Priceless Memory For Sale: $18

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 223032 – 1076

Here’s the haps:

Mrs. Herb was feeling a lot better and wanted to go on an excursion. She’s not a big fan of going shopping for shopping’s sake but there are a couple of places she enjoys dawdling at. She likes Michael’s and Hobby Lobby and is able to spend some time in either one. Since I like Hobby Lobby (they have more stuff that appeals to guys, in my humble estimation) and they often have what she wants or a selection of yarns that TNT wants, she will spend more time there. But there is another store (that I think may be just local), that she really enjoys going to when she is allotted enough time to search diligently through its many bins and nooks and crannies and that is a second-hand type craft supply store with the likely name of Who Gives A Scrap. Their blurb is:

We are a donation based scrap store that carries an impressive mix of arts, craft, and hobbies supplies in addition to unique vintage finds.  We carry everything from scrapbook paper to game pieces, from used books to sewing patterns — the variety is a crafter’s dream. The reuse of materials is the most environmentally friendly way to reduce the waste stream. Come search for treasures on our 8,000+ sq ft sales floor!

Who Gives A Scrap

The old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” is really true. Often the things that are donated are things that someone else would have just thrown out. Miscellaneous fabrics and ribbons, old game pieces, buttons, paper of many descriptions, just a veritable plethora of “stuff.” Sometimes there are hobby kits or items that go with a hobby that was once a fad but now is out of favor, stamps and stamp pads, frames, glasses, paints, pens, pencils, really I can’t even think of it all. There are usually many things that are good or useful and I have even found a nice Schaeffer White Dot fountain pen and several used books and “things.”

Today I saw something that made me feel sad and melancholy. It was this picture hanging on the wall:

I am thinking from the styles and the way the paper looked it must be from around the Fifties or Sixties. I have a five-generation picture of my mother holding me and my aunt holding my cousin and my grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother that is of similar quality and style. In our modern world, a lot of people don’t think much about pictures anymore. I took this picture with my cellphone and never gave the process a thought but there was a time when pictures were rarer and to get someone to pose for a professional or semi-professional photo was kind of a big deal. Even if it was just an amateur family member, a photo like this was a lot of effort and expense for the time. It’s a little larger that an eight by ten and framed by someone who knew what they were doing. I took it off the wall to see if there were any identifying markings but I was afraid to take it apart to see if there was anything on the back of the picture itself. I guess I wasn’t eighteen dollars nosy, however, so I left it intact.

I hung it back up and wondered, even worried about it. The woman is obviously, at the very least, the grandmother, maybe even great or great-great to these eleven youngsters. Who would donate such a thing to such a place and why? Did somebody find it left in an attic somewhere in a newly purchased house? Had the old lady fallen out of favor with the family? Wasn’t there even one of those children who would want a keepsake like that? Do any of them even know it exists? Will it be there the next time I take Mrs. Herb there or will someone have purchased it for the nice frame and matting? If someone has bought it, will they look to see if there are any names on the back of it and try to follow up with someone or will they just toss it away?


  1. It’s unusual that thrift stores put personal and family photographs on sale. The usual policy is to set them aside and contact the donors. If no one identifies them the photos are placed into longer term storage or destroyed.

    • I understand the feeling. I left a tote full of them with one of my brothers to care for some years ago and now nobody knows what happened to them.

  2. You are right about “one man’s crap is another man’s treasure.” I heard about a story that one professor picked up a piece of paper which another professor had thrown into the waste basket. And the first professor used the idea on the scrap paper and eventually won the Nobel Price.

    • lol! That is a sideways view. How soon would it be before someone caught on, I wonder. Like the Far Side cartoon where the dog has the fender of a car mounted above his fireplace and his wife comes in and says to his friend, “Don’t let Rusty fool you. He didn’t catch it, the fool thing swerved to avoid him and hit a tree.” With Rusty scowling.

  3. Maybe it’s from an estate sale or contents of a house after someone died. It’s sad. Who are/were these people? Such a picture should be treasured by someone, not sold for the frame. 😞

  4. I would guess the 1950’s. We have quite a few pictures from that time that look exactly the same, often at a birthday party. The children in the photo who have survived are likely in their 70’s. Don’t be sad. My Mom made copies of old photos later in life when technology made that possible and passed them around. Hopefully the people who would treasure the photo have a copy or other ones of the same people. I am annoyed that people did not label photos on the back or said something like “Ma and me.” It would be a treasure except I have no idea who Ma and me are. I am lucky I have copies of photos that date back to the 19th century (My great great great grandfather Robert Rives died in 1885, so I know his photo is at least that old.

  5. I’m right there with you in being a little sad about this. You would think someone would treasure this, but no.

    Photos lose their relevance after 2 or maybe 3 generations, then they become a place to look at strangers.

    • Yeah, especially if there’s nobody to tell the story(ies) behind the picture. Sitting on a couch with an auntie or grandma who can tell you about it is kind of a gone thing anymore, I’m afraid.

      • I just noticed your title. I would be happy to buy some memory, and $18 seems like a bargain. I am noticing that the amount of memory I have on hand is starting to run low, so it might be wise to stock up. 🙂

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