I recently bought the contents of a storage building. I have bought others but this one is turning out to be the most interesting. The man I bought it from is a family friend, Jack, and he has collected "stuff" throughout his 80+ years. His main collectible items are antique tools. Some are crude, handmade tools, designed for a one-time task. Others are quality, name brand tools which can be found today in collections and museums. All of these tools carry with them the stories of his career in construction.
Just as thrilling for me is the discovery of several antique radios and other electronic equipment. And who do you know that has amassed a collection of apple peelers? They are mine now, and I am awaiting buyers who want to stab an apple over a cast iron frame, turn the crank, and enjoy the technology of the early 1900's while they nibble on a peeled apple.
I have also learned the previous owner of all these treasures graduated from college when I was two years old. His college life, in the years following World War II, show a completely different side of him. In those days he was aspiring to be a scientist and studied chemistry and biology. In a black wooden case, I found the microscope he used in his studies. It is still functional so I just had to play with it a bit. Inside the case was a small cardboard box of slides which he had viewed in one of his classes. I took the first slide and slid it into the microscope and looked at something that was really weird. Then I read the label on the slide and it said, "abdomen lining of the common housefly." In case it's close to mealtime at your house, I will not mention what was on some of the other slides. I just knew there was no desire on my part to examine some of those things that I am comfortable not seeing with the naked eye.
Jack and his wife have moved to a small apartment near their son. Their relocation and downsizing has forced them to part with most of the "stuff" they loved and accumulated over the years. The part of their collections which are now mine have taught me a lot. These things tell me they were appreciative of each other, as each had to give up many of the possessions they had cherished for a long time, to make a move that was beneficial and necessary. Photos and family mementoes made the trip with them to their new home. They also refused to part with the gifts they had given each other during their lives together. I stood with Jack near the front of his garage, his eyes filled with tears while he told stories of his collection of carpentry tools. Near the door was a stack of boxes ready for the movers to load. He told me the boxes contained a number of Bibles that he had used and marked with notes, and the scribbling he had made in Bible study workbooks, and the inspirational books he had read. "These helped me get through some rough times, and gave me right thinking about the things which are priority," he said. In my heart and mind I prayed, "Lord, may I look at things through your eyes, to know the difference between" "stuff" and "the right stuff."