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The Gift

GIFT: mid-13c. (c.1100 in surnames), from a Scandinavian source, cf. O.N. gift, gipt “gift, good luck,” from P.Gmc. *giftiz (cf. O.S. gift, O.Fris. jefte, M.Du. ghifte “gift,” Ger. Mitgift “dowry”), from PIE base *ghabh- “to give or receive”

“You’re not really sending it recorded are you”? was the message in my ebay email box.

I’ve been selling all my worldly possessions on ebay these past two months – over 180 to be exact. A collection of clothes, household items, ephemera…

When I started I was very business like in my approach. The early items were ‘easy’, things I hadn’t looked at, in the back of the cupboard, maybe I had two.

But as time progressed and my need to raise money continued and, as before, no other work was forthcoming, I began to go to ‘the next level’; more personal things, items with a story, my story. I begin to see how my house – how most homes- are museums to the individual.

I send everything recorded, even if I only sell it for 99 pence. In this way I am a very poor ebayer as I am not maximizing my profits. The way I see it these are my precious items I am passing on to another to appreciate and care for hence I need to be caring in my sending. It is not a straight cold business transaction across the e-waves.

I wrap each one particularly, like Christmas. I include a personal note on a card from my vast selection of postcards I’ve collected from around the world.

On a postcard from Sri Lanka “Congratulations on winning the dress, it is very beautiful. I have had many good times in it, it was made for me by a lovely tailor named Suba in Batticaloa in Northeast Sri Lanka. She made me the dress and fed me beautiful food. I hope it brings you many good times. Best wishes and peace, Kate E. Deeming”

On a postcard of porticos of Bologna “Congratulations on winning the Syrian plaque, it was given to me by film Director Nabil Maleh when working on a film there. He was very generous, it is something very special. Enjoy! Best wishes and peace, Kate E. Deeming”

On a postcard from the V&A Museum with a Couture Gown on it “Congratulations on winning the 1928 Jewelry, I wore these to my prom in 1990 in Villanova, Pennsylvania. I hope they share good evenings with you as well! Best wishes and peace, Kate E. Deeming”

And so it goes. I can be the worst ebayer, often setting the prices too low, often misjudging postage costs and losing money. Somewhere in the midst of it, I make enough to pay this months bills and maybe the next.

I feel so good about it though, there is a calm and a clarity about releasing everything. All those memories and times still exist in me, with or without the objects and now those stories will live in other people, and new stories will evolve.

A neighbour of mine had a house fire a year ago and she lost all the contents. I consider this as we are now in a time of great shift and questioning of ‘this world’ we’ve created. I wonder on this schizophrenic call to ‘buy buy buy’ objects that are empty, with no consideration. If we really considered every moment with the greatest kindness, in a continuum of relationships, how much would that change our behaviours?

If we really thought about where the things we have come from, who made them, what is their story and where will it go from here, how much would that change us. How much would that bring more thankfulness in our own persons?

For me, it is like this. There is a gift in it, like Christmas or Birthday, and that makes it something very precious indeed.

Wishing you peace and love

Kate E. xx

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