THIS WEEK'S FEATURE ARTICLES
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Treasures at the Geeveston op shop
Here we are – almost the end of the year, when events suddenly crowd in together. Haven Valley Projects Opportunity Shop at the Geeveston Primary School is approaching Christmas with bargains and value in mind. Already this year they have participated in the Garage Sale Trail, with some of the very best sales happening across Australia on 11-12 and 18-19 November. I asked manager of Haven Valley Projects, Juarne Lovell, what was the Garage Sale Trail Weekend all about? Mrs Lovell outlined how it is a good way to get prepared for the coming Christmas season. “We do the trail every year and have a large sale with all the extra and special items that we have in storage, as well as the start of our Christmas gifts that we do. We also have some other people who come along and have a stall as well, including plants, clothing and gifts. We advertise leading up to the day along with others who register for the trail. On the day you can follow or track the sales in your local area. When there are leftover or excess goods, generally, people will donate these to the local op shops. When we participate in the trail, we get a number of customers through and then the following couple of days we get quite a few donations through.” Mrs Lovell also explained: “Our day coincided with the Huon and Kingston FM 40 Year Birthday Celebrations, held on site at the school in School Road Geeveston. We had some garage sale trail followers as well as people heading to that event. It was a super busy day with around eight loads of donations coming in and well over 50 customers through. It’s important, as it’s a great way to promote our little shop, and generate returning customers, which is great.”
Passing it on, paying it forward
The community benefits in many ways, both public and personal benefit, by: value adding, sustainability, keeping still valuable and useful products out of landfill and reducing waste, saving money while recycling, supporting community and small business and further spreading the idea of affordability, while saving money. Along with the big bonus of sustainability, what’s not to love? I asked Juarne Lovell about Haven Valley Projects: “We are a small business. We support local community groups, sporting clubs, schools and families and individuals in need. We also have connections with Huon Valley Domestic Violence Service, GECO, Geeveston Child and Family Centre, ‘Geeveston Cares’ and local schools. We offer financial as well as material support whenever there is a need. We provide clothing, household items, petrol and food vouchers, and purchase local produce and gift vouchers from local businesses to support fundraisers in the valley. I love the idea of our money going back into our communities and local businesses. We are excited to be able to sponsor Huonville Bulls Cricket Club as well as the University Devils this year. There are so many other things we have sponsored this year – too many to list. The Op Shop has become such a beautiful place for affordable clothing, bric-a-brac, gifts and all sorts, and a place to be connected and feel welcome, and know that whether you’re a customer or someone who sends in donations, you will find that, because of you, we are able to support so many different things, as well as people in our Valley.”
Belonging to your local community and spreading the love
Mrs Lovell and volunteers at the Haven Valley Projects Op Shop are obviously committed to the idea of keeping goods and items in circulation and in helping the local community. Here is some advice for those who want to be involved, at any or all levels of the “pre-loved” chain, with garage sales and op shops. Mrs Lovell again: “I have some wonderful volunteers here and without them I wouldn’t be able to keep up. The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes is incredible. The garage sale trail requires all hands-on deck, each year, to set up and pack up. My volunteers love being in here and have a great connection with our customers. It’s a lovely way to be involved in the community.”
Quality control of items
Over the years we have put in place some guidelines around what we can and can’t accept. Generally, we can accept most items in good clean condition. Some specific items we don’t take: mattresses; broken, mouldy or out-of-date baby items; and printers. We can’t take larger furniture items, but people will often give us a call and we work with the local school, Geeveston Cares and wayraperattee, to find a family that might be in need. We have to pay for our own rubbish removal, so we ask people to be mindful about what is and isn’t rubbish. Mostly we get wonderful donations through and are very grateful. We love what we get to do through the Geeveston Op Shop. Although it’s a lot of work, it’s never a chore.”
Haven Valley Projects Opportunity Shop in Geeveston can be contacted through Facebook.
From the distant past
Does a name ever suddenly pop up that takes you back to a distant time? This happened to me recently when the name Pearl Buck was mentioned.
Although she died in 1973, suddenly the past came back to life and I found myself reading her bestselling book and felt like I was in China with her! That country has always fascinated me, though for one reason or another, I never actually visited.
Pearl Buck was not the only one to spark an interest in China in my youth. On one occasion I heard Glady’s Alward speak in the Royal Albert Hall – she was the real person behind the film The Inn Of the Sixth Happiness – another oldie!
Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker Buck’s parents, Absalom and Caroline Stulting Sydenstricker, were missionaries in China. Pearl was born while they were home on leave in the USA. Caroline had lost three children in China, so Pearl’s birth was a comfort to her family – hence her middle name. The Sydenstricker family returned to China when Pearl was three months old, and she was educated by her mother and a Chinese tutor. Bilingual, she began writing at an early age thanks to the insistence of her mother. She published her first work at the age of six in a children’s edition of an English language newspaper in China.
After marrying John Lossing Buck, an agricultural missionary, in 1917, they lived in northern China for several years and it was during this time that Pearl witnessed the difficult lives of Chinese peasants. This would eventually be the basis for The Good Earth series. The books I remember reading.
Pearl and Lossing’s daughter Carol was born in China in 1920. After her birth, Pearl found that she would never be able to have more biological children. This was especially disappointing when it was discovered that Carol had developmental problems – at a time when these were not talked about but rather hidden away. The couple soon adopted six other needy children, the adoption habit that would continue for her whole life.
In 1927-28, Pearl Buck was living in Shanghai, and she was very understandably unhappy. Earlier that year, they had been forced to evacuate their home in Nanking after the ‘Nanking Incident’, among those targeted were white foreigners, and the Buck’s home was destroyed. She had just completed the manuscript of her first novel, working in her own private space in the attic, the only copy was destroyed by looters, but she continued writing.
In 1929, Pearl took Carol back to America to find her much needed long-term care. Touring institutions depressed Pearl and although she found a place she liked, she said that leaving Carol was the hardest thing she did in her life. With her first marriage failing she realised that she had to figure out a way to provide for Carol. So, she returned to writing, not out of passion but as a way to earn money. Even without the ‘passion’ it seemed to work because The Good Earth sold nearly 2 million copies in its first year of publication and was the best-selling book of 1931 and 1932. The book is a historical fiction dramatising family life in a 20th-century Chinese village in Anhwei. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1932.
She earned more than $100,000 dollars in a year and a half, putting $40,000 aside for Carol’s care.
In 1938, Pearl S. Buck was again honoured, this time with the Nobel Prize for Literature for her book The Good Earth and for her biographies of her parents. She was one of only two American women to win the Nobel Prize for Literature at that time.
Pearl Buck was an outspoken advocate of women’s rights and the civil rights movement long before it was fashionable. Her early experiences of being in a minority in China gave her a perspective that most people did not have.
In 1950, Pearl Buck wrote The Child Who Never Grew, about her experiences with her own biological daughter Carol, where mental retardation was discussed openly. It was one of the first books to tackle the subject, and helped demolish the cruel taboos surrounding learning disabilities. Pearl Buck was a champion for the developmentally disabled.
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