The Homes We Leave Behind

Patti Davis seeks out new treasures that have already had a home in other people's hearts and lives

by Patti Davis • columnist
patti davis image

Patti has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers over the past 20 years, and one of her screenplays, Sacrifices of the Heart, was produced by Hallmark in 2007. She has just finished a script about a fictional First Daughter and is working on another novel titled The Myth of Water.

Want MORE from Patti Davis? Read "Ronald Reagan: My Disappearing Dad."

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Share Your Thoughts!


mark rushworth05.06.2014

You guys would love my garage. I rescue things from friends, families (but not dumpsters) and save it for a rainy day. To date I've had several full bathroom suites, loads of garden furniture, leather sofas and loads of misc things pass through my hands to appreciative individuals. I'm like a one man freecycle lol.

gail Harris08.04.2013

Hi Patti,
What you said really hit home for me, because it pointed toward “life’s impermanence.” My family also has an exquisite old rocker that we “snatched” from someone’s basement worth hundreds more than the mere $60 we paid for it. It was a bittersweet moment for the man who parted with his grandmother’s glider and I think that I felt his pain. But what I felt underneath the pain, or for me, what may even have been at its root, is the simple knowledge that nothing stays the same. Our kids are growing up so quickly and we are growing older, too. Like you said, eventually we will die, and so will they—no matter how immortal society makes us out to be. No matter how many bowls of Cherios we eat or sit-ups we do. Now, I don’t focus on this fact, but I try to see the gift in it. The gift is that it reminds me to REALLY LIVE NOW, while I am here, and make my life the most fulfilling it can be. For me, I think that honoring life’s impermanence—in ways such as appreciating old things and the people whose lives came before us— is such a poignant reminder to be present in my own life —right now, this very second as I type these words, if I can remember to look at it that way.

Jacqueline 06.21.2013

I too "love the story" behind second hand object, letters or anything useable but tossed away. I scour second hand stores and flea markets trying to recreate my past I think. I rescued an old hope chest (40's era) that was about to be discarded as it was in rough condition. I took it because I had heard it belonged to my husbands great aunt whose fiancé had given it to her after their engagement. He was a fire fighter and died in the line of duty, and she never married. Thanks for sharing, your words are heartbreakingly beautiful.

You are so right about what is in our homes and how it relates to our heart and soul....
I love your writing, I use to blog...and you are an inspriation to start again.
Blessings Dorothy Stahlnecker

Penney White12.18.2012

I totally enjoyed and get what Patti says. I am a second-hander. Whether it's for preservation of some history, convenience, or new found treasure I find myself eyeing a mound of furniture on the curb or the free section on Craigslist. My parents, in their retirement, are finally getting nice new furniture but, what about the old stuff?
I can't let go of the coffee table we passed around when my sister and I moved out and need a few pieces to start with. I can't allow the dinning room table with our teething marks around the edges be tossed out.
I repurpose, reuse, and recycle many things. If not then I take a lot of pictures. I have to watch myself though for fear I would become a hoarder.

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