Monthly Archives: May 2013

Outside Inside Turner’s Corner – Part I

Memorial Day Weekend 2013 Ventnor, New Jersey

Memorial Day Weekend 2013 Ventnor, New Jersey

Turner’s Corner is the name of a building that I own where Innovasion is a tenant.  The building was built by John Turner in about 1880, and is located at an intersection that was the historic commericial intersection of a then rural community.  The building was purchased by me and my husband in 1985 to house Land Dimensions, our land use planning and engineering consulting company.   Because of the growth of the business, ten years ago we moved to a larger building, but retained ownership of our first “professional office” building.

A few years ago, we divided the building in order to house three different business tenants concurrently, and over the years we have had tenants come and go.  In June 2012, Innovasion took over one of the spaces when a real estate company left.

We have had a wonderful tenant in the upstairs portion of the building, and he is leaving because of a need to move his operation to a different location.  (Sorry to see you go Bob.)  In the course of a conversation with my husband, Bob mentioned that his wife and his son recently opened a breakfast and lunch restaurant in Ocean City, NJ.  Larry told him we certainly will come to visit for breakfast when we are at the shore.

The SOUTH Jersey shore is where we spent Memorial Day weekend 2013.  The South Jersey Shore is not the Jersey Shore of MTV.   I had a list of things to do while we were at the shore.  Top on the list was an estate sale in Ocean City.  I found (but did not buy) a beautiful chest that was in pretty good shape.

What I Did Not Buy

What I Did Not Buy

The estate sale had a way over-priced dining room set.  As a matter of fact, one of my resources has a nicer set with as many pieces  as the estate sale was selling in finished condition and for the same price.

Estate Sale Buffet

Estate Sale Buffet

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My resource’s dining room set is much nicer and costs the same

The china closet at the estate sale

The china closet at the estate sale

My found china closet that is waiting for me to pick it up

My found china closet that is waiting for me to pick it up

Next up after the estate sale was breakfast at the Sunrise Café (the breakfast and lunch restaurant that Bob’s wife and son own).  When we walked in, there was Bob busing tables and seating customers.  It was a hopping place at 11:30 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, so there was very little time for Bob to socialize.  In a brief conversation, my question to Bob was – so….does either your son or your wife have restaurant background, and the answer was no.  Next question – so….?  Bob ran to get the menu with the story on the back.

Inspiration

Inspiration

Sunrise Café opened in 2013 with the hopes of bringing residents and vacationers a place to enjoy home cooking by the beach.  Our dream of opening a breakfast place started before the passing of our family’s guardian angel, “Nana.”  Helen M. Reid, a lifelong vacationer in Ocean City, loved her family and supported their dreams to the fullest.  She was their best support system.  Anyone who knew her was truly blessed to have gotten to love her in their lives.  The family has used her memory to start a small business, here, in her favorite place.  Some of these memories include walks to some of our favorite places in Ocean City, NJ, sitting on the beach, taking long walks along the boardwalk or Asbury Ave.  or stopping for a cup of tea.  Those small moments nurtured our creativity and influenced us to appreciate the importance of family.

We'll Be Back

We’ll Be Back

This blog is a tribute to a Nana that I did not know.   In today’s culture of celebrity worship, Nana was an ordinary woman.  Her ordinary life of raising a family, sitting at the beach, walking on the boardwalk and stopping for a cup of tea, was lived as an extraordinary person, and her family paid her the greatest tribute by following their dream because of her.

Post Script

Estate Sale Server

Estate Sale Server

The server where I buy some of my  my stuff

The server where I buy some of my my stuff

Just like the ones I found - how cute painted yellow

Just like the ones I found – how cute painted yellow – Chrissiescollection.blogspot.com

 

 

Best, Theresa

A Mid-Twentieth Century Girl Doing Business in a 21st Century World

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Starting in the Middle – Part II – What is Found In America?

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Theresa – when you left off last week, you were showing us some pics of things that you found at an auction.  Just to clarify….when you are out shopping as Found In America, you don’t purchase anthing?

That’s right – ain’t no money coming out of my pocket.

But, Found In America is a business?  How do you have a business selling things, if you don’t buy them?

I am starting out slow…I have a strategy – lol.  If anyone is actually reading this blog, they may think I have a good idea and begin to follow me on Instagram.

Do you have a Found In America handle?

I do – it is foundiam.

What is it that you post on Instagram, and why would people want to follow you?

Right now, I am posting a mix of inspiring design images and the things that I find while I am on my travels.  I am hoping that I will eventually get to the point where I have so many followers that eventually someone will want to purchase what I have found.

How does that work logistically?

I am working on that (i.e., I’ll worry about it when someone actually wants to buy something).

What is the most interesting thing you have found?

A Dinosaur Head

A Dinosaur Head

That’s awesome!  But do you think there’s a large market for that?

Not for your average homeowner, but there is a commercial establishment somewhere in the world that would love to have it.  They just need to follow me (on Instagram).

Last week, you showed us what you saw at the outside auction.  Can you show us what was going on inside?

A Pair of Paris Apartment Nighstands

A Pair of Paris Apartment Nighstands

A Mid-Century Chair

A Mid-Century Chair

Beautiful Wulitzer Jukebox

Beautiful Wulitzer Jukebox

A Rat Pack Bar

A Rat Pack Bar

Can you help us out with what you mean by a Rat Pack Bar?

The Rat Pack ruled Las Vegas and Hollywood during the 1950’s and 1960’s  They were Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop & Peter Lawford.

The Rat Pack

The Rat Pack

Do you have examples of the kinds of chairs you find at the auction?

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Do you find things that don’t necessarily appeal to you, but know they have value?

Yes, I found a pair of Hollywood Regency style chairs that don’t work for me, but certainly would work in a room that is looking for glamour.

Hollywood Regency

Hollywood Regency

I found this black pair on Pinterest for $2,140.00

418272b5aa288a18153fbecaf34b6530Have you ever bought a pair of chairs for your own use?

Yes, Cheryl and I went hunting for a client, and found these mid-century fireside chairs.  We bought them because of their potential.

We saw the potential

We saw the potential

We put a lot of time into looking for the right fabric

We put a lot of time into looking for the right fabric

Are you ever tempted to bid on something?

Yes, I loved this rug and wanted it for a space I am working on at the shop.  But, the guy I was bidding against was very, very serious and I knew I really didn’t have a chance, so I gave in pretty early on….he was very intimidating.

I Gave It Up

I Gave It Up

So….you left without buying anything? 

OK – I confess….just one little cute chair.

So Cute!  I could not resist.

So Cute! I could not resist.

Remind us again – what is it we need to do to help you be a success with your Found In America venture.

Follow Found In America on Instagram – foundiam.

Best, Theresa

A Mid-Twentieth Century Girl Doing Business in a 21st Century World

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Prelude to Found In America – Part IV

What Was the Name of the Cigar Factory?

When my mother was 13 and finished the 8th grade, she left her education behind to work in a cigar factory in Philadelphia.  She was the next to youngest of six children and her father died when she was 9.   I do not know what kind of job her father had, but when he died, the kids had to pick up the slack.  I do not believe her mother, Grand Mom Christine, had any discernible skills to bring in any income.  But, Grand Mom Christine, my mother and her brothers and sisters would leave Philadelphia to spend the summer in New Jersey “picking peppers” as one way of producing income.  Today, it is known as farm labor.

There was no insurance money to collect, even though there was a life insurance policy on my grandfather.  The policy was not owned by my grandmother, but by someone in the neighborhood.  I was told this was a source of income for people, because they would take out life insurance policies on other people, and when that person died, they collected the money.

Another interesting tidbit my mother told me was that when my grandfather was “laid out,” he was laid out in their home and people would come to the house to pay their respects.  Part of the scene was for there always to be professional mourners.  These were the ladies in the neighborhood who were dressed head to toe in black and whose job it was to sit, weep and sob throughout the day and into the evening.

A little side trip down memory lane on my remembrances of my Grand Mom Christine.  She died at the age of 90 something when I was 13.   My grandmother lived in an upstairs apartment in my Aunt Eleanor’s house.  When you walked up the steps to enter into her apartment, you entered into the kitchen.  I never ate anything she cooked, and the only thing I remember about her food is that there was always a pot of gravy (tomato sauce) cooking.  The meat in the pot was not meatballs, or sausage, or pork, it was chicken legs (gross).

Grand Mom Christine

Grand Mom Christine

The lights were never on in the kitchen.  There was no table to dine at, but in the corner was a huge round table that was set up as a shrine.  It had at least a dozen small and large statues of saints and church-type candles burning all the time.

The only other room in the apartment was her bedroom.  It had a bed, and I am guessing furniture for her clothes.  The stand-out piece of furniture in her room was a big wood rocking chair by a window, where she sat, ate and slept.  Yes, slept – for the last 20 years of her life, she never slept in a bed.  I was told that she was afraid to go to sleep in the bed for fear she would not wake up.

Grand Mom Christine spoke no English, but she was a known fixture in the neighborhood with an ability to communicate to passers-by.  The house that my Aunt Eleanor lived in was at a busy intersection and the living room part of the house was a former storefront.  So when my Grand Mom was put outside, it was at a very busy corner.

Grand Mom Christine sat on a beach chair all day long (weather permitting).  This was her single form of entertainment for years, and years, and years.  When the sun was hot, she sat with an umbrella held up for protection.  She always had money in the pocket of her dress and the communication with the passers-by was in the form of giving them money and getting them to understand that she needed them to go to the local liquor store to pick up a bottle.  Yes, Grand Mom Christine dressed all in black, on a beach chair at a busy intersection in South Philadelphia, with her umbrella up, drinking her daily dose out of a brown bag.

Coming back to the present, as I was strolling through a local antique shop, I spotted the most colorful vintage looking poster.  The colors were a vibrant red and green and as I got closer I saw that it was an advertisement for a cigar factory in Philadelphia.  I believed the name of the factory was the same one where my mother worked as a young girl of 13, but I wanted to have it confirmed.  My brother Frank was at home when I called, and the question to him was:  “What was the name of the cigar factory where Mommy worked?”  It was the name that was on the poster – Bayuk.

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I bought it and it is stored safely in my home.  It is my intent to have it framed, but not now.  I need to save up for the cost of framing.  The cost to have it framed will probably run into the thousands.  At this time, I have no real place in my home that fits with the style of the poster.  Therefore, I have decided that the perfect place to hang it will be in the family room, but that will mean a complete overhaul of the room, and that will take more money than my husband is willing to spend.

IMG_8015 (2)My mother with Grand Mom Christine and my cousin Theresa

Best, Theresa

A Mid-Twentieth Century Girl Doing Business in a 21st Century World

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Prelude to Found In America – Part III

It is approximately 4,700 miles from Wenonah, New Jersey to Messina, Sicily

Ricordo di Messina – A Proven Theory

I have a theory that was proven true.  The theory is that whatever it is you are looking for, it is not far from where you live.  If you keep on looking, something that you can connect to is bound to turn up.

My maiden name is Messina.  I always believed my father was born in the town of Messina in Sicily and my brother Frank believes it was Palermo.  My brother Salvatore doesn’t know any more than Frank or I know. Yes, my father is gone.  He was with us for almost 80 years, and he is not here to verify.

A few months ago I pulled out the only two things that are left of my father, Thomas Messina.  One is a booklet in Italian that I believed was his passport until I found an Italian to American translation.  It appears as if what I thought was a passport is a bank savings book.  Now that I have found a bank book, I will investigate to see if I have “found money.”  The other piece of him that I have is his father’s naturalization paper.  This is a document from 1928 and the document notes that he (Salvatore Messina) had his 15 year old son Thomas with him.  I believe at that time, this served as the means for my father to also become a citizen.

My mother’s maiden name was DiEnna and we do not know where her mother and father originated from.  We did not think to ask the obvious – Di (of) Enna – was there a town in Italy named Enna?

When I pulled out the passport/savings book, it had a stamp with what I thought could be the name of a town – Castrogiovanni.  Thinking this was a passport, I thought I may have stumbled across where my father came from.  Interestingly enough, there is a town in Sicily that was named Castrogiovanni, but in the early 1920’s, the name was changed to Enna.   This now leads my family to believe that my mother’s father may also have had Sicilian roots.

What we do know is that life was hard for everyone who immigrated here, and most especially for my father.  He was an only child.  His mother died when he was two or three, and he came to America with his father as a young boy of five.  His father died when he was 15, and he had no one to really care for him.  The word homeless is the terminology used today.  He never talked about his early years.  It seems that life really started for him when he met my mother and together they had three children.  Because of his experiences growing up, he now had what he had always hoped for – a family.

He met my mother at a wedding that he had crashed.  Crashing weddings on a Saturday evening was a guarantee for one good meal a week.  Her name was Carmella as was his mother’s.  I believe that may have been one of the bonds that kept them going for 50 plus years.  Their years together were not easy.  Money was a scarcity, but not a focus.  He provided for us what was never provided for him, a roof over our heads and food on the table.  We were never left out in the rain, nor did we ever miss a meal.  Because this was my experience growing up, I have never feared losing what is the most precious to me – the love of family and friends.  And for material possessions, I know that I can survive as long as I have the basics:  food and shelter.

Traveling a yard sale in my own hometown of Wenonah, New Jersey, I came across a ceramic plate with the words – Ricodro di Messina.  Wenonah has a population of less than 2,000 and is only one square mile.  Of course, I was curious and asked how they came to have the plate.  The young lady told me that her husband had lived in Sicily and brought the plate home with him.  I am hopeful of one day making the trip to Messina, Sicily, but in the meantime I have in my heart the translation of what the words on the plate are:  memory, recollection, remembrance of Messina.

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A Stroll Down My Mother’s Memory Lane

Held Up Head – Second Week

Happy Mother’s Day

Honest, I am the most disoranized, I have no idea where anything is, I have a basement, garage and shop full of stuff, nothing of real sentimental value that has been passed down….my mother saved nothing (well actually, there wasn’t anything to save), I have no idea where all of the olds photos are….but I have my baby book and I knew exactly where it was when I looked for it this morning.

Circa 1950 - the year I was born

Circa 1950 – the year I was born

I was born during a simpler time….what does that mean?  When it came to knowing how to take care of your new baby, you were given a book to take home.  No ordering books on line at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, no TV shows on the subject, and certainly no internet because PC’s, iPad’s or cell phones as yet were to be conceived.  And because women’s hospital stays were a lot longer then than they are now, you had time to read before you left the hospital.  You were not driven out of the hospital because insurance companies did not drive the length of your stay.  At that time, time in the hospital after giving birth was a minimum of one week….rich or poor.

The book has 80 pages, and appears to have covered all of the bases for what you needed to know about caring for a healthy baby.

There was no question at that time, that this baby’s life was being entrusted to this loving mother and father.

A LIFE In Your Hands

A LIFE In Your Hands

“Children can be one of the greatest satisfactions in life.  They can give their parents more happiness and also more fun than anything else.  Around children develop many home interests that keep the parents together and help maintain their youth and their joy in living.”

Your NEW Baby

Your NEW Baby

“A young mother and father need the doctor’s help in planning for the health of their baby.  It is a good plan to make the doctor the general adviser and to ask him all questions about the baby.  Often he will give a definite answer to a puzzling problem; sometimes just talking over a problem with the doctor may help the mother to find her own answer.

Your Doctor is Important

Your Doctor is Important

“Before the first baby arrives in a family, the mother and father will want to have a talk about the kind of home they would like to have in which to bring up this baby and also the other children they hope for some day.”

Give Your Baby a GOOD Home

Give Your Baby a GOOD Home

“A baby’s clothes are for the baby’s comfort and should be planned with that in mind and not to satisfy the mother’s longing for frills.”

Your Baby's Clothes

Your Baby’s Clothes

“Bath time, next to feeding time, is the time many mothers and babies enjoy most – and fathers, too, on Sunday mornings.  When the baby has his clothes off he is freer to stretch, to kick, and to twist, and he sometimes delights his parents with a new trick.  But although bathing is usually fun for both mother and baby, nevertheless, it needs to be done skilfully and carefully.”

How to Bathe Your Baby

How to Bathe Your Baby

“The health, happiness, and efficiency of the older child and of the adult depend largely on the habits formed in early childhood.  The habits of the little child are begun in the first year of life, some of them directly after birth.”

Habits Are Important

Habits Are Important

“The milk produced by a healthy mother contains almost everything a young baby needs for nourishment, in a form that the baby is able to digest easily.”

Breast Feeding

Breast Feeding

The baby to keep well needs not only to get the things that are good for him, but to be protected from disease.  Doctors do not know how to prevent all diseases in babies, but they do know how to prevent many diseases.  Usually the first step in preventing a disease is understanding what causes it.  When doctors understand what kind of things make babies sick, they can help mothers protect babies from those things.

I wonder if my mother thought this doctor was pointing his finger at her.

I wonder if my mother thought this doctor was pointing his finger at her.

The one and only entry that my mother put in my “Record of Development” was at the age of two weeks – I held up my head.  So….as far as my development goes over all of these years, I have kept my head held up.

I held up my head at two weeks

I held up my head at two weeks

Best, Theresa

A Mid-Twentieth Century Girl Doing Business in a 21st Century World

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Starting in the Middle – What is Found In America?

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What is Found In America?

FIA is a mobile shopping resource – Discovering What You Will Love

Where did this “business” idea come from?

This business idea came from me deciding to never, ever have a bricks and mortar storefront that had inventory that I purchased to resell.  I had no desire to ever make that kind of investment again.

Closed this down and said I will never do this again

Closed this down and said I will never do this again

So then how come you have a bricks and mortar store located in Washington Townshnip, New Jersey?

Because I’m stupid?

Innovasion in Turnersville, Washingtown Township

Innovasion in Turnersville, Washingtown Township

OK – tell us more.

My favorite past time is wandering through thrift shops/consignment shops, antique stores and flemarkets.  I also love yardsales, auctions and estate sales.  Sometimes, I even find myself in traditional (discount) retail stores.  When I am out I find such fabulous things, I think I want to buy it because there is someone in this world that needs to have it.

Can you show us some examples?

Yes….because I have so many, today I will show examples from the auctions that I travel.  The auction houses have concurrent inside and outside auctions.  As you will see, the outside items are the more chippy and shabby – all of the stylish stuff you now see on Pinterest.

Post Office Boxes?

Post Office Boxes?

I don't know - so cute...a large(er) crate with cubbies with litttle boxes

I don’t know – so cute…a large(er) crate with cubbies with litttle boxes

Definitely would need some work

Definitely would need some work

Love the color

Love the color

The following is a description of these chests that someone local bought and is selling – Three very industrial (and very rusty) metal storage bins for garage, shop, or home.  The bottom one is the best, two lids on a low wide storage area. Really look wild all together – so $75.00 for all three!

I know who bought these

I know who bought these

These lockers are compatible with the chests, but they are definitely lockjaw waiting to happen.

Lockjaw waiting to happen

Lockjaw waiting to happen

What is that interesting green something in front of the lockers? 

Oh  – I can’t tell you about that yet….I’m doing a blog post about it – maybe next week.

So cute

So cute

Big old chippy mirror

Big old chippy mirror

Very French!

Very French!

Is this zebra too cute?

Is this zebra too cute?

I’m sorry – is this interview almost over?  I am really running out of time.

Oh dear!  You said that the auctions were outside and inside and you only showed us items from outside.  You don’t have time for some inside things?

Ummmm – Ok – I’ll do one quick one – this is one of a pair of loveseats that I thought were very, very attractive.

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But, there are a few more questions I would like to ask.  When will you have time to talk again?

I’m not sure.   Maybe we can catch up again next week.  We’ll stay in touch.

And, if you need some background info….you can read two entries from June – We Packed Our Bags and Left and A Peacock and a Fish.

Best, Theresa

A Mid-Twentieth Century Girl Doing Business in a 21st Century World

 

In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

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Prelude to Found In America – Part II

Discarded and Found – A Tale of Three Homes

1622 Springfield Avenue, Pennsauken, New Jersey, was our first home.  We made settlement in February, 1972.  We were 22 and bought our first home for $22,500.  The agent that sold us our home also had a mortgage company and he held our mortgage.  He also held Larry’s parents mortgage, and because he knew the family, he assured us that if we ever got into trouble, we need only to make our interest payments, and catch up on the principle when we were out of trouble.

We were young, we both worked, and knew we had time to work on the home to make it our own, before the children came.   The first project was ripping out the old kitchen and putting in the new.  Larry and his father took on this three month project at night and on weekends.  My memory does not recollect how long I went without a kitchen sink and had one spoon and one glass that were washed in the “barbershop” sink in our one and only bathroom.  (Today barbershop sinks are known as “pedestal” sinks.)

The kitchen went from what would now be called a “vintage” kitchen to modern – with everything that went with the early 1970’s color palette of autumn gold, orange and avocado green.   Our new cabinets were a rich walnut color, the sink and refrigerator were autumn gold, the wallpaper was a crisscross plaid of yellow, orange and green with daises and the floor was yellow linoleum.   Our new refrigerator was white and “pre-owned,” and was given to us by Larry’s boss.  Larry did such a great job of spray painting it autumn gold – to match the new sink – he even darkened the edges just as if it were store bought.

And what of the old cabinets that were taken out?  I don’t know – but one single metal kitchen cabinet was taken to the basement to hang above the washer and dryer to be used as a laundry cabinet – repurposed and re-used.

When we moved to our “move-up” home in 1978, the newly designed and built tract house had the laundry room on the first floor, as you came into the house from the driveway.  Because we now had two small children, I thought the better use of that space was to be a playroom; therefore, the decision was made to put the washer and dryer in the basement.  Not a big deal, I had gone to the basement for six years to do laundry, I could carry on that tradition.  For whatever reason, we took the old kitchen cabinet/repurposed laundry cabinet that we hung in the basement with us to hang over the washer/dryer in our new home’s basement.

September 1992 we moved into my “dream” home.  It was a dream home, because I never dreamed I would live in such a beautiful home.  No thought was given to the kitchen cabinet/repurposed laundry cabinet when we moved.  Why would I?  Where would I think I would need it or put it?  The new laundry room was on the second floor with the bedrooms and I had built in cabinets for folded laundry and shelving above the washer and dryer – I had arrived!

A few years ago, I was doing my favorite pastime – shopping at a yard sale.  There was someone in the community that had three major yards sales a year and filled up her very huge front and side yards with stuff.  There was something lying on her lawn that made my heart skip a beat.  It was, I believed with everything in me, my kitchen cabinet/repurposed laundry cabinet.  I was sure of it because that cabinet was the beginning of my decorating sensibilities.  The cabinet was white metal and we did live with our old kitchen for almost a year, before we ripped it out.  To pretty up the metal cabinets I bought decals to put on them.  Today we would call it giving them style.

My immediate reaction was all me – my first question was – how much for that cabinet?  Yes, I know if this were a MasterCard commercial, the answer would be priceless – but, this is the real world and the question to myself was – how much do I have to pay for something I already owned?

It was a fair price – $10.00.  I knew this was my cabinet, but I wanted Larry to authenticate it for me.  He was at the office which is five minutes from where I was.  I told him it wasn’t an emergency, but he needed to leave the office at that moment and come to the yard sale to verify that this was our cabinet. I believed it was ours’ because of the half-moon crescent flowery decals on it, and he believed it was ours because he recognized the dent on one of the doors.  That sealed it. I offered $5.00 because I am always hard-pressed to pay full retail – most especially at yard sales.  And, the question is how did the cabinet find its way to a lawn five miles from our old house where we had left it?

My guess was the present owners of our home had re-done the basement and put the cabinet out to the trash, and that part of the yard sale contents must be stuff that was trash-picked and put out for sale.  With this thought, I felt completely within my bounds to offer $5.00 for something that had cost the new owner (trash-picker) nothing.  Offer accepted – they made a $5.00 profit and I got my cabinet back at half price.  (My guess of the cabinet in the trash was verified by the couple that purchased our house when I saw them at a neighborhood event.)

The cabinet does not have a place of honor in my dream home that is now 20 years old.  It hangs on a side wall in the garage and looks just the way it did when we moved into our first home 40 years ago.  I will not touch it – It will not be sanded, cleaned, painted or decorated (styled) – I love it just the way it is.  Forty years later, the discarded, left behind kitchen cabinet/repurposed laundry cabinet is the most valuable material possession I have.  And I will never leave this home without it.

I Once Was Lost But Now I'm Found

I Once Was Lost But Now I’m Found

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost but now I’m found

Was blind but now I see

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