WILLOWBROOK – With 10 years under their belts, there isn’t much Sam and Gail Schick haven’t seen while sorting through junk and cleaning out homes in the southwest Chicago area. The items that stand out range from the gross to the weird to treasures that are now in museums.
1. A chihuahua
Left behind: Some home owners who were moving out of state left behind their chihuahua because they didn’t know what to do with their dog. Luckily, Sam and Gail are dog lovers and took the little guy to a no-kill center.
Quote of note: “I couldn’t just leave him behind,” Sam said.
2. 49 Tiffany-style lamps
Left behind: A homeowner had a collection of Tiffany-style lamps that looked like the lighting department of a Menard’s hardware store.
Quote of note: “They collected them and they had to downsize the collection,” Gail said.
Left behind: Cleaning out a garage in Hinsdale, Sam found nautical gear from a 1924 Ludington, Mich. ferry, which he later took to the Ludington Maritime Museum.
Quote of note: “I’m looking at this stuff and I’m thinking this has to have some historical value to someone,” Sam said.
4. The gross
Left behind: Gail worked on a job in Orland Park that required removing about 49 truckloads from a 3,000 square-foot home. The house was covered in black mold, rotting food, animal waste and there was a 1957 MG parked in the basement.
5. Personal history
Left behind: While looking through the back of a truck years ago, Sam discovered a framed newspaper article from Dec. 11, 1941, that discussed six Chicago men killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor; one of which was his uncle.
Quote of note: “Now what are the odds that I’m going to be walking to the back of my truck, searching, sorting through stuff and I find this in the back of a truck?” Sam asked.