Probably around the year 2000 or so, when I was living with the hair enthusiast and we were all about Ebay, there was this fabulous little shop in Portland, Oregon called Pilar’s Lemonade Stand. It had a lot of vintage and antiquey stuff, and some original art , a few medical curiosities like the cleared and stained rat- it was definitely a rather subversive, niche place that only a certain crowd would appreciate. Basically, it was full of weird shit.
One day I was in there with my boyfriend and we noticed this big bronze urn. It was obviously somebody’s loved one. Woah. What a strange thing to put in a shop for sale. Let alone at the bargain price of $80.00. The bronze alone might be worth more than that.
Kind of appalled, yet thoroughly intrigued, we inquired about the story…
Apparently, a mentally disturbed man was living in an apartment in Portland and just suddenly cleared out. Maybe he owed rent and couldn’t pay, details were unclear, but he left the apartment in a hurry, full of stuff. It sounded more like he left “trash”, than a fully intact apartment, but you have to wonder. Also though, it sounded like the guy was in bad shape mentally and may have been in a manic state leaving it, and would be hard to find. Anyhow, the landlord found the urn and tried to track the former tenant down to no avail. The guy had basically vanished. Somehow, as a result of the urn being left behind, it ended up at Pilar’s for sale for $80.00.
The thing weighs about twenty pounds. It’s super heavy. And here is the terrible part – we bought it.
Our thinking was that the guy abandoned it, and who does that (yes, I know, a mentally disturbed person)… But people had tried to find him, with no luck. The urn is inscribed with the name Holly Ann Robinson, born Dec 23, 1953, died on Nov 18, 1995. We did try the best we could to research her but came up with nothing.
And now the worst part – after not getting any information to get her to a family member, we listed the urn on ebay. I mean, just to see what would happen. It was listed for a total of about five hours before they took it down. We started the price at 80.00, and in five hours it got to over $ 1,000.00 with several days left to go on the auction. Ebay wrote and said they were removing the ad because you cannot sell human remains on their site. Even though we clearly specified in the ad that we had no idea what the urn contained, if anything at all.
So, after that, yeah, I’ve just been lugging around this urn for over 20 years not knowing quite what to do with it. Since it’s really heavy, I occasionally use it as a door stop in the summer, and I kind of feel shitty about that. I should shine it up. I feel like it could have ended up in worse places, but, yeah. At the same time I am not sure what I can really do. Every few years I go online to see if the internet has improved my chances of finding Holly Ann, but to no luck.