Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Graveyard Garage Sale


Sally and Sal are friends of a friend who, after 52 years in the same Southern California home, were downsizing and moving to the East coast to be closer to their only son and his family.

On the Saturday I drove up to their massive garage sale I felt like I'd hit the mother load of all moving sales! There were boxes and tables full of their accumulated possessions from over half a century spread all over the lawn, up the driveway and stacked to the hilt in the garage-- And it was all priced to sell.

I waded through china, linens, nicknacks, mismatched Tupperware, books, board games, holiday decorations, toys, tools, 1970s furniture, mothball-smelling clothes and I whole lot of junk until I got to an item that stopped me dead in my tracks.

There, next to macrame plant hangers and an old high chair, was a hand written sign that read--

FOR SALE: 2 BRAND NEW CEMETERY PLOTS

My first thought was-- Brand new? Is there such a thing as a "used" cemetery plot?

My second thought was WTH!

Apparently, 20 years ago, forward thinking Sally and Sal were trying to make their afterlife easier for their living loved ones and had purchased two picture perfect grave sites in their local cemetery with no thought at the time of ever leaving the state.

Since they were now moving East, with no intention of returning to the West coast, not even for the "big sleep", they wanted to unload their future resting place so they could ultimately be buried near their son.

Sally, who reminded me of a nearly 80 year old "Valley Girl", saw me eyeing the For Sale sign and immediately went into her "never been used" shpeel. It was all I could do to keep a straight face as she painted the detailed picture of her lovely grave sites and how sad she was to part with her "real estate". She ended with a big sigh then clearly indicated she was ready to make a deal-- Afterall, we were at a garage sale.

Now, it just so happens that the plots are in same granite garden where my husband's family rests and that got me thinking....

We all need to go somewhere eventually but, do I really want to go through all of eternity in a grave purchased at a garage sale?

Hmmm.

I took Sally and Sal's phone number and all the info then paid a visit to Shady Acres to see my possible patch of grass.

Turns out, Sally and Sal's grave sites were positioned under a giant magnolia tree just a stone's throw away from our loved ones. So I took a few pictures-- kind of a creep thing to do in a cemetery, and presented the idea of purchasing our future resting place to my Beloved Husband.

Frankly, it gave him pause.

And then he laughed.

Once the hysteria subsided, I explained all about Sally and Sal's big move, the logistics of transferring the plots, the finances of the possible garage sale bargain and of course, I reminded Beloved the plots were "brand new and never used".

We slept on it for a night or two and decided it was a smart purchase. Sally was thrilled when she heard the news and quite proud of the sales pitch she'd given that reeled me in so I didn't let on to what really closed the deal-- Other than the fact that they were "brand new plots".

Realizing this is a somewhat morbid acquisition, we weighed our decision with our sense of humor firmly in place. It was actually the photo of our "neighbor" in the grave next to ours that helped closed the deal. Her headstone reads "She was one hell of a broad". We think we'll fit right into the neighborhood-- when the time come, and she'll get a good laugh out of our garage sale purchase.

Have you bought any real estate lately?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins
PhotoCredit: © BooHoo - Fotolia.com

81 comments:

  1. Well, this will shock u, but when my husband was killed 9 years ago, I had him cremated and I figured I would get a double place in the wall, so yes I am paid up, so-to-speak... I did it so that my kids would not have to deal w/getting a place for me and I thought they would want me beside him....Nowadays u would be amazed how mortuaries actually treat this in the same line as buying a piece of real estate... My jaw dropped- plot maps, etc...

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is funny. I know nothing about buy plots or anything.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The more I hear about you and your Beloved, the more I like you both. This story says so much about what great people you are.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, I LOVE this!!! Hilarious, but at the same time...so wise...and lucky you! My mom had purchased a grave site in California next to my dad...she moved to the east coast...and when she died 1 1/2 years ago, we made the necessary arrangements to have her body shipped to Calif. Lucky your friends didn't have that in mind, or you wouldn't have gotten such a great deal...LOL...Loved this post!! ~Janine XO

    ReplyDelete
  5. oh yeah...my MIL was unprepared so we had to do everything after...interesting you bought them at a yard sale..that is a first for me...lol.

    ReplyDelete
  6. oh yeah...my MIL was unprepared so we had to do everything after...interesting you bought them at a yard sale..that is a first for me...lol.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your tombstones could read: Sally & Sal are not here right now, please welcome their understudy Beloved & Joanna Jenkins.

    ReplyDelete
  8. On my way to work today I saw four men carrying a coffin through a graveyard. Four hours later when I passed again they were still carrying the same coffin. Clearly, they had lost the plot...

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great story! Is there any more room there...sounds like a fab place to spend eternity....smiles.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You are one hell of a broad! What a garage sale hoot of a story! It is so amazing how the "universe" works, putting people together for a reason. Just loved this post to pieces.... PS for me, I decided against burial after I saw how my once gorgeous aunt looked in her casket... I am going to be cremated and scattered to the winds and the sea along with my beloved doggies... xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  11. You, my dear, win the bargain shopper of the year award!

    ReplyDelete
  12. A yard-sale plot for two?? Haaaa, who could resist?? Though you, my dear, are nothing short of priceless!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love your stories...best garage sale ever. Smart planning...sounds like a perfect neighborhood for the far far away future!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Not in a graveyard or garage sale. Hon, you should get some kind of award for this! Heck of a bargain ya'll got there!

    Have a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I haven't but my husband had an uncle who not only bought the plots for his wife and him, he also had the gravestone carved. They just had to add the date of death when each of them died. He asked my husband to take a picture of himn and his wife near the gravestone at the cemetary; said he thought he "might as well get some use out of it."

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well this is a first for me. I would have never thought about selling a grave site at a yard sale. But hey...we all need that place to rest one day. So good deal for you!!! Congrats on your new real estate. You need to post some pics!!!
    I would have loved to go to this garage sale. Sounds like a lot of bargains were there.
    Hugs
    SueAnn

    ReplyDelete
  17. The story of the garage sale/never used blog will make a great opening line for your love ones to share some day, along with your eternal neighbor.

    J- I think you need to write an article on this- it would be a hoot! Another thing how lucky can you be to get 2 eternal homes for a bargain?! xo

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sounds like a very smart purchase..Kismet really..

    ReplyDelete
  19. Cracked me up, but really, planning ahead is always a good thing!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Now THAT is a first! I think I need to visit some garage sales in your area.... :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well hey! A bargain is a bargain and your kids will thank you for making the decision. In our province, we can bury one person and then put ashes of another on top. So! Being brand new has meaning for me!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Location, location, location! It sounds like you got it all in spades, and at a great price.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think it was a great idea! You got a good deal and you've taken care of something we all need to take care of sometime!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Who would've thought you could buy two plots at a garage sale? Good for you for finding such a deal and then, researching it to find out who your neighbors will be.

    I love those kind of garage sales. I could rummage around for hours.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow! I have to say ~ never heard of selling a burial plot at a garage sale!! Amazing.. Creepy, but kinda cool. The "never used" - well, I had to laugh, because in New Orleans they ARE used... family tombs, you know?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Please take me with you the next time you go to a garage sale! I have never, ever seen a cemetery plot at a garage sale!

    I want to be creamated and scattered over the ocean (after I'm dead, of course).

    ReplyDelete
  27. That's a new one! But, what an amazing coincidence!
    It's one piece of real estate I've not considered.. not sure where I'll end up when the time comes?
    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  28. This begs the question... do people sell "used" graves... If family becames strapped, can they oust the bodies of loved ones and sell the plots?

    I enjoyed this and a lot even though I wish to be cremated and have my ashes tossed to the winds, I might change my mind for an eternal sign claiming I was "one hell of a broad."

    ReplyDelete
  29. I absolutely loved the post. That was some garage sale purchase. It gave me a neat idea. I needed that laugh today since I went to a friends funeral this morning.

    ReplyDelete
  30. That's hysterical. I keep getting offers in the mail for pre-paid cremation. Not too happy to be on that mailing list. I think I'll just donate my body to science. People have been wondering what makes me tick my whole life.

    ReplyDelete
  31. you'll have a funny story to tell when...oh, wait a minute, not in that situation. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I LOVE this!!!! Good choice of a new neighbor by the way. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  33. Great find! I can't believe it!
    I take it you're staying in CA and not returning to Ohio or New York. My final resting place will be in an urn.

    Hugs!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. The whole graveyard and tombstone thing amazing me at times. My wife loves cemeteries and I have many pictures from our visits. So I don't think taking pictures there is strange or creepy. There are some beautiful sites found there.

    No need to know how you purchased the plots unless you decide to tell them.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Listen to me, Joanna...I do garage sales. I love them. Summer is my hunting season, and I have witnessed some of the strangest yard sale items ever known to man, but you, my friend...

    You just got the ultimate buy.

    I mean, I can't even put into words how cool that is!!

    And, your "neighbor"? I bet she surely was!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Joanna!

    This has to be the ultimate garage sale purchase ever!!

    You seriously need to submit this to....well, to someone for publication. THIS would make a great human interest story, and I'm sure a newspaper or magazine would suck this up.

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is hilarous and a damned good deal. Sounds like you section will have one hecka party when the time comes.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Lots of people buy plots... but perhaps not at yard sales.

    That tombstone rocks!

    ReplyDelete
  39. WOAH!

    that's nutz!

    awesome!

    RIP (when the time comes!)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Being prepared is an excellent idea. It's the buying of plots at a garage sale that makes this quite charming really and it sounds in a way that it was somehow meant to be.

    ReplyDelete
  41. My first thought was, "All this and she didn't post a photo!"

    I think this is great, JJ! Smart in every sense of the word.

    ReplyDelete
  42. THIS is bust your gut laughing hilarious!!! OMG, thanks so much for sharing!!! Good thing they were never used!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Only YOU could make me laugh about cemetery plots, Joanna! This is both wise and, yes, very funny. I join the others is saying I am glad the plots were unused.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I hope it's a loooong time before you have to use that bargain for you or your hubby. It's sort of a comfort to know it's there when the time comes though. There has been a plot for me since before I was born, but ain't plannin on using it any time soon though.

    On a completely different subject I have a Happiness Award for you over at my blog. Please come and pick it up, because you spread happiness all around you. Cheers! jane

    ReplyDelete
  45. Love the original sales-pitch, I guarantee you none of the sales people I worked with when I worked in the cemetery business were ever that ingenious.

    Even though I've every intention of being cremated, I purchased 4 spaces a few years ago (for a whopping $100/space). I figured it was an investment, better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Ok as I am sitting here in awe of your wise choices..seiously I hae been thinking about this for later on- I am also blowing coffee through my nose all over my keyboard! My friend you never fail to make me giggle! What a wonderful story... I just love it! You need to send this to readers digest or something..wonderful!!
    Huge hugs and love, Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  47. This is too hilarious...the yard sale of all yard sales!

    Hubby and i bought our plot 7 years ago...it's good to be prepared...and it saves the kids a lot of hassle.

    Did you get a steal?

    ReplyDelete
  48. oooh honey I cannot believe you stumbled into this treasure trove of a garage sale...all interesting items for sale...plus a future home! Seriously, what a wonderful find...and with the tree....and fun neighbours...you are so lucky girl!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Every now and then I read an update that makes me really smile with delight.
    This was one of them.

    Congratulations on the excellent real estate purchase. You did well there.

    Nothing morbid about it either.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Congratulations for your new investment. It lessens the stress about it, doesn't it? Especially now that you know how bad stress is for us. Thank you for making the effort to read and understand my blog post on toxic stress. The next post you will like better because it is all about how to avoid the effects of toxic stress. One way is to take the actions you need to take to put your mind at ease. Which is exactly what you just did. You've got it.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I'm glad they are brand new and not used before. I'm not certain what to say, congratulations?

    ReplyDelete
  52. The things you can buy at a garage sale these days!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hey JJ - greetings from Tokyo! Thanks for stopping by my place :)
    And what a great post to make me chuckle when I'm tired and have a cold coming! That's possibly one of the best purchases I've ever heard about and you're right, your 'neighbour' sounds brilliant! haha
    My latest real estate purchase? My hostel for another 3 nights - does that count?! haha

    ReplyDelete
  54. What a happy ending! I think you're brilliant. My grandma, aunts and uncles did this very thing and it took a weight off the family, though it sounds so weird. And how cool that they're pretty plots near family! This has to be the weirdest rummage sale find I've EVER heard of, though!

    ReplyDelete
  55. That has got to be the most bizarre thing ever purchased at a garage sale!

    Well, at least your "neighbor" is interesting :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. "One Hell of a Broad" is high praise in my book. Congratulations on your new real estate purchase.

    ReplyDelete
  57. This is awesome! What a terrific story. Think of the references you could make to this purchase on your gravestone. "Got this plot at a yard sale. You can have it when we're done." LOL!

    Cheers,

    SLC

    ReplyDelete
  58. What a terrific story! You never know what you might find at a yard sale. And I don't think taking pix is weird, in fact, I was little disappointed you didn't post them! (I'd love to see the "broad's" headstone!) :)

    ReplyDelete
  59. Great story! I actually love cemeteries, and have photographed a few gravestones myself! Mostly people I suspect I'm related to... I keep changing my mind as to what I want done after I die, but I think it makes great sense to plan ahead - regardless of where you find the space! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  60. I think this is the BEST story and purchase....EVER !
    and seriously...sally and sal are SMART people !

    ReplyDelete
  61. GREAT story!!!

    Love that they were selling the plots at their yard sale and love it even move that you bought 'em! :)

    ReplyDelete
  62. LOL! I love it when someone has a good sense of humor and common sense. To me that is the total package.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hey, a bargain is a bargain!! What a deal you got! Just hope you aren't planning on using your purchase any time soon!!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Eek! Plots?

    I'd be tempted though. One less thing to worry about..

    ReplyDelete
  65. You have an award on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  66. This is such a cute story!! I am sure you got a better deal than buying directly for the funeral home!!! We haven't gotten ours but really need to b/c we are never moving!

    ReplyDelete
  67. interesting story Joanna, still can't believe you bought your own plots and how. This does make me think, however...

    ReplyDelete
  68. Congratulations on your new "home away from home." I won't make the faux pas of asking when you're moving in...

    My grandmother bought plots for not only Grandpa and herself, but both her children and their spouses. Now, Grandma never liked my dad because he was (gasp!) Catholic, so I'm not sure what she was thinking. Nevertheless, my parents spent half their lives in Ohio, now are retired in Georgia...and have two plots waiting for them in eastern PA. I think I'd better ask them if they're still planning to use them; we might could get some money for 'em!

    ReplyDelete
  69. What a fantastic post; I loved it. I think it's awesome that you bought those plots AND in the fashion that you did :)

    ReplyDelete
  70. Best garage sale story EVER! I hope you got a good bargain. :)

    ReplyDelete
  71. This was a truly wonderful post about a very unique experience. I love garage sales, but I have never come across anything like this.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Oh my goodness, indeed you have won the title of the best garage sale story ever.

    I am fascinated by the "never been used" as anything other than that would indicate mischief most foul...or zombies.

    Let us know if you begin to crave brains after final departure ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  73. came here because of the POTW. Sounds very practical as we all gotta go sometime!

    ReplyDelete
  74. this is priceless!!
    I have to pay closer attention at garage sales
    maybe I'll find a brand new urn

    congrats on POTW

    ReplyDelete
  75. Very funny story! It certainly deserved the POTW mention at Hillary's.

    ReplyDelete
  76. That is brilliant. For myself: "bury me at sea where no murdered ghost can haunt me." Still, if I were to want a cemetery plot, not only would I love to have bought it at a yard sale, I'd probably have to note that fact on the headstone.

    Epitaph contenders:

    1) Eternity Leave
    2) I told you I was sick.

    Congratulations on the bargain and the potw.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Stopping back to say congratulations on the post of the week mention over at Hilary's blog! It was well deserved, and a fun story for all to have :-) Thanks again for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I love it ... reminded me of when my dad commanded my sister to sell his (and mom's) plots so he could get adjoining plots to where his sister (and BIL) were going to be buried .. AND Congrats on POTW mention from Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  79. It's amazing what you can come across at garage sales, huh?... :) What a funny post.Congrats on the POTW mentioning at Hilarys!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I really appreciate it.