“You are out of your goddamned mind!”
Not exactly the support I had hoped for when explaining my plan for this Friday to The Missus.
About six weeks ago, a company that does massive estate sales posted early pictures as to what was going to be present at a sale that kicks off at 9 a.m. Friday. I had made it a policy to avoid estate sales after my last few escapades had yielded a ton of shit that costs a decent amount of money and was slow in turning around. Still, I’m always on the look out for a good bit of luck and some nice dishware for The Missus. It turns out she grew a fetish for a Depression-Era glassware known as jadeite. Turns out, Martha Stewart had just done a big spread on it and she loved it.
“If you see any of that out on your shopping trips, could you pick it up?” she asked in that sweet and hopeful way that says “I love you” and “If you want to keep doing this, here’s an excuse that won’t make me want to kill you.”
Of course, I knew nothing about it, but as an intellectual, I attacked the problem with the idea that knowledge gain would be best. I bought about six guidebooks on this stuff, dug around on the Internet and kept looking for it at estate sales and flea markets.
The shit was ridiculously expensive. When Martha likes something, so do collectors.
Thirty-five bucks for a fucking plate? With a crack in it? Oh well…
Some savvy shopping, good digging and some luck later, she had a cabinet full of light green bliss. Still, you can’t wave off a hunting instinct just because the hunt is over and people are full. There are worlds to conquer, dammit.
Thus, I found myself sorting through the pictures this company posted online.
What I came to realize early in this set of photos is that they were clearing out a hoarder’s home. The place was piled with shit. The thoughts of what might be crawling under those mounds of crap had me thinking, “No fucking way.”
Still, I thumbed through the thumbnails until I noticed a copy of an old Green Bay Packer program. Then another. Then another. Good stuff, but I could probably live without it.
Then, I found a picture that had my heart in my throat and my stomach in knots for about six weeks.
To the untrained eye, they were scraps of paper. To me, it was like unlocking the Ark of the Covenant.
The Bible talks about the man who finds a treasure in a field, so he goes and sells all he had and buys that field. When he returns, he rejoices over the treasure and what it has brought him.
This parable was swimming through my head as I quickly Googled some information that I intuitively knew. The image was as clear as a bell and right as rain. The four scraps of paper scattered in the middle of this image were ticket stubs from 1959. They had info about the Packers on them.
They were the first four games Vince Lombardi ever coached in Green Bay, all four wins.
I did a quick search to see how rare they were and what they were worth.
Only one had been found. The first game. Certified. At auction: more than $500.
A unique item in the purest sense of the word.
It was then became determined: I had to have them.
And thus, I revealed to my wife how I planned to get them: I’d camp out in my car overnight and be the first person in this house.
And this is how I find myself in the driveway of a stranger in Kaukauna, Wisconsin at 11:30 p.m., waiting eight hours for a chance at a piece of history.
Here’s the running diary. As I write this thing, I don’t even know how it will end as I’m writing it in mostly real time. Typos will be likely. Verbiage will be wild. Click on at your own risk.