Letter | Linda Varon: Cannot wait for Goodwill to open its new location

Linda Varon in Goodwill Halloween costume

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Linda Varon in Goodwill Halloween costume

The Goodwill store is coming to my neighborhood. Woo-hoo! One more store that is within walking distance to where I live.

Goodwill has been around for as long as I can remember. Always another fun place to go when low on funds. Depending on which holiday is approaching, they bring out all sorts of cool seasonal goodies. I remember searching for odds and ends to make Halloween costumes. Even as an adult, I always put together a dandy.

I remember as a kid in San Diego, we spent lots of time between Salvation Army store and Good-Willy. Sister and I did call it Good-Willy. Back in those days, we were not aware of the many things that the Goodwill store did to help communities. We were just excited to find a pair of shoes that fit! Like lots of others who were struggling back in the 1950s, getting new clothes for school was not a given.

Goodwill always had a great toy section, and was sometimes a place for Sister and I to hang out while Mom was looking for a used pot, pan or maybe some dishtowels. We were certainly not picky about our toys, and sometimes we would get a board game. If some of the pieces were missing, so be it. We just made do. Ah yes, a simple life.

Having enjoyed many visits to Goodwill may have been how I ended up in the business of Thrift Store Management, years later. Yes, before I got into the apartment management game, I spent some years as a thrift store manager. I ran a nonprofit while living in Imperial Beach, California and also had a very large main store for Salvation Army in San Diego. It does get in your blood.

One of the things that comes to mind while remembering those management days, you would not believe how many customers are in the store solely for the purpose of a huge find. Oh yes, there are many who are only looking for that one wall hanging or chair that is worth a fortune. They will often start in the knick-knack section. You will notice them turning each piece over to see the writing on the bottom of it. Of course the management/employees know nothing about antiques or names of famous painters.(Hah!) Heck, they could pay $1 for a Picasso. Who knows? I guess stranger things have happened.

While managing a Volunteers of America store in Washington state, I came across a really interesting find while going through a box of donations. There were several newspapers covered with clear cling-wrap stacked up. As I pulled the newspapers out one by one, I was taken back by the dates on them. They were from the beginning and the end of the war. Pictures on the front page of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They were original and in mint condition. I suppose they would have been quite valuable to a collector, but I just enjoyed reading the front pages and thinking about what it may have been like on the day those papers actually landed on someones front porch.

I am excited and looking forward to the grand opening in October. Just in time for some very cool Halloween costume hunting.

And who knows? Maybe a Picasso.