This past weekend was a perfect example.
Kensington and I loaded up, on Thursday morning (Sean was home-huzzah!) and bought our donuts. We set off for one of my favorite neighborhoods to treasure hunt and when we came upon the house we would be visiting, it looked like any other home, in any other neighborhood. Much like the ones next door to me and very much like the ones next door to you. Normal, unassuming and plain.
After I had scoured the vintage linens and made the first go around, I took K's hand and said, "Let's go through each room, one more time. You never know what you'll find the second time."
I'm glad I did.
Under one large frame and a set of 1980's Olympic posters (they were torn to shreds or I would have grabbed those, first!) I found a medium sized cigar box. Totally discarded (as evidenced by it's placement, on the ground).
I opened it and there I was struck, once again, with the brevity of life.
And there I was introduced to Millie Alene Lodden.
Inside the dusty box were hundreds of pictures. Some developed and some foggy, brown negatives. There were typed letters about camping trips and envelopes of photos from the local photography shop, in the heart of downtown Long Beach (I looked up the address of this old photo shop and it is now a vacant studio apartment, that sits above a STARBUCKS. That alone made me sad).
There were small handwritten notes and little pieces of paper, with curious markings and thoughts, written so so long ago. Postcards from friends and pictures of family.
It's obvious from the markings in her Bible, several photos and plenty of the ephemera, that the owner of these items had been a devout Catholic.
But who was the owner?
I sat down, removed all of the contents of the box until I came to the bottom and there it was.
A beautiful, black leather Bible.
And it was engraved Millie Alene Lodden.
The inscription on the inside reads:
"In Remembrance of your confirmation. October 17, 1915
Your pastor, P.C. Danielson"
I teared up and I really didn't try to pretend otherwise.
Sure, it must be weird to a random shopper that some a woman is sitting on the ground crying over a box of unwanted photos and a tattered Bible.
But it makes sense to me.
This box contained an entire life.
A life in photos, in memories, in letters written and notes jotted.
In a Bible that has markings and small verse cards and a homemade bookmark.
I don't know who Millie is, but I feel like I should. I feel like I know of her and I know that she wouldn't have wanted her Bible underneath the other unimportant items that were laid on top of it. She would have cared the most about these small fragments, of her life.
And so I thought about Millie, when I came home. I walked through my house and looked in each room. Throughout the day I traveled through the different areas and wondered...If I died, were would the meaningful items lay? Would they be so covered by the unimportant that they would almost be invisible?
I began to unearth and give a place of importance to some items that I had stored away for "safe-keeping" and bring them to light. I walked by other items that I love dearly, and smiled, for they are out each day to see.
All in all, Millie is inside my mind now and very much inside my heart because I feel like I know her and it's a shame that had I not gone that Thursday, perhaps no one else would have had that oppurtunity.
I paid $2.00 for the entire box of goods.
$2.00 for, what I think, are the most important parts of Millies life, that one can hold in their hand.
And it's already taught me quite a bit.
I suppose it's true what they say.
What is one mans trash is another mans (or estate sale shoppers) treasure.