The Estate Auction

IMG_1659aby Neva Bodin

Well, it’s over. It felt sometimes like a funeral, sometimes like getting ready for a wedding, and sometimes like the estate auction it was.

My husband and I have lived in our camper on the farmstead where I grew up for 4 weeks. A close friend drove 500 of our 630 miles from our home to join us for 9 days, my sweet brother-in-law joined us the day after we arrived for a week, went home to work and returned again from 180 miles away, both daughters, grandchildren and one daughter’s man drove over 600 miles to join us, the daughter with kids having to make two trips back and forth, two sisters-in-law driving 190 miles came for a few days—one twice, a cousin, a dear friend and her very dear son and daughter-in-law helped set up, renters and friends helped carry “stuff” and another girl friend from three states away came. Other cousins texted or called almost daily to encourage. We are as blessed as we can be by these wonderful loved ones. We couldn’t have done it without them.

Our camper beside the farm garage.

I am the last of my immediate family. But I have all these wonderful people, related and not related who certainly are family. Including the people who came to the auction and gave me a hug to show they cared. But the tears were just under the surface all day.

It seemed a memorial service of sorts for 70 years of my family and our possessions, and of someone living in this house we are now camped beside.

DSCN4437Built when I was 2 years old, I remember my first night in this house now empty. “I want to go home,” I wailed. “This is Pete’s house.” Pete Moe was our carpenter who built the two story home with a full basement. After Dad died in 1981, Mom completed his plan to add an addition to the north side.

The kitchen which now seems small, the two bedrooms, bathroom and living room downstairs must have seemed a mansion to my mother. She moved out of a two room house that sheltered where all five of us lived—with a cook stove, pot-bellied wood stove, table, chairs two beds (one a roll-a-way) and my crib, where she had lived almost 20 years of her marriage. A small wind charger that sat on top the house eventually provided electricity. Our family bonded for sure. The barn was bigger, as that is where the business took place.

Going through and choosing things for the auction, sorting through memories along with items, and throwing things I might be attached to but know are of no use anymore, tugged at my heart and wove sorrow and joy through my mind. It was overwhelming.

The Farm shop and a small portion of the items we washed and packed for the sale, then hauled 18 miles to an old armory where the sale was held. We had two flatbed trailers full of outside stuff–cream separators, wash tubs, chicken nests, etc. 

But I remind myself, we can’t take it with us, and what’s really important came to us—all the helpers for this huge project.

We lived and farmed on this farm 12 years of our marriage, just 19 years ago. So we have many friends and neighbors in this area. Two families have had us over for supper or brought supper to us twice each. I met old acquaintances at the local café and a Father’s Day buffet.

Memories are blessings, even though they sometimes bring sorrow. And currently my life is full of both.

So sorry I missed my last blog date, but as I only have internet if I drive somewhere, it didn’t happen. We are exhausted, but the next day I woke again at 3 AM to pack what I’m bringing home. Our daughters have left already, pulling covered trailers full of genealogy and a few other treasures I kept. Now I have years of financial and farm records to review. We were keepers.

An era of “never throw anything away” is ending—loyalty to “stuff” that carried over in loyalty to family and friends. However, for me and my family, while I got rid of lots of stuff, loyalty to family and friends remains. And I know they are loyal to us. The proof is in the pudding.

My oldest daughter has just finished carrying an item to a successful bidder.

14 thoughts on “The Estate Auction

  1. Neva, I am in awe of the journey you just made. Memories, friends and those intangibles are, like you say,sometimes like a funeral, sometimes like getting ready for a wedding. Still, it is a journey most of use will take. I am sorry you had to go through it, but thrilled you had so many people to share it with.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Sending love to you and yours. Doris


  2. Wonderful post, Neva. You must have had a zillion thoughts zooming around inside your head prior to and during the estate auction. Now that my mom and dad are gone and only my sister and me remain, I find myself collecting thoughts inside my head and enjoying the memories, both sweet and not-so-sweet. Thank you for sharing a little bit of your past.


    1. Thanks Mike. I know you are one who really values your memories and past. It shows in your blogs which are so interesting to read. Yes, lots of things to think of and people to answer to and direct. Lots of emotions involved.


  3. It’s always hard to leave memories behind but a door always opens that allows new memories to enter. Friends and family are the best kept memories of the heart. Very nice post


    1. Thanks Barb. It’s been a difficult time but we made it through. And yes, I reminded myself a lot, this is only stuff, and we certainly made new memories with all the preparation for the auction and then the auction itself.


  4. I am sure the last few weeks have been and still are a huge mix of emotions. Yes you let go of a lot of things, but you still have your memories, a few sentimental things and people the wonderful people who have surrounded you over the past weeks.


  5. Beautiful post, Neva! You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers. Try to take it easy the rest of the summer and bask in the love of days gone by and days in the present. I’m so glad you had so many helpers, so many encouragers — that love and loyalty will stay with you forever. Try to rest up when you get home — it’s been a long year+ for you. God bless you, my friend!


  6. That was a tough job to had to do, Neva. Making the choice of what to keep is really difficult in these situations. By the sound of it, it wasn’t a lonely time and that’s really important. Take care.


  7. Sounds like it was an all OK happening. I thought of the 2 of you often. We’ve been visited by good friends recently, one couple is from Taiwan. They live in Houston now and were on their way to Yellowstone. Hope to hear from you when you return. Love, Kitty


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