Jo Ann Jaacks: Paying it forward is a good legacy

Jo Ann’s driveway tag sale had a good showing.

“Life is a roller coaster of highs, lows, hard lefts, hard rights, and even some loop-de-loops. But, know this participation is mandatory as your legacy is the accumulation of what you gave back not what you took out.”

— Donavan Nelson Butler, Master Sergeant US Army

I am planning a tag sale and remembering the last one I staged, the ultimate moving sale when our house is sold. My grandson was a huge help, lugging heavy pieces of furniture and tools to cars.

At the end of the appointed time, I laid out the leftover items on tarps on the lawn and driveway, changed the wording on the sandwich board to read “FREE. Thank you for recycling” then brought some remainders to a place that could make good use of them. When I returned home, there was a scribbled note stuck in the door jamb: “Thank you!! We aren’t from the area, decided to stop and take a look . . . ended up finding very cool stuff! Thank you 4 recycling! Best, E&A (with a smiley face.)” I was pleased that strangers thought my trash and treasures contained some cool stuff.

I listed the FREE notice on all the pertinent Facebook group pages, and within 20 minutes, the first car stopped by. Three small children made a dash to the kids tarp, each one grabbing their favorites and making a small pile. I could read the motherly gestures and interpreted the message that each child could only take one item. I had originally had a LOT of kids stuff, mostly donated by a friend with three now pre-teens. I went outside to suggest to the mother this could be a good learning experience for her youngsters about recycling by taking the toys, then recycling them when they had outgrown them. She considered that, then told each child they could each take two toys or games.

Amid the constant flow of traffic, the piles of housewares, Christmas items and free books were fast diminishing. I met a neighbor for the first time after she knocked on my door, thanked me for the toys she carefully chose for her grandson, then offered to leave veggies from her garden on my patio bench, which she did the next morning — some lovely and large zucchini and yellow squash. A young couple took their time going through everything, consulting with each other, evidently discussing whether they really needed a Quesadilla Maker. I assumed I was invisible, hanging back from the window, but as they left, the man turned towards the kitchen window and blew me a kiss.

I thought I had posted on all the online sites known to man (and woman), and discovered, from my teenage grandson of course, that there is an app for smart phones that pulls up every “tag sale” posting within a certain bandwidth, so my reverse tag sale giveaway was being broadcast everywhere the original had been. A woman from several towns away asked if furniture was still available, since she was helping a friend whose home was recently damaged by fire. When I told her yes, I had a few pieces of furniture, which were now free, and offered to hold it for her. She arrived within the promised 30 minutes, and since my grandson had gone home by then, I helped her fit the chairs and small cabinets in her vehicle.

The perfect ending for the day, and I think I earned some points on my legacy, which is always a good thing.

Connecticut Media Group