Yard sale features items weird and wonderful

July 05, 2005|by HEATHER KEELS


Many bargain hunters did a double take when they walked by Kelly Kline's yard sale stand Monday. For years, they'd been telling friends they could find "everything but the kitchen sink" at Hagerstown's annual Fourth of July Mile-Long Yard Sale, but there it was, leaning up against a pale blue $5 toilet - a kitchen sink.

It was a joke Kline heard dozens of times by 10 a.m., but she had to admit it was true: Shoppers could find just about anything at the massive yard sale, which spanned Paradise Drive, Woodhaven, Sharon Drive, Longridge, Paradise Church Drive and Longmeadow Road.

"You find everything from antiques to collectibles to weird people," seller Drista Stultz quipped, with a grin at Wally Reynolds, a 69-year old bicycle collector from Kearneysville, W.Va. Known by many as "The Pedal Peddler," Reynolds was eyeing a pair of 1940s bikes parked in Stultz's yard.


Stultz's mother, Marie Dahlhamer, helped start the yard sale 26 years ago, when the area was much less developed, and the tradition grew with the area, Stultz said.

"It did nothing but mushroom," she said. "You can spend the whole day here."

Though event coordinator Dick Strobl advertised the yard sale would begin at 7 a.m., Stultz said there was no formal sign-in process or registration, and vendors started setting up booths as early as 5:30 a.m., some even setting up shop the night before.

A couple of times over the years, Stultz said, neighbors have had to call the Maryland State Police to direct traffic, which tends to bottleneck when parked cars line both sides of the streets and the area fills with shoppers on foot, riding bikes and motorized scooters, and pulling wagons and carts with loads of yard-sale loot.

"People come from all over," Stultz said. "We have people who plan their vacations around it. I met someone once who had come from Alaska."

Though their 45-mile drive from Winchester, Va., wasn't quite a cross-country excursion, Charles Gates, 68, and his family were determined to make the most of their visit. Around 9 a.m., Gates was sitting in a lawn chair in the shade waiting for the others to return from taking their second load of the day to the truck, and they still weren't done shopping.

"You meet some awful nice people, and some not-so-nice people, of course," Gates said. "But all the people we've bought from today have been nice. That may be the reason we come back. That, and you find some really good buys."

Last year, Gates said, he found a leather Harley-Davidson jacket for $5 and bought it for a friend.

"We buy things for friends and we have friends who do the same for us," he said.

Carney Harrell, 82, of Williamsport, found a few treasures Monday, too. Harrell, a record collector, found two albums by the Reapers Trio, a group of local musicians who used to attend his church.

Meagan and Frank Yellott of Williamsport had been going to the yard sale for at least five years, but they said their best purchase to date was the wagon they bought last year, which they employed Monday as a shopping cart and as transportation for their 3-year-old son, Miles.

"It's a big-boy toy!" Miles said proudly, holding up a toy motorcycle purchased for 25 cents. For 21-year-old Meagan, the best buy was a set of baskets she hoped to use to decorate the house. For Frank, 23, a search for Coca-Cola collectibles had been mostly unsuccessful so far - $3,000 for a vintage Coke machine was a little out of his budget, he said. And for 4-month-old Brendan, the highlight of the day was a nap in a carrying pouch worn by Mom.

"We got him up at like 5:30 (a.m.)," Meagan explained. "We'll probably be here 'til lunchtime."

For other young moms like Sasha Rockwell, 18, of Chambersburg, Pa., the yard sale was a shopping mall-sized selection of bargain baby clothes. In two hours, Rockwell filled three grocery bags with clothes for 10-month-old Larae and spent only $7.

For previous owners, parting with the clothes sometimes was hard.

"All my memories for sale," moaned Kline, 37, as customers rummaged through hand-me-downs from her two children, ages 3 and 6. "This is the hard part, seeing all this go."

But go it did, and she's sure there will be plenty more to sell next year.

"When you have kids, you never run out of things to sell," she said.

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