Outgrown Treasures


Jamie was looking forward to the garage sale. She helped her mother sweep the driveway and set up the long folding tables. Then she printed a large GARAGE SALE sign to display at the end of their street.

“Do you think we’ll have lots of people?” Jamie asked.

“I hope so,” Mother answered. “The newspaper ad should help.”

A broken toaster, some mismatched dishes, and outgrown clothing lined the tables. Jamie was fascinated by the people who came to browse through the collection of old items.

“Why would anyone pay fifty cents for an old blue bottle?” Jamie asked after an elderly lady had left with her purchase.

“Why, she’ll put some pretty silk flowers in it and think it’s the world’s greatest treasure!” Jamie’s mother explained. “People like to have unusual things without having to pay a lot for them.”

“Do you think someone will want to buy my old high chair and crib?” Jamie asked.

“Yes, I’m sure someone will,” replied Mother. “They’re almost like new.”

“I don’t like to think of my things being in someone else’s house,” Jamie said with a frown.

“Well, we certainly can’t use them anymore!” Her mother laughed. “You’re a big girl now. I’ll bet if you looked through your room, you’d find some things to get rid of too.”

Jamie went to her room to look for something she could sell. Her bookshelf was lined with books about giants and kings and clowns. This one used to be my favorite, she thought as she looked through the pages of How to Tell Time. I can’t sell it! she decided.

Inside her desk she found a set of plastic letters and numbers that she’d used in first grade. One of the Cs was missing, and the 8 was bent. I might need these to play school the next time Andrea comes over, Jamie thought. Finally, after thinking about everything in her room, Jamie decided to sell her blocks. They had been stored in the farthest corner of her closet for a very long time.

Back outside, Jamie told her mother, “I’m going to sell my blocks for two dollars.”

“Two dollars is rather high,” Jamie’s mother said as Jamie placed the box of blocks on the table. “You may want to lower the price.”

None of the adults were interested in the two-dollar box of blocks. Jamie began to think she’d keep them after all. Then an old blue car pulled up in front of the house. A young woman, followed by three small children, walked up the driveway.

“Your ad said you had a high chair and crib for sale,” the woman said.

“Yes, we do,” replied Jamie’s mother. “They’re right over here on the lawn. As you can see, they’re in very good condition.”

“They are nice,” the woman said. “The ones we have at home are worn-out.”

“Yes, I can imagine,” Jamie’s mother said, smiling at the three active children.

Jamie noticed that the dress the little girl was wearing was much too small for her. One of the little boy’s shoes had a hole in the toe, and his shirt was too big. The baby wasn’t wearing shoes, and Jamie thought his feet must be cold.

“My name’s Anne,” the little girl told Jamie. “I’m going to be in first grade this year!”

“Oh, that’s nice,” Jamie said. “How old are your brothers?”

“Marty’s four, and Alex is almost two,” Anne told her. “We’re going to have a new baby pretty soon!”

Marty spied the box of colorful blocks sitting at the edge of the table. “They’re pretty!” he said. He picked up a purple block and turned it around and around, looking at all its sides. “Bet I could build a real high tower with all of these!” he boasted.

“How much are the blocks?” Anne asked.

“Two dollars,” Jamie said. “They’re really good blocks. I haven’t used them very much.”

“Oh.” Anne sighed. “We won’t be able to buy them, Marty.”

“I have some money!” Marty declared. “Eighteen cents from my piggy bank!”

“I know,” Anne whispered to him, “and I have thirty-five cents. But even together it won’t be enough.”

“Maybe we can ask Mother for the rest,” Marty suggested.

“No,” Anne said. “She only has enough for the baby furniture.”

Jamie watched Marty’s freckled face sag into a sad frown. She watched his little fingers place the purple block back into the box. Then she thought about how useless the blocks had been sitting in her closet.

“Two dollars is probably too much for them,” Jamie admitted. “They do have some scratches. I think eighteen cents is a fair price!”

“You do?” Marty grinned. “That’s great!”

Marty counted out his dime and eight pennies. Jamie put the coins into the money box.

“Thank you,” Marty said, clutching his new treasure.

“I have some other things I don’t need anymore,” Jamie said. “If you’ll wait a minute, I’ll bring them out!”

“I don’t think we have enough money to buy any more,” Anne said.

“Wait until you see if there’s anything you like before you decide,” Jamie said as she hurried inside.

Jamie got How to Tell Time from the shelf. One of the clock hands on the cover was slightly bent, but that wouldn’t matter. It could still help a six-year-old learn to tell time. She gathered all the letters and numbers from her desk, put them into a shoe box, and then hurried outside.

“I’m too old for these things now,” Jamie said with a smile as Anne looked at the toys. “And they’re only thirty-five cents.”

“But aren’t these worth more than that?” Anne asked.

“No, thirty-five cents is just right,” Jamie replied. “You’ll have a lot of fun playing school with them.”

“I can’t wait to tell time!” Anne cried. “Thank you!”

As the old blue car pulled away from the curb, Jamie could see three excited faces looking back at her. Jamie waved. The coins she clutched in her other hand were forgotten. Inside, Jamie had a zillion dollars’ worth of happiness.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Julie F. Young