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Pioneer Park Aviary Peacock Flies the Coop and Lands on eBay

Updated on August 27, 2013
Pioneer Park Aviary Peacock Print of an Original Watercolor Painting by Marilee Schiff
Pioneer Park Aviary Peacock Print of an Original Watercolor Painting by Marilee Schiff | Source
Pioneer Park Walla Walla:
Pioneer Park, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA

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A lovely and pacific haven for squirrels, dogs, cats, birds, and their human friends.

On Mother's Day, 2012, my wife and I attended a large yard sale on the grounds of Pioneer Park in Walla Walla, Washington. The proceeds of this sale would directly go to support the iconic and very popular Pioneer Park Aviary.

One of the more noticeable birds at the aviary, both in terms of aesthetic plumage and audible trumpeting, is the peacock. It's no wonder, then, that this beautiful creature left an indelible mark in the creative mind and soul of artist Marilee Schiff.

A local resident of Walla Walla, Ms. Schiff has had a few of her delightful art creations--including the original watercolor of the above print--featured on the online entrepreneurial site, Etsy.

Her affinity for the local people and regional ambience as well as her love for and appreciation of the Pioneer Park Aviary and its inhabitants moved her to donate five framed photo prints of her gorgeous peacock watercolor painting to the yard sale.

After speaking with one of the aviary supporters at the yard sale, I decided to purchase the above print and, in the process, carry out my civic duty in supporting the historical bird sanctuary.

As an eBay seller, I try to envision my online point of sale while deliberating over any yard/garage/estate sale or thrift store acquisition. The seller's profit, I've learned, is established at the moment of buying an item, not later.

The price listed for the 9-1/2" by 7-5/8" print in the 11-1/8" x 9-3/16" frame was $4. I picked up the framed print, studied both the front and reverse sides carefully, and placed it back on the table. I looked around at the other items on adjacent tables and then returned to the general vicinity of the artwork table.

One of the sale organizers, a personable middle-aged woman, must've picked up on my interest in the piece and came over to help me. This provided me with a great opportunity to ask a few key questions about the piece as well as its creator. It's amazing how a little schmoozing with the yardsellers can contribute to bonus dividends, such as a discounted asking price.

"Tell you what," she said. "I'll sell you that picture for $2."

Without batting an eye, but pausing an extra heartbeat or two for dramatic effect, I responded, "I'll take it. Thank you very much!"

Later that evening, I conducted further research with the wonderful assistance of my brilliant friend, GS , better known as Google search. I learned an interesting thing or two about the artist, Marilee Schiff.

Apparently, a little over eleven years ago, Marilee had witnessed the terror and devastation of the 9/11 tragedy. Deeply moved by the experience as well as the media coverage after the fact that focused on the victims and their surviving family members, she pondered the unrealized dreams of those who had died. In a moment of intense epiphany, Ms. Schiff challenged herself to truly explore and bring into fruition her own dreams before it was too late.

One of her life wishes was to learn how to paint. She set about to do just that, and the rest--as they say--is history.

I don't know about you, but I am truly blessed to have such creative individuals in my community. Like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes, inspirational and humanitarian genius transcend the ground zero of destruction.

The information I'd gleaned gave me further impetus to prepare a good listing for the item on eBay. I took the above photo, added a closeup of Marilee Schiff's signature at the bottom of the print, wrote a few paragraphs aptly describing the item and providing a bit of human interest background, and listed the item.

Today, almost exactly four months after I had listed the framed peacock print, it sold for a nickel shy of $20.

The way I see it, the entire experience has been a win-win-win-win-win transaction. Here's what I mean:

  • The yard sale proceeds ensured the longevity of the Pioneer Park Aviary;
  • Marilee Schiff's beautiful artwork and uplifting behind the scenes story was further promoted;
  • I made a wonderful sale on eBay;
  • The buyer added a relatively inexpensive yet gorgeous framed print to his collection;
  • And the peacocks in Walla Walla can continue to proudly fan their iridescent tail feathers and trumpet their clarion calls!


Submit a Comment

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @rajan jolly

    Human interest "behind the eBay scenes" stories show up unexpectedly. My perspective is that it's meant to happen that way in order for the impression to be pronounced and compelling, thus moving me to chronicle the event(s). I'm thankful that I was able to learn about a new local artist and share her beautiful work globally. Thank you so much for your continued interest in my work, dear friend. Aloha, and have a wonderful Thursday! (I do believe it's about a quarter of 8 in the morning in Mumbai as I write these words.)


  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

    5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    The peacock painting is gorgeous, Joe and brilliant is the way you wove tidbits interestingly around this item for a winner sale.

    Voted up and interesting.


  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Aloha, Ka'imi'loa!

    I had a ton of HubPages alerts in my inbox and was finally able to address the situation when I came across your message as well as the announcement of your new Hub. Will reserve the reading of it until after I pau with my yardsaling this morning. I'm worse than a wahine now, fully engaged in the buying part of my business. Anyways, bruddah, did you get the email with the health information my wife shared with me? After the first email from you, I did not receive a second one. Maybe you can resend it? Mahalo, Ka'imi'loa!

  • benisan85745 profile image


    6 years ago from Tucson, AZ.

    Alo-ha Uncle....howzit!

    Hoootah, planny sick bruddah, planny sick. Nah, I like Make already. The pain was unreal these past few weeks, like one Lolo, I try fo' go swim li'dat in one t'erapy pool down by the city park and recreation....oh wow laulau, the pavillions all bust up from the storms so the heat of the day stay sunburning eveyone around me, but me, Eh brah, we get Hawaiian koko, we get bronze, oh all they can see is the white of my eyes and teeth. The nerves I think went get more damaged yeah from me doing "soft" legs excercises they told me fo' do....anycans, how you Uncle, I went and send you an email reply on the "lords..." acc: # hopefully we can do something soon.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    6 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Thank you, my friend! And I'm always glad to share things that are ordinary and yet out of the ordinary at the same time. Your pets would love Pioneer Park, a beautiful and abundantly-wooded expanse that's a city block long on each side. The Aviary sits on the south having a mini-zoo for birds roughly in the middle of town. Lots of squirrels to keep our canine friends well exercised.

    Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • wetnosedogs profile image


    6 years ago from Alabama

    Extraordinary hub on such beauty. That is an awesome story of the author. And happy to hear of your sale. Thanks for the write up.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    6 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Wow! That was quick! Thank you for promptly visiting my Hub and for your kind words. Yes, I hope to meet the talented artist and have a nice conversation over coffee someday. By the way, I encourage you to check out her artwork on Or plug in her name, and the search engine might locate her for you. What especially intrigued me about her was how she turned the 9/11 tragedy into a life-altering triumph. Her art now blesses so many...just like your literary creations are blessing those in America and in your country of origin. Again, thank you so much for dropping by!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Beautiful work of Art. Miss Schiff is really creative in using the watercolor. You are lucky to have it . Thanks for the information about Pioneer Park Aviary.

    Voted up and more!


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