Site icon Things I find in the garbage



I saw a yard sale the other day while walking across Duluth with my friend Sarah. There were a few old paintings and some other things but I didn’t really take a close look. My motivation to go to yard sales is pretty low these days, particularly since I’m moving soon and have too much stuff already. I kept moving, leaving the potential deals for others.

Later on in the day we walked past a dumpster in the same area. There was a big box next to the dumpster that contained a bunch of old clothes. There was more stuff inside the bin, including a bunch of old VHS tapes and colorful embroidered doilies.

While we were looking around a guy in his 30s approached us. He assured us that he knew that the items were bug-free and that he knew where they came from. We ended up talking for a bit and he told us the story behind the objects. Apparently, they had belonged to an old couple who lived on that part of Duluth for over 30 years. One of the pair was from Chile, the other from Portugal. According to the man (who had lived on the street for six years) the couple “held the street together.”

In recent times they were almost evicted by a new landlord who hoped to bump up their rent drastically, but from what I remember they took the case to court and won. However, the wife passed away a year ago, and the husband is now in hospital and wasn’t expected to recover. The yard sale that I saw earlier contained the last remnants of their possessions.

The first thing I saw when I opened the dumpster was this framed painting, the only one that didn’t sell it seems. It’s a nice old landscape piece, signed by someone I doubt is at all well known. The guy we talked to said that he wished he had found it first, and would have taken it if he had. He told us that one room of their house was filled with 15-20 different old paintings of a similar style. I mildly regret not offering it to him now; he appeared to have an emotional attachment to the piece. I’m just a sucker for landscape paintings, and was thinking about decorating my new place.

It’s an interesting story, just one of many (the vast majority of which I’ll never hear) that get lost to the curb.

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