Dad and Thrifty Genetics

My dad passed away on March 4, and as one tends to do during this kind of time in life, I've found myself doing a lot of thinking. And when I think of Dad, those thoughts are almost inseparable from the one thing he enjoyed more than almost anything else-- second-hand treasure hunting.

In his hale and hearty days, there was nothing that would stop him on a Saturday morning from scouring all the yard sales the upper Florida Keys had to offer. Our weekly phone call would be filled with tales and tallies-- how many yard sales he hit, how many things he found, who he ran into during his adventures and what he ultimately paid for his pirate booty.
(He did not hit any sales on his archaeological tour of Easter Island, but I hear they're pretty strict about letting you take the old, unusual things home. Also, I think the moai statuary wouldn't fit in his carry-on.)

During the week, he was led to his local thrift store, where he'd come back with whatever caught his eye-- from antique engravings to Star Wars character cups from Pizza Hut and items even he admitted he bought because he had absolutely no idea what they were.

Those items were apparently the best. Because they afforded hours and hours of detective-work fun.

Sundays, then, were devoted to the Upper Keys' flea market, rows of storage units opened up for business. Dad's favorite haunts were the Fifty Cent Bins, which he would dig through with relish to find his latest electronic gadget, kitschy collectible, or hidden bauble...

It was compulsion, entertainment, and history wrapped up in one fascinating, musty package.

So I learned my love of the thrift at the second-hand deck shoes of the master.
While I never gained the patience my dad did to weed elbow-deep in boxes of questionable origin, I do think fondly on my own childhood garage saling adventures with Dad. The 50 cents a week I earned from chores, I had learned, stretched far toward dollies and clothes, art supplies and Wonder Woman comic books.

And when it came to books, Dad was usually happy to kick in an extra buck or two for me. I recall more than once walking away with a giant grocery bag full of Nancy Drews for only a few dollars. Dad was proud to say he had a reader. And I was trembling with anticipation for stories not yet read.

As regular readers know, Dad and I got to a number of weekend thrifting forays while he was up here in Pittsburgh getting cancer treatment. He would come back with this trinket or that bit of "guy stuff" as he called it, a souvenir of his day out and a conversation piece for him back at assisted living.

This weekend, I donated some of his things back from whence they came-- the thrifts. It wasn't easy exactly, but it had to be done-- and the nice thing about thrifts stores is, now the ever-spinning cycle of ownership continues on.


31 comments:

Shanna said...

So sorry for you loss. From your previous posts about the fun you had with your dad thrifting I know you will miss him alot.
Are there ever the right words to say? Thinking of you.

Alex M said...

Sounds as if your dad was a wonderful man... sorry you had to let him (and some of his stuff) go. Thinking of you!

Jenn Thorson said...

Shanna- Dad used to say, "what would we do if we both didn't like thrifting?" :) Heh, and I never did figure out the answer to that.

Alex- Thank you. His taste and mine weren't quite the same, but he sure did love to find treasures!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Jenn what a sweet remembrance of your Dad! I am sorry for your loss but I know you have so many memories! Hugs, Linda

Carletta said...

I always say that I became my mother and grandmother years ago, and it is a good thing. It sounds like you and your dad also had much in common, including love and appreciation for each other. I am thinking of you in your loss.

Anonymous said...

Jenn, many thoughts and prayers are sent to you during this time of loss. Your father sounded like a wonderful man who passed on genes to appreciate the world around him a way that is evident every time I read your blog.

dustbunny8 said...

Sending good thoughts your way.When we share something like thrifting with someone special they never really leave us,because we always think of them whenever we enjoy the things we shared.Take care.

Janelle said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I loved hearing about his yard sale mania, though! My dad is also a proud dragger-home of odd objects. I hope you find peace and comfort in your memories. (((Hugs!)))

titancia said...

I'm sorry to hear about your father. What wonderful memories he left.

dawt said...

Aww, I'm so sorry to hear about your father's passing. I loved reading about your visits with him. Funny, if I showed your description of his treasure-hunting prowess to anyone, they would guess it to be me. I wish I had known your dad, but I have enjoyed getting to know the next best thing, you! My condolences for your loss, kiddo.

Jenn Thorson said...

Thanks so much everyone for being so incredibly nice! It really means a lot to me.

Dad always really liked this blog-- I think when he was in Florida it was a little like thrifting long-distance for him-- so it just seemed a fitting kind of closure.

Plus. he used to get all excited whenever I'd use photos of his own finds in posts-- like his thrifted goodies were getting their own slice of fame or something. :)

meleah rebeccah said...

Oh honey, I am terribly sorry to hear about your father's passing. My whole heart goes out to you.

aimee said...

So very sorry to hear of your loss, Jenn - your dad sounded like a wonderful man and you sounded like a wonderful daughter to him as well.

Yes, it's very hard to go through the belongings of someone who has passed on - I have done this recently myself.

I was wondering where in the Upper Keys your dad used to go the flea market - my folks used to winter with my aunt on Big Pine Key and they would occasionally go to a flea market there. Who knows, maybe they rubbed elbows there.

Please take care of yourself and take it easy. Allow yourself time to regroup from your loss. Here's to many blessed and happy memories of your dad!

Nancy said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved father but how wonderful that you have such memories of him, and sharing something you both loved.

Vonlipi said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm really happy you have those wonderful and happy memories. Thrifting brings people closer together.

Andrea said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I know that he was your last close relative and I feel so badly for you, but I know that you are a very strong woman and that you will go with many wonderful memories. I loved your tribute to him and loved that you shared your thrifty times together. God Bless you as you heal and I pray that you are comforted. As you know, I lost my Dad in May. It gets easier with time.

Judy said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

Sharry said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your dad's passing. It's wonderful that you have so many fond memories of the times you shared as you were growing up. My prayers are with you.

Melanie said...

Jenn, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I enjoyed getting to know him thru your writing. Your love of thrifting is such a wonderful legacy for a dad to leave a daughter.

Jackie said...

I'm sorry to hear of your dad's passing. But holding the same passions and intrigue for thrift shopping as you did can hopefully help you relive fond memories. I wish you and your family well.

Serena said...

Jenn, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's apparent that the two of you had a special relationship and bonded over thrifting. Thank you for sharing a part of that with us in your blogs. May your father rest in peace.

Jenn Thorson said...

Honestly, thank you so much, everyone, for these so-kind messages. I am thankful for each and every one!

Dreamgoddess said...

Jenn, I am so sorry to read about your Dad's passing. I'll be keeping you in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

its ananstasiabeaverhausen here...we have talked before over at the Thriftshopper.com...
I never know what to say, but I can see you have some wonderful happy memories of your dad..and the way you love to thrift...he will always be with you...
you are in my thoughts....AB

Luv2Shop said...

Oh Jenn,
I am feeling your pain here as I read your post. I was so close to my own father and enjoyed spending days with him shopping and traveling. I used to say to him "Tell me when your getting tired" and he would say NO, I never get any exercise until I'm out with you! I miss him so much and I know you will miss your dad too! Keep those great memories alive and smile once in a while when you think of him!((HUGS))

AngelMc said...

That was a very sweet post about your dad. Sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for your loss, I too use to go garage saling with my Father. It was the best times ever. Even now I love the second hand stores and thrift stores.

Jim said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss... I've been through it before too. It's almost unbearable to part with the things that remind you of your lost, but as you said... they must go on in the cycle of ownership. Many thoughts and prayers to you and the family!

Revamped French Maison said...

Hi Jenn,
I just found your blog this morning. I'm terribly sorry for your loss and moreso for the ache in your heart. That's a feeling I'm all to familiar with since the passing of my father two years ago today in fact. He had cancer also but it was a surgery gone awry that took him. No matter what the journey is for those exiting our lives maybe it's always far to soon. My heart is with you my dear new friend.

Blessings,
Shanna

chyna said...

Sorry to read about your dad passing and why. Now since you've donated his stuff you will have to keep track of where it went otherwise you may end up buying it back. That whole like minds think alike thing. Then you'll think you have a matched set only to remember you donated it. :)

Full of Wonder said...

I was looking through my bookmarks tonight, and came across the one for your site. I thought to myself that I hadn't looked at your blog for a long while and it was fun to read about you and your pop. So when I read he had passed I was very sad for you. I know you will carry on his love for buried treasures and he will be celebrating each of your special finds. God bless.