I want to build up my collection of valuable items to leave for my children. Though they won’t inherit millions of dollars, I think my children will be even more appreciative of the meaningful items I have been saving for them. There are several very special doilies that great-grandmothers have made, along with some heirloom salt and pepper shakers.
I’m also keeping a Beanie Baby that is worth a projected $142,000, 239 track and field medals that Joel earned from 7th grade on up through college graduation, a four-foot tall state tractor-pull trophy belonging to my son Dashiell, and bridesmaid dresses from seven weddings, four of which have outlasted the marriages they celebrated.
Certainly, I understand that I can’t save every plastic food container or every empty coffee can. So, periodically, I go through our various storage areas to cull outgrown clothes and toys (particularly when I get sidetracked when traipsing to the basement to see if Joel has electrocuted himself).
Our town has two non-profit second-hand shops with proceeds benefitting admirable causes, so by giving the shirts off our backs, we are helping poor children in Romania and our public library.
On top of the good causes, both places are great stores at which to shop. The other day, I took my five-year-old daughter to one of them, forgetting that I had recently gone on a particularly zealous household purge. As she and I were browsing, she spotted a doll missing a leg.
“Look, Mommy. There’s a doll just like mine! She’s even missing the same leg as mine, and the stain on her dress is the same as mine too.”
I was struck by the story a friend of mine had recently told; her mother-in-law had re-purchased all of the toys and clothes she had donated to the second-hand shop only days before. At the time, I had thought it hilarious.
“Hmm! That’s interesting honey. How about we go look at the book section?” I said as I nearly dislocated her shoulder while dragging her to another area of the store.
“Mommy! They have the same Berenstain Bear book as I have at home, and somebody used a green crayon all over it, just like I did!” Clementine’s enthusiasm at the many coincidences was growing with every passing moment, but I was able to curtail it a bit by yanking her hair to turn her head toward another section.
“Yes, that is really something, dear! I just remembered we need to get home. I’m hungry for lunch!” I hustled her toward the door.
That’s when Nubs caught my eye. Nubs was a pink chenille teddy bear my dear friend had given to Clementine at her birth. I knew Nubs was expensive because I had wistfully listed the toy on my baby registry, knowing that it was well beyond the budgets of most of my friends. When Dawn gave it to my little late-in-life baby, I was touched. Nubs ranked right up there with my legacy doilies.
I was stunned that someone would donate such a bear to a thrift store, and I picked it up reverently. The second-hand price was $15, more than I could imagine paying for a used teddy bear, especially when we already had one exactly like it at home. For a moment, I considered getting it anyway, but, I didn’t want to prevent a deserving family from having such a special toy.
Later, when we arrived home, I couldn’t get Nubs off my mind. I decided to go up to Clementine’s room and make sure he was still safe on her shelf.
He wasn’t. Nor was he in the toy box, under the bed, or in the closet. My heart racing, I ransacked Clem’s room, then the rest of the house. Defying explanation, I had somehow donated Nubs during my obviously overzealous purge.
Breathlessly, I grabbed $15 from the petty cash drawer and returned to the store. I wish I could report sheepishly that I bought Clem’s own toy back. Unfortunately, the volunteer clerk reported that a toy collector had purchased Nubs only a few minutes before. Though I combed eBay and even went back to the original online vendor, Nubs wasn’t destined to become a part of Clementine’s future collection. I’m just thankful I hadn’t mistakenly donated that valuable Beanie Baby.
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