I have two huge (as in book-like) research projects that have been keeping me really busy. One is generally about the homefront during World War II, and the other focuses on NYC history during the 1800s. Not much overlap. But, anyway, I've been using my visits to the Garage to look for source material or stuff (I try to be open-minded since you never know what you might see) that might be useful to better understand each of these time periods.
A few weeks ago, one of my favorite vendors promised to bring a box of letters from WWII that he had found at an estate sale in upstate New York. As soon as I saw the heaping box of documents and letters, I knew I had to buy it. After several hours of organizing and cataloging them by date, I can now read through them in the order that they were written.
This whole experience leaves me to wonder what happens to other boxes of old letters--whether some are just thrown away and lost forever. Wouldn't it be incredible if there were a Museum of Abandoned Letters, a repository for boxes like the one I just bought, where letters too precious to throw away (and perhaps too precious to even sell) could be stored and read by curious visitors wondering what life was like at some other point in time? I'd happily volunteer to be the curator.
For now, I am off to the Garage, to see what wonders might be lying in wait for me.