Ellen Bryant Lloyd, NC
Ellen discovered her love of crafting stories at a young age when, in the first grade, she wrote a poem about all of her favorite things. She is the author of several award-winning picture books and the content coordinator and writer for two monthly magazines. Books, healthy cooking, labyrinths, spiritual growth, classical music, travel, and being a mom top the list of passions for this well-rounded, creative soul. Also, with a background in economics and marketing, Ellen enjoys learning about successful people and what makes them tick.
As a Story Terrace writer, Ellen interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
The Garage Sale
The idea of making big money appealed to my six-year-old self. When I learned of a chance to make it rich, I was all in.
“We are having a garage sale on Saturday. If you want to sell some of the toys and books that you no longer play with or read, you can keep the money,” Mom said.
“Really? How much do you think I can make?” I asked.
“It depends on how many things you sell. I think you could make at least one dollar,” Mom replied.
It was 1972 and one dollar went a long way then. I gathered a small pile of toys and books and added them to the mix of items for sale. I remembered feeling like a rock was in the pit of my stomach as I selected the books to sell, but I ignored it. I was getting too old for those baby stories, even though I still loved reading them. At least I was trying to convince myself I was too old.
Saturday morning arrived and I positioned myself behind the card table with my books and toys laid out, ready to greet customers. I had made a list of the things I would buy with all the money I would earn that day.
Shoppers arrived in droves and looked through at all the things my parents had displayed on tables and racks. Three people approached my table at the same time. “Good morning,” I said in my big-girl voice.
“Are these your books?” a gray-haired woman asked.
“Yes, ma’am, but I’m too old for them now,” I said.
“My grandchildren would love these,” another woman said. The man next to her nodded.
I watched as the two women picked up my books and looked through them. MY books. I felt sick. My heart started racing and my head pounded. The rock in the pit of my stomach was now the size of a boulder. I silently screamed at the women to leave my books alone. I felt dizzy and scared. Hot tears filled my eyes and started running down my cheeks..
“NO! These books aren’t for sale!” I said. I grabbed the books from the women, along with the other books on my table, and ran inside the house and into my bedroom. I slammed the door behind me and flung my body on the bed, still hugging the stack of books. I sobbed so hard my body heaved.
A few minutes later, my door opened, and my mom stood in the doorway. “Honey, are you okay?”
Through my sobs, I answered, “I’m so sorry. I just couldn’t sell my books to those people. I love my books. I don’t care if I don’t make any money. I can’t let them have my books.”
“Oh, that is okay! You don’t have to sell your books. It is your choice and if it doesn’t feel right to you, that is perfectly fine,” Mom said.
“Really? I can keep them forever?”
As much as I wanted to make money, my heart wouldn’t let me sell my books. I vowed that day to never sell or give away my books. I decided I would keep them all so I could have enough to fill a two-story library I hoped to have in my home one day. I have kept my word and saved every one of my books, but I still dream of that two-story library!
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