Six months ago, I opened an antique booth and set up a shelf with a sign that asks, “What do you collect?” and suggested the customer write a note and leave it in the labeled “Jar of Wishes.” My intention was to learn what material things people *wished* to collect.
The people responded.
There were notes with specific brands like Pyrex, Rainbow glass, and Pillsbury Dough Boy. Then general requests for antique keys, coffee mugs, snow globes, coins, knives, and watches.
I have made it a point to find all these objects while I’m estate and yard “saling” for inventory each week.
One lady shared her love for Humpty Dumpty paraphernalia, but what she was really seeking was solace in the nostalgia of a lost connection, finding comfort in the memories of a loved one who read her those childhood tales.
Another woman is searching for St. Joe yearbooks, 1950-1953 for her grandfather now in a care home and struggling. I have yet to find those. But the more I consider it, I don’t think she’s simply after a set of books; she is hoping to reignite her grandfather’s fading memories, giving him a glimpse of his cherished high school days.
Then there are the notes in the “Jar of Wishes” written by kind souls who expressed themselves literally:
“I wish to graduate college.”
“I wish for my crush to ask me out.”
“I wish to get a good paying job so my boyfriend and I can move in together soon.”
“For Katelyn and I [to] grow old together, [get] married, with some kids and live in places across the world.”
“I wish…I had more time with my daughter.”
The notes in the jar reveal the universal desires we all share — the longing for personal growth, love, and meaningful connections. They remind me that while material possessions can bring temporary joy; it is the intangible experiences and relationships that truly enrich our lives.