I am sometimes asked why I do what I do, and certainly, it is the satisfaction of helping others, to achieve some transition and changeover in their lives. I also realized that when a client gives me access to a home that someone is still living in, has passed on, or is moving from; that I discovered that I was, in essence, a curator to a life, often well lived. I could visualize while sorting through their possessions what they had loved about life through their interests and collections. Looking through various bookshelves, interests have been about travel, history, cooking and collecting. Bedtime reading on one side of a bed had a book on calculus, learning to speak Japanese as well as Spanish, a dictionary and books on military history, while on the other side, copies of Vanity Fair, a Jeffrey Archer, and a Carol Stone. All around the houses, and apartments are collections, ranging from Royal Doulton figurines, one for each anniversary, the silk scarves, cranberry glass, doll and teddy bear collections, malt whiskies and the basements full of old furniture, decorations from years past, old wedding and evening dresses and the grown up children’s things which are often meant to be passed on but often no longer wanted and instead of throwing it out in the garbage, we hold an estate sale, where people come to buy nostalgia which is the way they remember things or have been told about the past.
I can see from the books, the diplomas on the wall and the items left behind that the people who lived there had been doctors, waiters, nurses, and automotive workers; I can see that they volunteered for a favourite charity. I know that they played tennis, golf, and went 10 pin bowling. That they loved opera, jazz, or the cinema and that they liked to eat out through an enormous matchbook collection housed in a see through vase. One out-of-town client asked if I had found his father’s flying record from the air force, I had, I always have a box(s) so that when I find anything of value, I can pop it in and the client can go through it at their leisure, as they always bring back memories. He asked me if I go through everything and the truth is I do.