Old Coins and Sad Tables

The dragging sadness of other people’s memories

Jack Herlocker
Crow’s Feet
Published in
2 min readMar 10


Illustration by author using DALL-E: “old furniture and books in dusty pile photorealistic style”

An old seat pad, used while hunting;
electric, once, now cold and dead,
not even enough heft left to cushion.
The older lady tells stories
of her late husband, kept warm
while spending hours on the water.
How can this not be valuable?

A bag of coins, both old and recent,
“worth thousands with the silver”
but not so much in this market
with too much time spent sorting.

Two tables, banquet sized,
folded and stored,
put away for the next family gathering
that never happened,
grandkids now adults,
babes, once just imagined, still too young to travel
across three states for a day’s outing.
Fifty bucks for both? Sure,
don’t have to pay a hauler.

Ghosts of loved ones,
summoned by old objects,
staring at the tail lights
of trash trucks pulling away,
bearing the dragging sadness
of other people’s memories.

My wife (Deb, retired) has been helping her old boss (Fran, even more retired) downsize everything in her house before moving into a retirement home. Fran has been working with someone (Sharon) who puts old and not-so-old stuff together with buyers; it’s a demoralizing job, having to explain to people how beloved old pieces of family history are only worth what people will pay, and no one will pay anything for… well, most old stuff. How twenty pounds of battered coins, thrown into cloth bags, are not the windfall that a late spouse always talked about. Listening to the stories that go with things bought with hope and plans that never actually happened. Walking into an attic filled with items that none of the grandchildren would take, and Sharon telling the client that, sorry, no, she doesn’t want any of it either. And seeing the looks on clients’ faces.

Sometimes Sharon isn’t sure this is the best business for her to be in…



Jack Herlocker
Crow’s Feet

Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.