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June 21, 2010

Letting Go of Toys and Memories

My sister and I have yard sales together, once or twice a year, and always at her house. I was loading my granddaughter's Fisher-Price toy kitchen into my SUV and my husband objected. "You aren't going to sell Allison's kitchen are you?"

Yes, I was. Our granddaughter Allison doesn't visit us anymore (see Babies and More Babies, May 17, 2010) and if she did, Allison is now nine and not going to be too interested in a little girl's toddler-size toy.

Hanging on to my granddaughter's baby things seems to make me miss her more. I believe her mother may let us see Allison again in the future, but until then, I want to think about the situation as little as possible. I do not want to daily see Allison's things to remind me that she is gone. Also Allison is growing up and in my mind, I have to let her grow up. My husband, on the other hand, takes comfort in seeing Allison's toys and remembering her many visits to our house. We each deal with the loss of Allison's presence in our lives in our own way.

I took the play kitchen to the yard sale.

At the yard sale, I informed my co-hostesses that I wanted $20.00 for the kitchen. I had originally purchased it used for $15.00. I had added dishes and play food to the kitchen, most of which I did not remember to bring along to the long-distance yard sale. Allison had played with the kitchen over and over when she was two--making us pretend meals, serving us make-believe coffee and charging us play money for her efforts--until she was seven and we no longer saw her. I had gotten my real money's worth out of the play kitchen. 

Yard sale shoppers at my sister's house were not really looking for kitchens for kids. They shopped for adult items such as tools, house decor and electronics. No one seemed too interested in Allison's kitchen and I thought I would be driving it back home later in the day. Then a 50-something woman shopper appeared. She got out of her car and went straight to the kitchen, asked the price but then she left. I guessed she thought it was too much money. However, in about half an hour she returned with her husband.

She asked if I would take $15.00 for the kitchen. I said yes and I demonstrated the features of the kitchen: the doors that open, the knobs that click as they are turned, the cash register that pings when it is opened and reveals two plastic checker-size coins. The woman told me she wanted the kitchen for her 18- month-old granddaughter.

Then I wanted her to have it.

The woman's husband was not so easily sold, and obviously money was a little tight for them. He said the toy kitchen was dirty and would need to be cleaned. He asked if I would take $10.00 for it. I said no, as I had already lowered my price for his wife. I told him the kitchens sell for about $60.00 new and his wife agreed readily with my statement. I walked away from Allison's kitchen to let the couple discuss what they were going to do. The woman had gathered other items to buy from the yard sale and she returned the items to the tables as an offer of compromise to her husband for the purchase of the kitchen. The couple left with what would no longer be Allison's kitchen. I saw the woman was close to ecstatic as I heard her tell her husband how much their granddaughter would enjoy playing with the kitchen and the accessories she could add to the kitchen for her.

Although all thoughts and emotions were contained at the moment by myself I was also close to ecstatic for the 50-something grandmother of the unknown little granddaughter. I was also just a little sad to see this piece of my granddaughter's childhood leaving forever. I knew this passing along of a special toy was as it was meant to be. 

And I was sure they would get their money's worth from their $15.00 purchase.

This is an original post to the 50-Something Moms BlogWhen Sharon is not traveling 80-something miles to her sister's yard sales, she can be found blogging about mostly nostalgia, most of the time at her personal blog, Channeling Ricky.