My family endured the poison pellets of three deaths in five months last year. It was painful and tiring but, that’s life. We experienced a lot. An unintended consequence was sorting through the mountain of stuff that made its way into our hands. I had told my parents we didn’t want things as we have a beautiful home filled with items we collected ourselves. Every day, I went to their house for seven months, filled 14 dumpsters, and sold or gave away most of their belongings. It made many others happy, which was the goal and represented their legacy well.
Along the way, I bumped into an old friend and neighbor I grew up with, Dawn Tilton Massabni. She had lost her daughter, Maddy, to toxic shock syndrome at 19 years young in 2017. We reminisced, she cried. I promised to help in some way. Around the same time, I got Prostate Cancer that required a major operation. I met so many good people along the way. Some at Sloan, some local physicians, others were sufferers of the disease. I read a lot about cancer from materials provided by the Prostate Cancer Foundation; I promised to help.
I started selling items on eBay in June of 19 through my store Junk in the Trunk. I have sold over 350 items and figured out how to pack and ship each one. I promised to do a good job. I became a Top Rated Seller. I also decided to support the two charities, Don’t Shock Me, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, with a portion of the proceeds. The effort would help worthy causes and allow me to fulfill my promises and continue to build on my parents’ legacy. A year later, I still have over 150 items from my parents’ hoard. Understanding stuff that others might use or enjoy is tricky for us boomers and Gen Xers. Dealing with estate evaluation services is complex and is an industry without standards or oversight. I met with all types of snake salespeople and decided to handle the liquidation of my parents’ items myself. The charity angle is excellent and worthy and provides a cushion on dealing with the sale of a once cherished item.
Recently, I decided to move the business off of eBay and onto www.junkinthetrunklc.com. I also decided to do this work for others who have found themselves in a situation similar to ours. So Junk in the Trunk is reborn as my site, which reduces costs so more good can come from sales. We are an online consignment store with philanthropic roots, featuring quality products and just plain cool stuff. This effort fills my day during retirement. It gives me a reason to get up at it and pays for my lunch. More importantly, it helps grieving families decide how to repurpose items from lost souls and redirect money to those who need it.
If you want to know more or consign with us, call me at 732-788-0475 or email me at email@example.com. In the meantime, stop by and have a look at what we have.
My beautiful and wonderful sister, Karen, passed eight years ago. This is a difficult time for me. Spring is here, my favorite season. Another year has passed into eternity for her. And another year gone in the countdown that began for me in 1960.
Karen’s soul had no presence. Except when it was gone. And it feels stronger as the days pass. Her death being a transference from something as inconsequential as life to an existence that has no substance. A state that is far more meaningful once it can’t be touched or experienced. A paradox of beauty, wonder and mystery that lasts forever.
Miss ya Sis.
Post originally posted on The Good Men Project, September 12, 2016
The heroic actions taken by so many to help, save and comfort others. Our collective loss. Describing the events of that day is difficult and emotional. I remember it was a beautiful day with bright blue skies and not a cloud for as far as the eye can see.
I spent some time thinking about the day after 9/11, what I remember and what we experienced. We had every TV in the house turned on. I can still see the video in my head of the Towers falling, the Pentagon, and the field in Shanksville, PA. It was here where Todd Beamer and the men and women on United Flight 93 would end their heroic fight with the bad guys. They saved many lives.
The company I was working for at the time was not doing well. We were due to close a deal for a much-needed investment on 9/11 but the events of the day postponed it.
I didn’t go to work that day like so many others. The lot where people parked to commute by train to NYC was still full of cars. I reasoned on this day that it was because so many hadn’t come home the night before. On this day, I would start to pick up our local papers. I did this for several weeks, to read about the people who lost their lives. I would find the names of a dozen people I knew in some way, shape or form. These included a friend and brother from my college fraternity. The American Red Cross parking lot near my house was full of vehicles. Cars were also parked all over the grass in front of the building. These were the cars of local citizens donating blood. I remember driving through town, everyone you saw had pain in their eyes. People stopped to let you pass; everyone held doors open for one another. I saw many people hugging each other, embracing and supporting.
The company I was working for at the time was not doing well. We were due to close a deal for a much-needed investment on 9/11 but the events of the day postponed it. We figured we would go out of business.
On 9/12 we started to see the first of what would become frequent interviews with Howard Lutnick. He is the CEO of the NYC-based brokerage, Cantor Fitzgerald. His business had lost many people including two of my friends. He helped many families and kept the firm alive.
Our three young boys became fixated on the TV. We tried to describe what had happened but no amount of explaining made any sense to them, or us. We had the family over to our house and spent time with close friends sharing stories. The TV continued to show the jagged piece of metal which was all that remained of the place where I once worked. I thought about the people inside the buildings a lot. I remember what it was like going down 72 flights of stairs on 2/26/1993. This is the date of the first World Trade Center attack. I couldn’t get my head around it then and still cannot to this day.
It’s been 15 years, in our yard the flag will fly at half-mast for the month of September. We respect and honor those who have fallen.
On this day and for weeks many people were interviewed on TV describing what they saw or experienced. They were looking for lost friends or family members. They described what they looked like and repeated their names. You could see the hope in their eyes that someone watching had seen them. People started to post pictures around the WTC site. In a few days, they would show up at the train station near where I live. The unclaimed cars of the victims remained. Everyone hoped and prayed their loved one would come home, alive.
On 9/12/2001 we started to learn about the fearless leadership of the firefighters and police officers. These stories would continue for years. We came to know the personalities of these heroes and the actions they had taken to help others. The collective response of these men and women was limitless and without boundaries of any kind.
It’s been 15 years, in our yard the flag will fly at half-mast for the month of September. We respect and honor those who have fallen. Despite such a tragic event, I firmly believe people are kind and genuine in heart. Soon October will approach and remind me to raise the flag. I will cry once again knowing I will have to find the strength to raise it.
My best, Chris