I was visiting my parents in Berkeley over the weekend, so I had to check out a few yard sales down there. (How could I not? This, after all, is where one of my all-time favorite wacky items was spotted.) My mom was up for it, and my husband came along too — a rare event, probably mainly due to our promise that we could head straight to the ad which promised “vintage records.” (Unfortunately, they turned out to be nothing special.)
The day was gorgeous and sunny, which was quite a thrill after all of the messed-up weather we’ve been having in Seattle. I’d made a list of sales and we made the rounds. There was one that we couldn’t find at first, until we saw their sign: “Fun Yard In Back!” Unfortunately, the yard was not fun at all: tiny and crowded with the worst junk ever and a jug of “free mango sun tea.” Ack! It was here that my husband said, “You know, one man’s trash is not always another man’s treasure.”
Next was a small sale featuring mainly tapes, CDs, and wacky hats. The guy announced cheerily, “This is a foreclosure sale!” I thought he was oddly perky for someone dealing with a foreclosure, but it turned out it was his landlord – he’d just moved in a couple months back, then found a notice on the door and had to get out. He then told us about his landlord supposedly trying to kill himself. “Anyway, look around,” he continued. “I’m a six-time Burner, so I’m selling some of my outfits …” Aha, that explained the hats: relics of many years of Burning Man adventures. My husband asked if he had any LPs and the guy shook his head regretfully. “Typical story,” he said, and I expected to hear how he sold them to get CDs instead … but no. He had visited a friend in Santa Cruz, left them there, and never saw them again. This was all kind of entertaining but also way too much information. I was hoping there was something there I wanted, since he seemed nice, but we left without buying anything.
We went on to a few more duds. Really, most of the stuff was kind of like this.
I was excited to go to this one sale that had a ton of signs up advertising its hugeness … I found nothing there, though. But dig that sun! I wasn’t complaining.
After a quick stop at La Farine bakery for morning buns (a pastry which is tragically unknown in Seattle), we continued on to a few more sales. The last one was a little ways up in the Berkeley hills. The house was huge and looked oddly like a German chalet. Their ad called it an “exotic tribal sale,” and they did have a lot of clothes and art objects from all around the world. But as exotic as their taste may have been, they were not so cultured as to have been able to avoid owning a Big Mouth Billy Bass.
I bought one 1970’s shirt here (made in France for Saks Fifth Avenue!) that I thought might fit one of my sisters, but they both rejected it. So it was basically a fruitless day for me. However, my mom picked up a few utilitarian items, and my husband snagged a great kid’s accordion for $2 which was a big hit with our daughter. But all in all, the best thing about the day was just cruising around town in the sun with my mom and husband for a few hours. And of course, eating that delicious morning bun.