an epic estate sale

hello everyone.
before i get into the epic estate sale and this burberry trench i'd just like to say thanks for all the wonderful comments on my last post on aging gracefully.  so many fantastic stories and wonderful ideas.  i love that we have a little community here with varied opinions that are all welcome.

so the estate sale...  
every once in awhile you come across a sale that is for lack of a better word - epic.
i've been to 2 in my life.  
they are the adult equivalent of disneyland i suppose.
every turn is an event that stuns the senses.

well that's how it is for me and one other nutcase i know who shall remain nameless.

some of you may have already guessed that the estate sale i'm talking about was miss doris'.

i wasn't even sure i would be able to go.  one, i might have had a flight to utah scheduled that i'd have to change and two, would i be able to handle it emotionally.
i did both.

  i was teary eyed as i waited in line on the first day of the sale.
reminiscing with neighbors and friends about miss doris.
i didn't know how i'd feel when i got inside. 
but i know she would have been in line to go to my estate sale if the tables were turned.
that is For Sure.

i don't know if you've been to many estate sales but generally they have a tinge of sadness to them.
you walk through a person's house who has recently passed away and you see everything,
down to their knickers and kitchen drawers.  you see just how that person lived and carried out their life.
it's a little sad and also very interesting.

this was the first estate sale i went to that i actually knew the person.
like i said, i was apprehensive.  and i'm sure some of you will think it wrong of me that i went at all.
but i'm glad i did go.

to say miss doris was a collector doesn't even come close to the truth.
it was like an archaeological dig through her beautiful life.
she and her husband were consummate collectors of well...everything!
and everything they collected was beautiful.
from clothing to china, art, sculpture, antiques, you name it.
i had been in her home many, many times but to see everything laid out, that is drawers and closets emptied, it was fascinating.  i really had no idea of the scope or depth of her collections.

so just minutes before the sale started the man running it laid the ground rules out for all of us.  no running, no boxes, only 10 people at a time in the house.
these were wonderful rules b/c oftentimes there is a lot of running and mayhem with people just frantically filling boxes with stuff.  so this was a nice touch, miss doris would have appreciated that.

so i being 2nd in line got in with the first group.
i knew exactly what i was looking for.
this burberrys trench and a little iron dog doorstop.
i knew i'd be thrilled if i got either but i also knew there would be a good chance the family would have gotten both items.

i searched high and low for the trench.  couldn't find it anywhere and assumed the fam did get it.
i did find the doorstop and was very happy.

i went through her massive and i mean massive colleciton of clothing and found the vintage i. magnin maxi dress.
i was very happy to have a small item from the house that i had long admired and something from her fashionable closet.

the next day i knew everything was going to be 1/2 off so i made sure we were first in line.
i went straight away to the vintage clothing section to have another look around and there it was...
angels singing...

*** the burberry trench ***

  i asked the lady overseeing that room where it came from and she said she found it deep in the back of the closet on a hook.  i really wasn't sure it would fit me as miss doris was teeny tiny.  but it did.

i can't really tell you what this means to me.
it's the first thing i ever noticed about her when i first moved here,
this sweet woman walking her poodle in her trenchcoat.

so now the trench hangs in my closet and i plan to wear it often and with joy.
and i know miss doris would love that.



  1. I'm absolutely sure she would love that...and that you were first in line.

    I love that you took the time to get the things that reminded you most of her. xo

  2. Sweet story. When my old neighbor passed her family let us go through her home and pick whatever we wanted. I was so overwhelmed I got very little. If I had known they were going to put it all on the curb...literally the next day, I would have taken more time. It broke my heart to see her things being gone through by strangers walking the street. But, she would have been happy knowing someone less fortunate had gotten things they needed.

    Lisa in Fort Worth

  3. That's awesome that you wear her coat as much out of respect as fashion.

    I had to laugh, though, thinking of Joan Rivers and her Fashion Police idea of "Bitch stole my look!" :)

    Our friend Maryann is nearing 90-and I hope that when I am that old, people will still want to hang around with me and go out to eat, shop and do whatever. Sadly, so many times as people age ( and lose family members ) they become invisible to society.

    Their stories-and their things-are valuable in ways we can't being to imagine.

  4. I am so happy for you! That is a wonderful thing - to have some of your friend's treasures! I think she is so happy knowing you have that wonderful trench!

  5. I'm so happy you got her Trench. Synchronicity I think. You were meant to have it.

  6. Oh that's so perfect, you were meant to have it.
    I didn't realise that was how estate sales worked, we don't have them over here, that one must have been tinged with such sadness for you.

  7. That's wonderful, Janet! I've never been to an estate sale and it sounds fascinating. I like that they set the rules for civility.

  8. so sweet. do post the doorstop. we were "adopted" by an older, childless couple from church. when they moved into a nursing home, he asked what I would like from their home. the only thing I really coveted was an old doorstop, a brick, actually, covered in needlepoint, stitched with his initials. I'm such a sap. Of all their fine things, I just wanted a small remembrance. I love that old thing. I miss that man very much.


  9. What a wonderful story. I am sure she would want friends and family to have the first opportunity. I know I would want that, I'd be disappointed if they missed it because they were too sad or felt it improper. Enjoy the things and the memories they bring.

  10. Congrats on your cherished treasures. Enjoy your precious memories. Please share a photo of the doorstop with us as well.

  11. Beautiful, beautiful story, Janet. I think it's wonderful that you went to Miss Doris' estate sale. And clearly, it was meant to be ... that coat belongs with you. The last two paragraphs of your post bring tears to my eyes. Sometimes it's the little things that keep special people in our hearts. Miss Doris will always be in yours.

  12. That is so nice you have a piece of Miss Doris' life. I feel the same way at estate sales, the sadness of seeing someone's possessions. I went to one yesterday. It was obvious the woman had passed away quite recently. I can never go through the clothes at estate sales. It feels too personal to me, but I can easily rummage through them at garage sales. When I came home, I did say to my husband, "I am never going to have that much stuff when I die." Fortunately, I do live quite a minimalist lifestyle already!

  13. I think it's great you were able to get a few special mementos to remember your dear friend. Will you ever wear that jacket without thinking of her?

  14. Lovely post. So nice that you decided to attend the sale. Whenever you wear the jacket or see the doorstop, you'll think of your dear friend. It's nice to have mementos.

  15. I'm glad that you went to the sale and now have something to connect with your friend and remember her by. I find it very disconcerting to see someone's entire life displayed through their objects, but it's also fascinating. If you take a peek at my life in one hundred objects blog you'll see all the odd assortment of stuff that describes my life!

  16. Thank you for sharing this, Janet. I loved every word.

  17. I think that dear "Miss Doris" is smiling down on you wearing the beautiful trench - you have made her very happy because you will appreciate the coat and think of Miss Doris every time you wear it !

  18. A beautiful story and legacy of friendship. Thanks for sharing. We should all be so fortunate to leave behind stylish trench coats and stylish friends who treasure them.



  19. It was absolutely meant to be Janet... Maybe Miss Doris kept it for you for the next day... You look amazing as ever. S x

  20. Such an interesting story Janet. And you look just as good as Miss Doris in the trench coat. I love it! I had to go back and read about Miss Doris in your blog from 2010. Did
    you ever get her life story out of her? I am inspired to dress up more when at home doing chores too. I guess I need to get some pretty aprons to wear so my clothes won't get messy.

  21. Janet,

    I'm sure that you getting that trench coat was meant to be! How wonderful that you have something to remember her by. She sounded like a classy you!

    My neighbor Mary that moved to Oregon last fall gave me a few items from her home before she left. Every time I look at those pieces, they remind me of her. :)


  22. Smashing...I just love this story.

  23. I just love this. I really do. How wonderful that her things are loved and shared among people who really want them. I think when you lose someone you can't help but think of your own mortality. When I was at a funeral this autumn, I decided I would make sure I had it arranged that at MY funeral/happy hour there would be tables set up like a yard sale of allllll my collections. Haha I figure everyone can take a piece of me, and my family won't have an episode of fine tabletop and artwork hoarders on their hands.

  24. I agree...she would love it. Very neat story Janet :)

  25. I think she'd have been cranky if you HADN'T gone to her estate sale.

    Wear the coat happily, in memoriam. Boy you are a nice person.

  26. What a beautiful story....and a beautiful way to remember and honor someone who obviously was very special.

  27. you are a gem of a friend to work so hard to find this coat.
    {lucky coat, that it gets to stay in the neighborhood!}
    i know you made miss doris happy.
    i'd love to see the doorstop.

  28. Oh Janet, this is such a sweet story and as I was reading the comments, I thought, not only did Miss Doris want you to have it, she knew you'd want it at half price! ;) Two great girls I've learn so much from already. I'm stepping up the old duds!! Thanks so much!

  29. The coat is a treasure in every sense of the word! Wonderful post!

  30. What a memento to a wonderful friendship, Miss Doris would be very happy. xxx

  31. She is happy, so happy you have it Janet!
    You wrote this post so beautifully, btw.....really good writing!
    I love estate sales, and you really made me think about them a bit more.
    You are right. It is a direct insight into a person's life.

  32. I've never been to an estate sale, but I'm sure it must be a very poignant experience. How lovely that you have chosen to bring fresh life into that wonderful coat, and to remember Miss Doris by doing so.

  33. Every time it rains, that's Doris requesting you to sport her trench.
    Did she have an umbrella or a parasol? Surely she must have. I saved an image of Doris to sketch. She's waiting patiently.

  34. That trench coat suits you Janet. It was meant to be.
    I have only been to one epic estate sale and I was so overwhelmed that I left with very little. I hope another will come up at some time as they are great resources for vintage goodies.
    Miss Doris's memory will live on through your trench and door stop.

  35. I know I love this idea. You are a kind and gentle woman. Loved reading this. Coat looks excellent on you, too. xo
    -Suzanne in Illinois

  36. It WAS meant to be! Good for you. You wear it with class!

  37. great story Janet! love that you got the trench- it's perfect on you.
    I have a similar story of my neighbor, Miss Nina, she went to live in a nursing home and had me call her from her estate sale. I would have thought that would have felt sad to her, but instead she was so happy there was such a long line to get in.
    happy weekend!

  38. You know she hid that coat for you, don't you? So special! And I'm sure she is looking down and knows how special these items are to you. :) donna

  39. Oh...I think it's jut wonderful that you found what you were looking for....and now you will always have a little of Doris with you. A beautiful story Janet.

  40. Hi Janet,
    I would love to see a post of what you are eating lately. Please take some new pictures! Thank you.
    Xo Tina

  41. I (of course) never knew this dear lady but I am sure she would smiling down on you and your trench coat. What a lovely story.

  42. Yes, I think she would have been shocked if you had not attended her estate sale, and I think she would have wanted you to have her coat for a really great price. In fact, I tend to believe that she arranged for you to get that coat for a really great price. . .but of course can't be positive about that. But I can believe.


  43. That's beautiful!
    I love that her trench coat will continue to grace the neighborhood!


  44. How sweet.
    Hope we see the doorstop in your house soon :)

  45. Such lovely words and rememberance, Janet! I'm sure you felt Miss Doris had a divine hand in the tucked away trench that was suddenly there the second day for half price. She was making sure you got it and knew how you loved a good deal. You have good karma that follows you, in case you don't know! Miss Doris was so fortunate to have you in her life. That too was divine doing, don't you think? Thank you for sharing this wonderfully fortuitous experience, and enjoy your treasures! Sherry

  46. It is a difficult thing to go to a sale of good friends' things after they have passed away. I went to an auction of a friend who was still living. Austin and his wife had been great antique collectors and his wife had passed away 10 years earlier. He was having all their things auctioned as he was going to assisted living. I bought many things that day and a box of books went to the basement. Well over a year later I went through that box. Inside were several of Austin's old high school year books. I immediately called his daughter and she said they thought they had taken them out of the auction things and was so surprised. I offered to take them to her Dad. She said the next day was his birthday (86th) I think. So we agreed to meet and I would present them to him for his birthday. He was so pleased and so fragile, but, I got a smile. It meant so much to me. Sadly, Austin passed away the very next day. Some things are certainly meant to be and I'm so glad I had that time with my old friend. I'm also sure you must have been meant to have the two things you longed for. You look great in your coat. I bet Doris would be so pleased you got it.

  47. Oh my gosh as soon as you said the sale was for Miss Doris, I realized where the trench came from (sometimes I am a little slow, haha). Wow, What an incredible story! I know she would have been excited to have someone wear and love an item the way she did. Great story, thank you for sharing it :)

  48. I read this and now I have to go back to read about Miss Doris - I assume you wrote about her.

    But, I just had to comment on what a great story you told.

  49. Lovely trench indeed! Got my eye on that and so as your next posts.

  50. So happy you got the trench! It was meant to be!

  51. It's a great story. Yes, one of those meant to be moments. My mom has gone to estate sales of friends and neighbors that have passed, and has left with a special treasure to remember her friends by. I have family items too, and it never felt creepy to have these things around. Actually has been comforting. I hope Miss Doris' items are for you as well.


  52. You look great in that trench. I think it is so wonderful that someone wants your stuff after you are gone, and even better that you have sentimental memories about these items.

  53. what a sweet story...just like miss dora. AND YOU! you are so sweet in respecting her things..exactly the way she would have wanted it. \
    PS you look fabulous in the coat

  54. I think Miss Doris hid that coat away for you so you could get it the next day at half price. She wanted YOU to wear it. Wear it with joy and in good health.


kindness is never out of style.

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