What do our possessions ultimately mean to us? Do they define us? What can be determined by examining the things that we love? What part do they play in our memories?
“You can know all about a person from the things they collect, the books on their shelves, the chairs in their parlor. … Let me into your house; I could write your life story.”
Faith Bass Darling wakes up one morning and gets a couple of neighborhood boys to carry all of her antiques, including countless genuine Tiffany lamps, out onto her lawn to be sold “for whatever you can afford to pay”. Why? Because God told her that this must be done today, her last day, and she and God have not spoken in a long time. As people gather around to behold this spectacle, including her long-lost daughter, the deputy sheriff, and a priest, the history of the items up for sale, and the way that they have intertwined with the life of Mrs. Darling and her ancestors, is heart-wrenchingly examined.
As Faith struggles with the loss of her memories, and the regaining of others, and watches as her possessions and her life disappears, these are the questions that she contemplates.
“Without our memories, who are we? … I’d rather not have some of my memories, and God knows its been a small bit of grace not to remember them for long stretches of time. But good or bad, they’re mine, they’re who I am. And when the last one goes, what will I be? … No, I’ve wasted a lot of years wishing I were dead. But that I won’t have. I won’t be dead before I die.”
Title: Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale
Author: Lynda Rutledge
Publication: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, April 2012