Letters From The Time Traveler: When You Die, What Are You Leaving Behind For Your Relatives To Find?

5 min readDec 2, 2023

The Dead Tell No Tales. Or Do They?

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The stuff we leave behind can tell more about who we are than what we share in life.

My friend Bart* lived a quiet, secretive type life. He was a bachelor his entire life, saying he just never met the right girl. He ran an antiques store and collected all kinds of items.

Many of the items he collected never made it to his shop. It was put on display in his home.

I would normally visit him during the holidays. He was a hoarder and his house wasn’t always in the greatest shape. But he always had very interesting things on display.

He had always had chronic health problems and we kind of excused his slovenly behavior. He still was a kind person and very fun to be around.

One day we were visiting and he brought out a chest that I had always noticed. It was a very pretty, solid cherry with some carved inlays.

He explained the chest came from an estate of an old woman. The chest had been in her family for over 150 years. He could never part with it, he had a strange attachment to it.

Minnie was her name and she had been a regular customer to Bart’s shop before she fell ill.

One day she brought in the chest. Bart started to give her a price and she said, no, it’s a gift.

He was not used to people giving him gifts. He was taken aback and asked if she was sure. He knew he could get a good price for it.

She explained he had been a good friend over the years and kept an old woman from getting lonely. Bart gladly took the gift and brought it home.

He brought it home that day and tried to open it. The lock wouldn’t budge, It was rusted shut. He must have tried every kind of tool in his basement, but nothing worked.

He called Minnie’s home to ask if she had the key. A brusk man answered the phone and explained Minnie had passed. Bart decided to forget about asking for the key until another time.




New England born- now living in the Midwest. Blogger, author, influencer, history addict and genealogist in training