Memories for Sale

I didn’t think it would ever come to this. It all started last year when I lost my job. At first, I used savings to pay the bills and regular expenses. I didn’t think it would last, thought I could find another job.

As the days became weeks and the weeks became months, I went from place to place, hearing “no” over and over again. But let me start at the real beginning of my story.

I went to work right out of high school back in 1975. I was young and dumb, not unintelligent but just plain foolish. Thinking back, I should have gone to college but life was waiting to be lived and I was tired of books, teachers, and people telling me what to do.

I got a pretty good job working in the tire factory across town. i worked hard and always came to work on time. The money was pretty good so i bought a truck and put some money in the bank. After a couple of years, i’d saved enough for a down payment on a house and I’d met the love of my life. Me and Diane got married a couple of weeks after I closed on the house we picked out together.

Things moved along pretty quickly after that and we had a couple of girls just a year apart. I’d moved up a little at work by then and we decided that Diane should stay home with the kids. We’d been married for about 10 years at the beginning of last year when i was promoted to supervisor. I didn’t like working nights but the extra 10% pay helped with ballet and soccer costs for the girls. The girls were six and seven and our lives were busy but we had fun.

Then came that terrible night when I came home early and found Diane laying in the middle of the floor. She wasn’t breathing but I couldn’t tell what was wrong. I called 911 and tried everything I could but it was too late. They said it was an aneurysm that took my Diane away.

i took a month off from work to try to get our lives back together, just me and the girls. We only had a little insurance on Diane but it was enough for the funeral. I spent most of my time off trying to find a babysitter we could afford. Who knew it would be so expensive to watch two little girls for a few hours after school.

When I went back to work, it seemed like bad things kept happening. First one of the girls was sick and I missed a few days’ pay staying home and had to pay for medicine and doctors. Then the other girl suddenly grew a few inches and needed all new clothes. Then one of the tires blew on the car and I needed to replace the pair. Next was the furnace or maybe it was the dryer, I don’t remember.

Money got tighter and tighter and soon my savings were gone. I took a little part time job on the weekends cutting grass, one I could bring the girls with me. We had to drop ballet lessons, just too expensive. I started selling stuff: old furniture, the kids’ outgrown clothes, toys they didn’t use anymore, and extra car parts. One yard sale followed another until there wasn’t anything left to sell. I parked the boat I’d never fixed up out front and it sold in a few days. It seemed that there was always a For Sale sign in our yard.

Then came that terrible day. I went in to work and was called in to see the boss. Times were tight, the company was losing money, and he was going to have to let about 50 of us go. I begged, almost got down on my knees, told him I needed this job really bad. But it was no good, seniority is everything and even guys with more years than me got laid off.

The unemployment money didn’t go far and there wasn’t a job to be had anywhere in the area. I did what I could but finally I just couldn’t make it anymore. I quit paying the house payment, didn’t have any money to pay. It took a few months but they finally came and padlocked the door one day while I was out looking for work. I couldn’t even come in to get the girls’ clothes and stuff. We moved in with a friend who had a spare room.

The auction sign went up last week in front of my house. I can’t bear to ride by and see it. There it is, the final piece of my life, up for sale.

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