Well, when my grandmother Jannie passed away ten years ago I went into a funk, okay, it was more than a funk I was depressed. I went to work Monday – Friday, mostly because I had bills to pay, but lost interest in almost everything and everyone around me. I was a walking zombie and thought I’d never find my way out of that dark hole. After three years of reminding myself that my grandmother would not want me to be sad, it finally hit me… I needed to get out, be around people and get back to my old self. My grandmother told me on her deathbed “ I have no regrets”, I don’t want to live a life with regrets.

Estate sales… yes, estate sales was my gateway back to the land of the living. So seven years ago I pulled myself out of bed one Saturday, got dressed and hit my first sale. It was the easiest way to get out and be around people without being “too” social. In the beginning I started collecting objects that reminded me of my grandmother. She was an excellent cook and my early collection had plenty of antique and vintage kitchen gadgets and tools. As I continued the hobby of collecting items other things began to catch my eye. Next thing you know my garage was full of interesting collectibles from kitchen tools, ashtrays, clocks, books, post cards and other souvenirs.

After two years of hitting estate sales I thought the items I found should be shared with the world and a store was born, Call Jannie. Call Jannie was named after my grandma who taught me that true beauty comes with age. Since opening the online vintage store I’ve sold hundreds of collectibles to individuals around the world.

I am having a blast knowing that the items I pick up at estate sales are finding new homes and bringing happiness to another person or family. For example, one customer was so happy with his purchase that he actually sent me a letter via snail mail. He bought two vintage paper records from the 1960s. There was an orphanage in Italy that produced records of a boy’s choir singing Christmas songs. The sale proceeds from those records went to help take care of the boys that lived at the orphanage. In his letter he mentioned that the records were over 50 years ago but sounded perfect. His mother played those records every Christmas for him and his siblings when they were young. This Christmas he was going to surprise his siblings by playing the records for them. How sweet. Little did he know that my grandmother bought similar records and I remember seeing them around my house when I was a child. Two strangers shared a warm memory of a loved one through a simple object, a paper record.

Call Jannie (CJ for short) is growing. I feel so blessed to have my friend and partner Paula help source addition items and launch a new designer fashion category on CJ. I’m no longer depressed, although I still have tough moments, like the tenth anniversary of grandma Jannie’s passing. I remind myself every time I look in the mirror that her spirit lives on in me and I’m determine to share her name with the world and I will live this life with no regrets.