Last Yard Sale


My parents will soon be moving to a seniors’ apartment and so they are in the process of downsizing. They have owned their house for my lifetime, 50 years, and it is now up for sale.

On the long weekend, they had a yard sale and members of our family helped out. I have been through this experience before, having moved from a house to a condo, so I know the emotional, exhausting effect it can have on someone. The initial planning of what gets sold and what goes with a person is draining in itself. And then one has to actually move the items physically, watch people paw over them, talk you down in price, and then cart them away.

Why wouldn’t one get emotional?

My parents have had yard sales before, all done in fun, but this one held a special kind of poignancy and my mom and dad showed an obvious weariness as the day progressed.

The next day, our family, complete with nephews and nieces, gathered for a meal. No tears were shed but the interactions, though happy, were edged with the all-knowingness that we wouldn’t be gathering in this house many more times.


My sister videotaped various combinations of people, the mingling of young and old, and captured rooms of the house in which we had grown up.

Mom emptied her cedar chest and passed on relics of our youth. Last night, when I got home, I went through my collection of school pictures, photos of me wearing glasses and hockey uniforms, and old school assignments.

It was while I was perusing my collection that I got slightly teary.

For my parents but also for me.

For who knows what the future holds and who knew that back then, wearing my hockey jersey and not overly concerned about too much, where my life would be today?


About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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