” – also not her real name) when Sue worked at that company too. Jane told me that HER sister (let’s call her “Ann”) still works at that company with my husband, and I instantly knew exactly who Ann was. Whew! What a small world, huh?!?
When I was at their house for the garage sale, I didn’t recognize John – he was sitting in the shadow of the porch and had a hat on. I hadn’t seen him in over 15 years, but if he wouldn’t have had a hat on, I would have recognized John by his red hair. I couldn’t wait to call my husband to tell him who I ran into – since he knew both John, Jane, and both their sisters Sue and Ann too!
Our families have been good friends ever since that meeting. I’ve since told Jane that I stopped by her garage sale on the spur of the moment, and that it was the first one I had ever been to. Jane said she wasn’t even going to have a garage sale that day, but something told her she should, so she did. She thought it was meant to be, so that we could meet each other – call it kismet. Who would have thought that a chance garage sale visit would connect us like it has?! I’m really glad that I stopped at her garage sale that day!
The Lesson? Be friendly, and interact with people you meet at garage sales or yard sales who seem friendly – you never know what life connection you may have!
There you have it! Another shopping adventure with my family. Check back for more stories in this series of articles!
Do you have a favorite vintage shopping adventure story? We’d love to hear it! Share the details in a comment below.