Let me introduce you to "Amanda"! She is about 14 inches high with a clay blue skirt and a pastel floral bodice covered with a lace pinafore. Her long blond curls are partially hidden by a lace bonnet. She looks out at the world with bright dark eyes in a porcelain face. I first saw her in a bedroom in the Holthe house at the estate sale. She looked up at me and said, "I want to go home with you!"

The sale started at 9 in the morning, Friday, Sept. 6. The first potential customers appeared at 5 and by 7, 50 people had signed the sheet to ensure their place in line.

From my easy chair, I sat with my morning coffee watching the parade next door. People would drive up, park and emerge from their cars with empty bags. A short while later they re-appeared with their sacks bulging with newly acquired treasures.

At one point I saw the Duncan Phyfe dining room table and chairs being loaded into the back of a sedan.

When I visited Ruth, a cloth covered the wood surface. We used to sit at the table, play "King's Corners" and drink coffee. She always produced cookies from a cupboard in the kitchen. She loved to have company. She told me stories about her personal history. She spoke warmly of the friendships she made candling eggs at what is now the Stone Mill Suites. She was proud of her husband, Arne, who made wood furniture, was a musician, played many different instruments and was a fireman. She recalled a time when he responded to a fire and was seriously affected by smoke inhalation. He went from the fire to a musical gig and played the whole evening in spite of being ill.

While the sale was a grand finale in some ways, it was also about renewal. Charlie and Ron found themselves greeting friends from their childhood. All the treasures hidden away in dark places were brought out into the light and went home to new owners who would love them and give them a second chance in life.

One gentleman who had a player piano was thrilled to find two boxes of tapes. A home was found for two guitars and a violin. A beautiful detailed Norwegian costume found a buyer. Ruth was proud of her Norwegian heritage. When she came to our house for meals we invited her to say the blessing in Norwegian.

People flock to sales. We are reminded that "things" are important. They are symbols that embody our dreams, hopes and memories.

Every morning when I get out of bed, Amanda greets me. She is happy to have her place on my bureau and to be part of our family.

Yvonne Nyenhuis,