Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Special Garage Sale Find: Mary's Craft Box

Today's "garage sale finds" post is not quite like any of my other posts bragging about my great deal, but more about the humbling experience of my special find!
I went out garage saling with the boys this morning, as I often do on Thursday mornings.  On our way back home we decided to stop at just ONE more sale, even though the car was pretty well packed with a large kids' picnic table I had just purchased, among other things.

This sale was full of all kinds of interesting things.  There was a huge 10 gallon tote full of little matchbox cars, and Sammy had a blast digging through them.  We took home as many monster trucks as his little hands could hold.

But the bargain that got me most excited was a huge Rubbermaid bin marked "Arts and Crafts."  The sticker on the box read "$5 for all."  Inside the bin were more smaller bins full of interesting items.  There was another bin next to it for the same price, so I figured I'd take this larger one, being the bargain hunter that I am.

Below is a photo of the bin and contents, AFTER I spent an hour sorting through every item, tossing out little scraps & dried up paints, pulling out all of the already finished crafts, and re-organizing.  There were beads, scissors, a glue gun, ribbon, pom poms, puff paints, wood pieces, you name it!

But the interesting story here was not in this great bargain I had, but the story behind it.  I told the woman at the sale that I'd take that big green bin full of craft supplies.  She said, "Oh, great! I had a little girl with Leukemia and that was all we could do to keep her busy!"  She followed me over to the bin and started piling on more plastic storage containers full of popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and other supplies.  "Here, take these too!  Your boys can have fun with these..."

I went home happy that I had scored such a great deal, but sad to think of another child who had to go through something as tough as Leukemia. Pulling a small bag of colored feathers out that still had the $5 price tag, the price I paid for this entire box, I thought to myself, I'd spend hundreds on craft supplies for my kid's too if they were battling cancer and it distracted them from that harsh reality for even a moment.

As I sorted through the items in the bin I couldn't help but think of Mary, the little girl who worked so hard on the dozens of finished ornaments, pins, earrings, and other items in the box.  I pulled out this little guide to the "Craft Show Extravaganza and Bake Sale" at Children's Hospital from November 2001:

I found some unopened packages of "Specially Hand Made By Mary" labels.
(If anyone out there named "Mary" would like these, let me know and I'll send them to you for free! I just couldn't toss or donate them!)

I couldn't help but think the whole time I sorted through these items about just how blessed we are to have two healthy boys.  How lucky I am to be stocking up on craft supplies to keep them busy when cooped up this winter...not because they are stuck in a hospital undergoing chemotherapy, but because their feet got cold and wet with snow that soaked their boots after building snowmen and sledding for so long.

I don't know if Mary won or lost her battle with Cancer...I couldn't bear to ask her mom.  But I sure hope she had one rockin' successful craft sale at table #42 in the Children's Hospital in November of 2001.  Her listing in the directory says "former patient," so that give me hope that she won her fight, and I hope it never returned!

I gently stacked most of the little crafts and ornaments in my charity donation bag, but decided to keep one ornament to hang on our Christmas tree.  This one I thought captured the hand made nature of Mary's crafts the best:

I plan to hang this ornament on our tree each year as a reminder of just how lucky we are to have healthy kids who are here in our home with us, making enormous messes every 5 seconds, dirtying tons of laundry from playing, and eating us out of house and home. Thank you, Mary, for this valuable reminder. How very blessed we are!!

1 comment:

  1. Stumbled upon your blog while looking for Thomas the Train inspiration. This story is very humbling. Good post.



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