Elementary School Auction Gold (New to Me Overload, Part 2)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Two months ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when a post literally caught my breath. The contents of my elementary school (closed for a few years) were going to be auctioned off in early October. I absolutely loved my neighborhood elementary school. I remember playing tag between the giant pine trees at recess and when Mrs. Kreischer made pumpkin seeds and gave us her recipe (which I use to this day). I also remember falling off the stage after my solo in the fourth grade Christmas concert and watching Daryl VanKirk masterfully lip synch the Glenn Frey classic, The Heat is On, at a school talent show on the same stage. I could go on and on. I HAD to go to that auction and for more than nostalgia.
I wanted a vintage world map. And maybe another globe. My apartment's empty walls needed that auction. I excitedly sent an email to the auctioneer asking about the contents of the school. He looked beyond the ridiculousness of my message and sent a completely rational response. Pictures would be posted online soon, and when they were, I was disapponted...a lot of kitchen equipment, random lab specimens, desks and chairs. Still, I was determined to go.

That weekend, I travelled to my hometown and bundled up early on a cold Saturday and headed to my elementary school. The last time I was there was to watch my brother skateboard. The swingsets were missing their swings, the playground sad and lifeless. The school smelled the exact same, but I wasn't ready for how it looked. You know how you remember something one way, and then see it years later and it's totally different, but in the worst way possible? Yeah, that. I registered for the auction and walked around my school. There were teachers there hoping to buy back their own materials, Amish men hoping to buy textbooks for their one-room schoolhouses and people like me, looking to salvage something from their childhood. When the auction finally began, I couldn't believe the prices things were selling for. A room of desks for $6, uniforms to outfit an entire marching band for $4 and the random rattlesnake for $25.
As for me, I was thrilled with what I got - a box full of animal skulls for $2 (random, but I've been searching on Etsy for one, so buying a box of them for $2 vs. $75-$100 on Etsy for one was a steal) and an amazing vintage world map (the brilliant spring loaded kind that every teacher in the history of education wrestled with at the chalkboard) for $30. I have also been scouring Etsy for this exact same type of map, and couldn't find a halfway decent one for less than $150, so again, $30 was a great deal. Overall, it was the saddest/strangest day I've had in a long time, but I'm thrilled with my purchases and even happier that I was able to claim a piece of my school and my childhood. 

I owe a huge thanks to my friend JC, who showed up to the auction just in time to find the map that I ended up buying...and to my fellow Riverside Elementary School alum, Tait, who lives three blocks away from me and has a ladder, power tools and the willingness to hang this for me on a Saturday.

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