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Bargains by the mile

July 06, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

The turnout was so huge for Monday's 25th annual Mile-Long (Plus) Yard sale that the Washington County Sheriff's Department was called out to manage the bumper-to-bumper traffic on Paradise Church and Longmeadow roads.

It looked a bit like an outdoor mall. Yards and driveways in surrounding neighborhoods were filled with clothing, furniture, antique collectibles, toys and other items.

Hundreds of Tri-State shoppers formed a steady stream along the roadside. They pushed baby carriages, wagons and shopping carts to haul an endless list of bargains ranging in price from a nickel for a cup to $450 for an Ethan Allen cabinet.

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As with any yard sale, the old cliche holds true - one man's junk is another man's treasure and many items came with an interesting story or two.

Kathy Grimsmann of Paradise Church Road sold Diane Steen a blue velvet dress for $7.

"Someone got engaged in that dress, a lot of stories in that dress," Grimsmann said.

For Steen, the size 14 dress was a reward for her recent weight loss.

"I lost 80 pounds," said Steen, in a soft but proud whisper.

She said she hopes to wear the dress for the holidays, if it's not to large. "I still have another 30 pounds to lose," she said.

There were Christmas decorations for sale as well as unused Christmas gifts, such as a brand new George Foreman Grill for $10.

The Mile-Long Yard Sale was started by residents on Paradise Church Road as a way to do spring cleaning, said residents Joanne and Fred Papa.

"I get to empty out the garage, so I can have a spot for the car," said Joanne Papa.

Since moving into the neighborhood four years ago, Yvonne and Troy Bell have invited family and friends to set up shop in their driveway.

Yvonne, who was up at 5:30 a.m., sold a lot of her kids' stuff as well as three women's Kasper suits for $3 each.

"If you don't set up to sell, you have to leave town," said Yvonne with a laugh.

Yvonne's sister, Vicky Forbes, came from Baltimore to sell items that used to belong to her mother.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world," she said.

In terms of weather, shoppers like Lawrence and Cheryl Gray of Brunswick, Md., said they couldn't have asked for a better day.

Lawrence Gray, who isn't particularly keen on yard sales, said he brought a bottle of Tylenol to cope with the demands of his wife Cheryl and his cousin Shawn Valentine of Hagerstown.

"We put him to work," Valentine said, " He carries the large stuff."

While most shoppers and sellers seemed to be pleased with the items offered and the day's profits, Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Jim Woods said the traffic flow didn't go as smoothly.

"It's been a morning of reasonably controlled chaos," Woods said.

Woods said he issued citations and called a tow truck to have an illegally parked SUV moved.

Woods said the sheriff's department received several complaints from homeowners who said people were parking in the road and creating traffic hazards.

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