Nothing can prepare you, however, for finding stuff from a deceased person that you knew, especially in an unlikely place.
Last week, I was
I found a missal in the stack and started to thumb through it. I always buy vintage missals when I find them priced well. I have learned over the years to give them a quick skim to see if there are any holy cards tucked between the pages. I didn't find anything, until I got to the front of the book. There was an inscription indicating that this missal had been given as a gift from some grandparents to other family members.
The names were familiar to me. The last name of the family was the same name as a former co-worker and friend who passed away suddenly in April. She had been a supervisor of Keith's for several years, and they had remained close afterwards. It seems like no one outside the family knew that she had even been sick, until the obituary appeared in the paper, and it was pretty bare bones. There wasn't a service or a visitation, just a private family gathering. When I realized that the last name of the grandparents was her maiden name, I started to get a little freaked out.
Then I found a framed certificate given to our friend in appreciation for her work and got goosebumps. I immediately took a picture and texted it to Keith, who was as shocked as I was by the discovery. After that, I walked around all day shaking my head. You just never know what (or who) you're going to find.
Fast forward to last Friday night, when I am looking through the sale listings for the next day. Lo and behold, there's a sale happening on our own street, right down the block from us. I don't recognize the house number, so I decide to check it out in the morning, while I'm hitting up a new trash pile I saw the night before.
It seems to me that the house is awfully familiar. Suddenly, it dawns on me that this is the house of an elderly gentleman who is known and loved by just about everybody around. He's had several strokes over the years, but has taken daily walks around our block as long as we have known him.
We befriended him right after we moved into the house, when he realized that we both worked for local government. He was having some trouble getting his disabled bus pass renewed, so Keith helped him and then got him connected with the local office for elderly/disabled services. We had been wondering about him this year, as we had not seen him out and about in a while, not even after the weather got nice.
I get it in my head at that point that this must be his estate sale, which bums me (and Keith) out considerably.
Thankfully, I turned out to be completely wrong. Keith says I have the wrong house, and he would know better than me, since he's been there more times than I have. I also rechecked the listing and it was advertised as a moving (not estate) sale. None of the items pictured for sale were the kind of things that someone this gentleman's age would have.
We ended up missing the sale. They closed early due to low turn out well before we got there. I'm really glad that we didn't end up going through another friend's things. I'm still bothered by the fact that we haven't seen him lately.
Up until this last week, the closest I had come to encountering a deceased friend's stuff was the time we went to a yard sale in front of a house that a friend had rented for years before she died. We ended up telling the people having the sale all about her. Now I've had a close call and a close encounter, right in the middle of the Peddlers Mall.
I really hope it doesn't happen again for a long while.