Just The Way It Is:
I spent a lot of time Saturday and most of last Friday evening a few weeks ago, enjoying the whirlwind estate auction of a friend. She was well known and much loved and her memory will live on for many years. Let it be said that she was a ... shopper. A classy way of saying that she had hoarding tendencies. She was not a picky shopper either. She enjoyed a high end shop as well as a yard sale. Though she had good taste and enjoyed the finer things, it was tempered with the frugality of a woman who had worked hard all her life for her habits and she remembered the times in her youth and those in her family, the times when the platter was meager and the closets were spare. It was remarked several times, that if she had been at her own auction, she would have relished the thought of buying back her own items. Now, in my business, I encounter many hoarders. The vast majority of them are in effect, miserable. They use their purchases to insulate themselves from others and the world. They use it as a way to always have more than they could use or even want, to protect themselves, protection to the point of strangulation.
This lady was a rare treat. She was woman who was the exact opposite of a miserable hoarder. She loved and enjoyed every item that she bought. Often items would be bought with the thought as a gift for a friend or loved one. I often enjoyed waiting on her as she bought pieces of jewelry for her stylish collection. She concentrated on every detail, What would she wear it with? Was it a good color? Were the stones clear and pretty? She came from a long family line with many nieces, nephews and cousins and an even greater number of friends. She would gather toys and games for family members, who had long since out grown such needs or desires. She would simply remark that someone, one day would use and enjoy them. She enjoyed the things that she hid, poked and stored away. I know that she not only enjoyed buying these things, but she enjoyed buying them from and thereby helping small merchants. I was one of those merchants for many years. Without knowing it, she would pay for one of my dealers booth rent for the month and on more than one occasion, she paid my late water bill or bought groceries for my table. All with her purchases that she collected.
Is what she did right or justified? No, I'm afraid not. It was thoughtless and selfish. Its a problem. Just like someone who drinks too much or someone who is terrified of dogs or someone who bites their nails. They can't help it. They need help and guidance. Just like a heroin junkie needs help and tough love. They need help in helping establish a collection or household. Most importantly, they need help in devising a way to dispose of a "collection" when the sun draws low in the sky. It was a strain to her daughter and the many family members it took to sort, clean organize and dispose of her items. Though I'm sure that there were moments of fond recollection and laughter, there were also, an equal number of stressful moments, with the question of " Why did she have so much stuff?" echoing around the room. The happy collector doesn't think of such things. They think that, "Oh they will be happy to see that I have a set of flatware for everyone in the family." or " They won't have to buy bath towels for years, after I'm gone." See they still are loving and caring for the people left behind. Its just that not everyone shares the same giddy feeling over flatware or bath towels.
But here is the difference and the key feature. Yes, it was stressful for her family left behind, to clean up this collection. BUT, at least she enjoyed every moment of her shopping. This would have been a real tragic situation, if she had gone without food or sanitary living conditions for her things. If she had lost her family, friends, church or community, all in an effort to gather around her items that would have been damaged or destroyed by their very hoarding traits. Many hoarders give up much for their collections.
I'm glad she had what she had, including all ten or twelve electric coffee pots. However, I'm really happy that you enjoyed what you did and why you did it. The way I see it, if you have to eat ice cream, buy what you like, eat all of it and ENJOY IT! However, next time around you might ask for some help if you stock pile too much. .