Signs of spring and fall used to be the first robin or the leaves changing colors. Now it’s the garage-sale signs that dot the countryside. Due to a recent move to a much smaller home, it became necessary to pitch a lot of prized possessions. At least I thought they were prized.

Wondering who might have thought of this method of ridding themselves of household items, I checked the Internet. Richard Rubin wrote a piece for AARP in July 2009, explaining that when President James Garfield was assassinated in 1881, Vice President Chester Arthur refused to move into the White House until it had been renovated and all furniture, paintings, etc. had been removed. This was quite possibly the first yard (or “garage” or rummage) sale (called different things depending on where one lives).

One hears of treasures found at times in an old chest or a painting by a famous artist, but those occasions are rare. Most times the items that looked so useful on the bargain tables end up being sold at other garage sales by the buyers.

It can be a heart-breaking event to see possessions of sentimental value going for a mere pittance of their original cost. It is also embarrassing to find that what we once treasured so highly is not picked up by would-be buyers. What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they know what went into making these choices when we purchased them? And yet they haggle over these already ridiculously low prices? A rocking chair on which I rocked my first baby to sleep. Five dollars? Surely you jest. I’d rather chop it into kindling wood. An old trunk that once held my father’s Earthly possessions as he sailed the Atlantic when he immigrated to this country. No way will I take less than the price on it. I’ll use it as a coffee table instead.

I guess I’m not cut out for this sort of event. Good thing my son and daughter conducted my recent sale.