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Selling Yearbooks on eBay

Updated on November 4, 2013
Mailehune, 1970; Kapa'a High School in Kapa'a, Hawai'i
Mailehune, 1970; Kapa'a High School in Kapa'a, Hawai'i | Source

Why the Magnificent Obsession with Yearbooks? Here's One Answer

The older I get, the bigger the gap between my generation and that of my children.

It seems the metaphorical breach surpasses the breadth of the Grand Canyon.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the rapidly advancing technology of social media.

In awkward and futile fashion, I try to minimize the ever-widening chasm between yesteryear and the 21st century by reminiscing about what was considered a hot social activity in my youth. My brain, definitely on a slow crawl compared to the contemporary Warp 5 Internet servers, comes up with just one similarity from the past--the yearbook.

Ah, yes, the wonderful yearbook! On just about every family bookshelf in America, there sits at least one volume of these golden memorabilia.

Decades after your parents forked out the school fees that purchased one of these nostalgic mother lodes, you decide one day to take a slow trip down memory lane. You walk over to the bookshelf, blinking a bit in the dim light--or is it from the post-cataract surgery side effect of blurred vision when sighting things right in front of you? Whatever, you somehow manage to finally see the tall book with the colorful cover.

You take it from the shelf, wipe the dust and spider trails from it, and hold it in both hands. Imbibed now with memories that fill your brain like a flash flood, you back up and plop down in your easy chair, thankful that it's comfy and cushy enough to support the extra baggage you've picked up over the last forty years or so. You close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths--inhaling as you savor where you were at and what you were all about and what group(s) you were pigeonholed into at the time. You want to take your time because you're old enough and wise enough (you tell yourself) to know that anticipation is key to anything worth getting into at your age.

And the book--your very own vintage keepsake, the ultimate combination, as you knew it then and would brazenly promote today, that in and of itself easily transcends the current upstarts--rests now upon your lap. Who needs Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and all the other cyberspace copycats?

You've got a veritable treasure chest of memorabilia right there in front of you, right this very second. It calls you now, mesmerizingly, alluringly, rendering you vulnerable and helpless with its compelling siren call.

Go ahead. Open it. You know you want to...

The Mountain Ash, 1945; Walla Walla College in College Place, Washington
The Mountain Ash, 1945; Walla Walla College in College Place, Washington | Source
Vine Maple, 1937; Columbia Academy in Battle Ground, Washington
Vine Maple, 1937; Columbia Academy in Battle Ground, Washington | Source
Delphian, 1967; Walla Walla Vallecy Academy in College Place, Washington
Delphian, 1967; Walla Walla Vallecy Academy in College Place, Washington | Source
Mountain Echoes, 1972; Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado
Mountain Echoes, 1972; Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado | Source
Maple Log, 1961; Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, Minnesota
Maple Log, 1961; Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, Minnesota | Source

Why I Have a Passion for Selling Vintage on eBay

Okay, it's inventory-taking time. No, I don't mean my online business products. I'm referring to something I've learnedt this past year and have come to accept as self-evident truth.

False bravado aside, I can honestly say I have a healthy respect for--and thus, an understandable fear of--death. In just 17 days, I turn 60. But for several years now, although I'm only just now ready to admit it to myself, I've been pondering the inevitable and imminent passage to the other side. The theme of mortality, it seems, has taken up residence in an upstairs apartment in the oceanside Bed & Breakfast of my mind.

So, it makes perfect sense, then--at least for me--that I am immersed in my eBay business of selling vintage items. I started with vintage ephemera--old paper--like ads, articles, and prints from old magazines and prints. One branch of the entrepreneurial tree led to another branch, or niche--selling vintage postcards. Another fork in the tree led me to the world of collectible tins. From there, I dabbled with collector plates.Then, I started picking up vintage ceramics, stoneware, and other ornate items. Various forays into community events such as yard sales, garage sales, estate sales, and church rummage sales, as well as occasional trips to thrift and consignment stores soon resulted in another storage locker filled with Christmas items, cameras and lenses, antiquarian books, and other relatively valuable items.

In my own vintage past, i sought comfort and anxiety reduction in a fringe lifestyle of unhealthy addictions. The passage of time has transformed the jackass into an elephant (my way of saying I've become more conservative with age), and I've become that sixties' Donovan song--Mellow Yellow-- without the crutch of firing up wacky vegetation or indulging in other alternatives. I'm drunk now, I'm high now, I'm sated now with the joy of living, and I'm living joyfully, as much as I possibly can these days.

Which is the very best reason I can think of for rationalizing the Captain Jack Sparrow lifestyle I'm engaged in now...this vagabond, I'm not tied down to the Man, free Willy sort of existence.

And in the process, I'm enjoying the frequent reminders and flashbacks of things I enjoyed as a kid but was too self-obsessed to ever appreciate. I love vintage because it's the roots of my coconut tree. Those roots, equally imbedded in Hawaiian sand and Pacific Northwest soil, nourish and sustain my Hawaiian Odysseus family tree.

I want to be the last vessel of any generational bad seed, and I want only good seed to pour forth from my tree trunk for my descendants.

Any future growth for my family requires me to bless and perpetuate the very best of the past I've taken for granted. In my own special way, and with the portion of talent and resources God's allotted me in my final season, I am doing just that in my chosen self-employment as a seller of vintage on eBay.

Delphian, 1965; Walla Walla Valley Academy in College Place, Washington
Delphian, 1965; Walla Walla Valley Academy in College Place, Washington | Source
Rainier Vista, 1956 : Auburn Adventist Academy in Auburn, Washington
Rainier Vista, 1956 : Auburn Adventist Academy in Auburn, Washington | Source
Mountain Ash, 1944; Walla Walla College in College Place, Washington
Mountain Ash, 1944; Walla Walla College in College Place, Washington | Source

Yearbooks--Marking the Passage of Time

The older I get, the more I'm convinced that things don't happen by accident. Gifted with free will, we're still blessed with this invisible and omniscient GPS, if you will, that provides corrections in our moral navigating and ultimately helps us find our way home.

Once upon a time in my life, I had no clue whatsoever that yearbooks like my Kapa'a High School annuals, years 1966-1970, would someday be hot selling items on some invisible yet awesomely powerful global marketplace called--huh?--eBay.

Today, yearbooks are some of the Hansel and Gretel crumbs providentially left on the ground as roadway signs leading me home.

A few months ago, an elderly female friend asked my wife and me to help her move some things out of her home in the process of getting it ready for sale. My wife noticed that our friend was about to throw away a box full of high school and college yearbooks from places where she and her husband had taught. We asked if we could have them, and our friend graciously gave them to us, happy that we were able to help her get rid of a lot of junk.

In the last month, at a nickel shy of $20 each, my wife and I have managed to glean over $300 from that junk.

You've heard the adage...one man's trash is another man's treasure. I complement this tried and true theme with this: Just as God restored my garbage heap life, I'm being a wise steward and following suit.

In the process, I'm caring and providing for my family.

Simultaneously, judging from the feedback we're getting, our customers are thoroughly enjoying the throwaways we've delighted in salvaging.

Pine Cone, 1968; Jefferson Academy in Jefferson, Texas
Pine Cone, 1968; Jefferson Academy in Jefferson, Texas | Source

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @wetnosedogs

    I hear you loud and clear, my friend. Sometimes I wish things were reversed...that is, as we grow older, it'd be nice if our bodies could move faster.

    When I was two years old, it took a lifetime to get to four. With each passing year, time appears to accelerate faster and faster.

    Good thing you have your wetnosedogs and Felix, and I have Kona. On a 7 to 1 ratio, they're going to be older than us in no time. It's all relative, isn't it?

    Thanks for stopping by, and have yourself a great week!

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

    Incredible. Happy returns with the yearbooks.

    I am 62. Time passes and we are not finished yet. I need more time!