Folks, this post has been a year in the making. Oh yes, this little gem…
…has been in hiding for quite a while. But I’ll get to that.
On Saturday there is a huge yard sale at my parents’ church. I mean HUGE. It’s an annual event, and people come from far and wide to shop the cast offs of this sizable parish. My parents are involved behind the scenes, so I get lots of teasers leading up to the sale of what’s been donated. Some good stuff. (And some Nordic Tracks.) My mom has already scoped out a gorgeous three panel screen.
I had good luck at the sale last year. Here’s my favorite score.
A brass trunk for only ten bucks! I spotted it as soon as I entered the furniture area. I marched right over, fast enough to send a please-don’t-stop-me-to-ask-if-I-need-help vibe to the kind volunteers, but not quick enough to draw anyone’s eye to my target (lest I generate undue competition). I had it all to myself for inspection, and unlike so many almost treasures, this one passed a close-up once over.
Seriously, how many times have you spotted THE perfect chair or whatever from across a thrift store, started planning your life around it on your
walk sprint across the store, then realized said item is missing two legs and smells like it’s been hosting cigar and cat pee parties? Or worse, you drag your husband and children all the way to some Craigslist seller’s house, only to discover that what you thought was the dresser of your dreams is actually a dilapidated mess that is still full of clothes and has a big TV on top and is in a basement and you’re not even sure it’s physically possible to get it up the narrow stairs so you wonder if cramming it down the stairs is how it got dilapidated to begin with, then the seller–whose dad had let you in the house–calls you from the hospital where she is being admitted to give birth and asks why you don’t want her dresser…Or something like that.
But I digress. The brass trunk was shiny and lovely and appeared to be free of health hazards.
OK, so far so good. Let’s get a look with all these buckles closed…Yes, this will look perfect, um, somewhere in our house. I’ll just take a quick peek inside…Oh, hmm, it’s locked….Let’s see, there must be a key here somewhere…Ah, here’s a ribbon tied to the buckle…Wait, where’s the other end?…Uh oh…
Yes, folks, I locked the key inside the trunk while it sat on the sales floor…and by that I mean scorching parking lot. (Nevermind that it’s actually unlocked in the picture above — my reenactment skills aren’t so hot.) Just as I realized my brilliance, a volunteer approached to ask me if I wanted to buy the trunk. I hadn’t seen a “you lock it, you buy it” policy posted anywhere, but I sort of felt obligated at that point. I wanted it anyway. I figured it was worth $10 even if I never got it open.
So I brought it home and plopped in our basement play room/guest room where I imagined it could one day be useful toy storage. If I got it open.
It was nine months before I took any action other than trying to pick the lock with a bobby pin. (That’s how it’s done, right?) Fail. I finally decided to pursue an actual key back in April. This made the hunt pretty easy.
Two minutes of strenuous googling later and I had an email address to contact the Everlite company. I sent a message asking how I might obtain an extra key. Nina, the president of the company, wrote me back almost immediately and said she’d be happy to send me a key, free of charge. All the way from Canada. Well that was easy!
But a week or so later, this arrived.
Wop, wop. A torn and empty envelope. So I wrote to Nina and politely asked if she wouldn’t mind terribly sending another key. She cheerfully obliged.
So I waited. And waited. Nothing. After a while I thought Nina might have forgotten to send it, especially since our last exchange had been late on a Saturday evening. Maybe she answered from her phone while she was out and about (hello, responsive customer service!) but then forgot about it by the time she hit the office on Monday. I decided to forget about it, too.
For a few weeks. Then I politely inquired with Nina if she by any chance forgot to send the key a second time. Nope, she had sent it, it just never arrived. So she cheerfully agreed to try sending another. Third time’s the charm, right?
Wrong. A week or so later, this arrived.
OhYouHaveToBeKiddingMe, torn and empty again! Sigh.
I let Nina know that the trunk was cursed. I think she was just as disappointed as me. She agreed to find out how much it would cost to send a key by courier. Answer: prohibitively expensive. Darn. I asked if she had any dealers near me where I could just pick up a key. Nope, no dealers in the U.S. Nina thought our mail problem might be at customs, so she hatched another plan. She had relatives coming to visit from Chicago; she could ask them to carry a key across the border (all illicit style) then mail it to me once safely on U.S. soil.
I was game for that plan. And if it didn’t work I’d either go to a locksmith or live with the trunk locked forever. I’d just consider it a faux trunk. A funk. Oh wait, that’s something else.
So I waited again, this time with little expectation. A couple weeks later I got an email from Nina that she shifted course and asked a U.S. colleague in the trunk business to mail me a key from New York. The other company uses the same kind of lock mechanism as Everlite.
A few days later (yesterday), these beauties arrived in a roughed up but not torn envelope.
And this finally happened. (Note the dangling key.)
The inside of the trunk is quite nice–cedar lined with charming faux bois paper on the sides. I love it even more, and I’m not the only one. About three seconds after I opened it, this happened.
Shortly after that, I let Nina know we had done the impossible! Just a few days shy of one year since I made the purchase. Oh well, it certainly isn’t my first thrift purchase to sit around a while before being fully enjoyed. And yesterday’s grand trunk opening has me pumped for this year’s sale on Saturday. Who knows what treasures I may find amidst the sea of tired tchotchkes, old sporting equipment, and such…