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  • Profiteering from the broken lives of strangers. That's what I call this recent fad of purchasing public storage units via an auction after the owners have defaulted on the payments. Profit...slim profit...is made by sorting, appraising, marketing and selling the relinquished precious items that make up the dimensions of someones life. I am ashamed to admit that by association, I am guilty of participating in this activity. My husband and two of his friends love it. They venture out on a weekly basis like three old ladies flocking to Saturday yard sales and church rummage fund raisers in search of that one hidden item that will bring them riches. They have this curious ability to completely detach from the personal stories that are attached to each unit purchased. Whether sweet, tragic,pornographic, heart-wrenching, or valuable I can not disconnect from what often appears to be someones whole live shoved in a 10 x 20 space. Amid the dirty clothes, dildos, drug paraphernalia, arrest records and duct taped refrigerators history exists. We have found pictures that show generations of families with hopeful smiling faces. Baby clothes carefully packed ready to be passed to the next generation. Hope Chests that bear the marks of life, often woefully neglected, and filled with items that have given a live meaning. We found the cremated remains of someone's mother and a tragic note from a child to her father; "daddy, when you come home from jail, please bring money for food. I'm hungry. love Aubrey." I am especially drawn to these old cedar chest and the life and energy they possess. I have decided to refinish them with the hope of returning them to a state that resembles hope, dignity and life. My husband thinks I can sell them...I thought I might give them way.
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