LUCY BURDETTE: Is there anything more fun than an absolutely brand new, first-time-out-of-the-box, debut author? No, we don't think so either. And so we are delighted to introduce our friend Sherry Harris, whose book TAGGED FOR DEATH came out a week ago.
SHERRY HARRIS: Thank you, Jungle Reds, for having me today. When I moved to New England, Hallie, Hank, and Lucy
were running the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime. I’ve been in their classes, benefitted from their generosity, and am one of the attendees of the 2009 Seascape which produced an amazing number of published authors, many of the attendees became good friends.
Like my protagonist Sarah Winston, I love to shop at garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores. When I pondered what I should write about for today, I started poking around my house. I realized 95 percent of what’s in here is second hand. I think the only new things are the electronics (because no one wants an antique computer or phone), mattresses (you can come stay without worry), and a couch with matching chairs (which considering I bought them in 2003 and they’ve moved three times, push the boundaries of “new”).
I didn’t really realize I had an aversion to new things until recently – it was a gradual process. But I love to think about where something came from: whose house did that painting hang in, how did this chair end up on the curb, and who looked in the mirror of that dresser. I heard if you light a candle, turn off the light, and look in a mirror the number of reflections will tell you how many people owned the piece. Frankly, it sounds a bit spooky to me and being a big fraidy cat, I’ve resisted the urge to try this.
My husband was in the Air Force, so having old things that came with nicks and scraps was an advantage with all the moves. One more ding on the table or a scrap on the bench wouldn’t really hurt anything. I do have a table I’m fussy about when it comes time to move. I bought it at a garage sale in Palos Verdes, California.
It’s a side table with barley twist legs, a serpentine skirt, and my favorite part – claw and glass ball feet. I was lucky to get it because I arrived at the sale late in the day. It had a sign on it that said “price firm,” which puts off a lot of people who expect to bargain at a sale. The table has a ring in the top where someone set something wet on it. But it was love at first sight for me so I paid full price (something I rarely do), loaded it into my friend’s car, and took it home. My husband had to warm to it, which he did when I pointed out an identical table (sands ring) in a store window in Solvang, California, for four times the price I paid.
When we were moving from Los Angeles to Dayton, Ohio, I went out to check on the movers and there the table, with its delicate glass feet, sat on the rough pavement. (Yes, I had a mini freak out, steam out the ears, cartoon bug eyes, and a thought bubble with all kinds of #$%^.) Fortunately, that all occurred in my head, but I insisted they bubble wrap the glass ball feet which they did reluctantly. Now when the movers arrive, I always double check the table before it goes out.
None of my pieces are priceless antiques (far from it), but my furnishings are a tale of our moves: a side table from Ohio, a bench from a flea market in Santa Cruz, a bed frame from Florida, a bookcase from Virginia, a painting from Massachusetts. Even our dining room table is special to me. My parents bought it in my hometown of Davenport, Iowa, at a garage sale (probably the only one they ever went to) of the mother of family friends. I like it because of that relationship and because it folds down to a size that works behind a sofa or opens to seat ten (twelve if we squeeze in).
So readers do you have an aversion to shiny new things or do you embrace them? Or do you mix them together? What’s the best find you’ve ever had at a garage sale?
Harris started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s
yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the
country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love
of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in
Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.
Tagged for Death, first in the series, released last week. She blogs with the Wicked Cozies.
And Sherry is giving away a copy of TAGGED FOR DEATH to one commenter today!