Sunday, February 19, 2006
Goodbye Mr Schlinder!
Yesterday afternoon Erich and I did one of our favourite weekend things, we drove to nearby Obdach and dropped in at the one and only trash and treasure store in a radius of atleast 60km. It was near to closing time and as we approached my heart sank when I read the sign outside "Closing Down Sale!". The lovely little old man who runs the place - Mr Schlinder, says he´s tired, he´s had enough, time to retire. People don´t want to buy in his shop anymore, they prefer to buy the cheap asian imports that you can buy on every street corner in the city. In 2 weeks there will be no more T&T shop.
We talked to him for quite a while, he seemed happy and sad if you know what I mean. He has often told us about his life and it´s been a hard one. He has 6 children who are now between 18 and 30 and when his youngest son was five his wife passed away and he got the family through on a widower´s pension and the small income from the shop. Whenever anyone wanted to get rid of their junk they brought it to him and he sold it really cheap.
He told us about the time that a young Hungarian couple came to him begging for some furniture and while he helped the young man load some free stuff into the car, the woman took all the money out of the register. He didn´t notice it until over an hour later and it was too late to do anything. A "city man" once tried to sell him some old wares and when Mr S. said he doesn´t buy but he´s happy to take what other people don´t need anymore, the man laughed and said he will go elsewhere and find someone who´s happy to pay him what he´s asking. The next morning, the old wares had been left in a box outside the shop door. He was full of stories but he wasn´t bitter, just laughing and shaking his head in wonder at all of his experiences. There was a deep sadness about him and yet he seemed satisfied.
We walked out of that place yesterday with a box full of things...an old coffee set, some lovely vintage fabric, some small glass bowls, a foot stool, a beautiful old photo of an Austrian dancing group for my parents in Australia. When I look around our house I see so many things that we´ve bought from him in the past, objects that have their own stories, and as I was cleaning and putting away the new things yesterday I remebered the words I said to him when we left "Goodbye Mr Schlinder and thankyou! Good luck! "Same to you" he said, gave us a wave and a smile and locked the door behind us.