Purell for the soul

Posted by Jenny in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 8 Comments

It was pretty nice out last Saturday, and there were tons of sales listed! Naturally our first stop had to be the neighborhood sale that I had steered Meghan towards last time, not realizing that it was happening THIS weekend. Sure enough, this time it was ON.

The first sale of the day

The first sale we hit looked really promising. I was dismayed to see a guy who’d already pulled out a huge stack of books. Did he snag all the good stuff?

Book stacker

I glanced at his pile and was kind of relieved to find nothing I wanted in there. I dug through the rest, and it seemed like there would be something, but yet … nothing tempted me. However, Meghan headed to the upper level and grabbed about six or seven hardcover design books for about a buck each. Nice! We kept meandering through the neighborhood.

Pottery garage sale

Let me state that it was freakishly windy. At this sale a clothes rack almost blew over and knocked me down. Things were flying off the tables!

Table at the neighborhood sale

After hitting everything in that neighborhood, we moved on to a few sales nearby. The ad for this one had seemed promising, mentioning vintage items. They definitely had a lot of stuff.

Boxes and misc

Smaller items were set out in bins that were a complete mix of items. Vintage sectioned plate? Kewpie doll? White plastic football? Red Skelton VHS tapes?

Bin of odd items

The next bin was even more baffling: a stack of 8-track tapes labeled “parts only.”

Parts Only

While I was pondering whether there was some market for 8-track parts that I had been unaware of, Meghan pointed out this wacky item that looked like a burlap sack with a fluffy cat’s tail poking out of it. “Smack it on the table!” the seller called to us. We did so … and decided it was video time.

Neither of us brought that home, but Meghan grabbed some vintage dinerware with a Shriner motif. (Hey, that rhymes! Shriner-diner!)

We had two choices of where to go next. A cluster of sales in another neighborhood, or two sales that were closer, but in the opposite direction. We decided to hit the two sales, making our first stop at what was billed as a 7-room estate sale.

Spinny-flower estate sale sign

They had a list of rules posted prominently at the door, with a kid selling treats nearby. (I purchased a donut-hole-on-a-stick for a quarter.)

Estate sale rules

Once inside, the first thing we saw was what Meghan referred to as the “Instant Bauer collection.” If you wanted to spend some money, that is.

Instant Bauer collection

There was a decent amount of stuff there. Some of it was kind of classy and antique-y …

Oval framed portrait

… and some of it was not.

Body Jam

We both felt like there might be some good clothes somewhere in the closet, but it was a bust.

Closet of crappy clothes

And this huge vintage poster was awesome, but $1100? Who’s going to walk into a sale and drop that?

Ginormous poster

The second sale on this street had a ton of new clothes, some with tags still on. Most of it was sportswear, or at least sporty.

Sporty sale

By this time the wind was really picking up. After Meghan asked the price of a jacket and it was $35, I decided to go wait in the car, thinking to myself that $35 is not an acceptable answer when asking the price of a jacket at a yard sale … only to have Meghan come over a few minutes later asking to borrow some cash. She was purchasing the jacket, which turned out to be some super high end thing I’d never heard of, and a pair of compression pants, which is also something I’ve never heard of but apparently they are really expensive.

Meghan was talking excitedly about her purchases as she got back into the car and tried to start it up … only to have it do nothing. Which had happened to us last time we were making the rounds! Apparently, her car doesn’t always feel like starting up, but only when we are going to yard sales; it had been fine all week. After several attempts and curse words, the car finally managed to start, and off we went. We spotted a sign for a sale in what we usually refer to as “No-Sidewalk-Land” (or occasionally just “scary”) but for some reason, we decided to go. Little did we realize that we were headed to a sale across from a cemetery. Yes, the cemetery that we accidentally drove into while hitting sales a couple years back. Let’s revisit that magic moment:

On the way to the next sale we had something happen that I can seriously tell you has never happened before: I accidentally drove into a cemetery. I know what you are thinking — “HOW???” This cemetery is very small and older, so there are no huge signs out front. It also has a small street that runs along one side, so when I whipped into the cemetery I thought I was on that street. Both of started cracking up at how absurd this was. I do some pretty crazy driving on occasion, but this took the cake.

This time we managed not to drive into the cemetery, but when we saw the actual sale … we were still frightened.

Scary sale across from cemetery

We decided we had to venture in, just for blogging purposes. But since it wasn’t really a place you’d want to be stuck if the car really crapped out, we did so while leaving the car running. Classy, right?

This sale … I’m not sure I can convey how strange it really was. We walked through a gate, alongside that tarp-covered trailer, between tables laid out with all manner of items that seemed to have spent several decades boxed up in a damp garage. There were cats lying around on the astroturf-like material that covered the walkway. I sort of felt like I didn’t want to touch anything and there was definitely a bit of meth-head vibe going on. Just when I was getting ready to turn around and leave, Meghan nudged me. “Did you see that leg?”

What? A leg? Yes, a prosthetic leg, propped up on a table. It looked like it had seen better days. Meghan asked about it and the woman said, “That’s my daughter’s old leg! She outgrew it.” The daughter, who was sitting behind a cashbox, nodded at us. The woman added that ten percent of all sales would be used to buy her new shoes.

We pretended to look around a bit more and I knew Meghan was going through the same thought process that I was: trying to figure out how to take a picture without it being too strange, but eventually accepting the fact that there was no way and regretfully giving up. On the way out I spotted some colored paper signs, cut in little starburst shapes and taped up to the trailer like little advertisements and notices. Again, I could not manage a picture, but the ones that I remember said: “Used Broken Computers — ASK!” “10% of all proceeds used for orthopedic shoes!” and finally “SMILE, YOU’RE ON CAMERA!!!”

We jumped into the still-running car and sped away from that insanity. Meghan made a comment about how she needed some Purell, and I was confused since I didn’t think she had touched anything there, either … until she clarified that what she wanted was Purell for her soul.

We spotted a sign for a “G Sale” — I always find this entertaining.

G Sale (with lone balloon)

When we got there, they’d boiled it down to one letter. NO MESSING AROUND.

G

We didn’t buy anything, and this being closer to home (AND NOT ACROSS FROM A FREAKIN’ CEMETERY) Meghan had actually turned her car off … when it again failed to start until six or seven tries in, we detoured back to Meghan’s house and switched to my car. Meghan is not a fan of reading while driving (and I’m not sure she could really decipher the handwriting on my scrawled list) so I let her drive. Our next stop Meghan immediately recognized as the house where, at a sale long ago, a kid had done card tricks for us.

Returning to the scene of the yard sale

Thanks to the magic of having blogged for so long, I can tell you that this was nearly five years ago (and that we’d been at yet another sale there before that).

Our next stop was a house where I’d been to a sale years before and picked up a working ’70s Technics turntable for $5. Unfortunately, there was nothing I wanted to buy this time around, but there was a grade-school boy who shouted, “Card tricks! Twenty-five cents!” I made Karl give him a quarter and he proceeded to do a very long trick in which he repeatedly asked, “Um … is this your card?” We felt bad that he seemed to be screwing it up, but it turned out to be an elaborate setup for a grand finale where the right card was revealed.

The kid was nowhere in sight (probably a surly teen by now) but Meghan mentioned this to the guy having the sale, who didn’t seem to remember the particular incident but said he knew who the kid must have been. Just as we were about to leave empty-handed, Meghan spotted this odd but sort of cool brown ceramic thing — like a square plank with a grid pattern. It was marked “Carmel Kiln Company” and the seller said he didn’t know what it was for, but his mother used to have it hanging on the wall. She decided to purchase it and by the time she got in the car I’d searched on my phone and discovered that it was for meant for baking bread on, the squares meant for measuring out rolls. Who knew?

We headed across town to a basement sale. This was in a building I’ve driven past many times, which is partially covered with an aquatic animal mural. I had never been inside, or planned to, but I guess it was my lucky day.

Basement sale entrance

The seller had thoughtfully provided entertainment by means of a TV that was playing West Side Story. She told us that some earlier shoppers had hung out watching it for a while.

Basement sale entertainment

I spotted this item, which I had never before imagined existed … the Mr. Potato Head Massager.

Mr. Potato Head Massager

Again, we left empty-handed. The day had started off so promising! Had the leg sale jinxed us? Or was it switching cars? Who knows, but we determinedly headed to the final sale on our list, another estate sale. The first thing I saw was an odd fake metal dog thing that plugged in … I couldn’t figure out what it actually did when you plugged it. There was a small area that might have been a light, but the people running the sale said they’d tried it and whatever it used to do, it didn’t do any more. Oh well. Meghan was laughing about this calendar, where the days and year had been altered in order to count down to the sale weekend.

Estate sale calendar

Then we spotted these great Halloween masks! We agreed that they were cool, but not ten-dollars-cool (just take-a-picture cool).

Awesome Halloween Masks

These guys were also take-a-picture-cool, or maybe that should just be take-a-picture-weird.

Googly eyed hairy doll things

I spotted the second oval-framed portrait of the day — this one wasn’t for sale.

Not 4 Sale

We meandered through the house and all of a sudden were led into a blue-shag-carpeted, metallic-wallpapered nook, complete with bunny cut-out — it felt a bit David Lynchian.

Odd corridor

On the other side of this was a bedroom which contained a selection of terrible clothes. We dubbed this “Grandma’s ’80s Closet.”

Grandma's '80s closet

Many of them still had tags, or were wrapped in plastic. (See? David Lynch! Okay, that’s a stretch.)

Haband!

What is “Haband!”? Does that mean “Unwanted Sweater!” in some foreign language?

Finally, we entered … the doll room.

The room of dolls

I think that mirrored wall just adds to the insanity. Doll overload! Along with some stuffed animals and … hey, what’s this?

Mr. Flashmore Jr.

It looks like a little stuffed flasher guy, right? Dare I look and see what he’s packing under that trenchcoat? Um, you know it …

Inside Mr. Flashmore's Coat

While I appreciated how awesomely demented this thing is, even more so after reading the label and discovering his name is “Mr. Flashmore Jr.”, I decided against actually bringing him home.

In the end, it wasn’t the most bountiful day, but it wasn’t bad.

Junk In My Trunk 4-27-13

8 Responses to Purell for the soul

  1. Mattie says:

    This has to be one of your best adventures ever – weirdness from beginning to end! Personally, I’d love to go to a yard sale next to a cemetery (I love cemeteries) and I’d buy the prosthetic leg for an art project. The David Lynch room…the thousand-dollar poster…the basement sale with an arrow pointing UP some stairs…Mr. Flashmore, Jr….it’s all fantastic. Oh, and I’d wear that pale-green Haband sweater.

  2. AD says:

    “Haband” is a mail-order clothing company. A lot of what they sell is targeted for the Senior Citizen crowd (shoes that close with Velcro, pants with an ‘easy side-snap waist’). Once you get on their mailing list, you can never get off. And returns are a b*tch. My grandmother bought from there occasionally. It was more trouble than it was worth. Five years after she passed away, she was STILL getting catalogs from them.

  3. Shannon in s..e. Michigan says:

    Hi. the “Haband” name on the clothes is that: a clothing company, selling out of catalogs. it angles for 30 yr olds and up . Love this blog.

  4. Melissa says:

    I live on a hill with THREE CEMETERIES on it, and you just ought to see the insane yard sale activity on Memorial Day weekend! It’s like a gigantic festival up here: hundreds of cars, cops directing traffic, us trapped in our house because of all the congestion…. urgh.

    Anyway, I would have jumped on some of those Bauer bowls, even at that price. But that’s just me. Those 2 books you’ve got in the trunk pic are cracking me up.

  5. Wendy says:

    “Better Living Through Plastic Explosives”????

  6. Yay, fun to see an Australian book in the trunk shot 🙂

  7. Pat says:

    Haband advertises in the back of Parade in the Sunday paper. When my husband was in college, he told his dad he needed some new pants, and instead of sending him cash to buy some, he ordered these pants from Haband. When they arrived, he looked at them and thought they were pretty strange but tried them on. The crotch came down halfway to his knees! His roommate thought they were hysterical and said they looked like something Khrushchev would wear so they became “Khrushchev pants”. Odd clothes on anyone still get the Khrushchev pants reference. As a result, I always look at the Haband ads to see what old man pants they are selling now. They sell particularly Khrushchev-like Velcro shoes. Some dumb stuff never gets old.

    And his dad never lived it down.

  8. Sarah says:

    Catching up on your blog & I can’t believe neither of you bought Mr. Flashman! For two dollars?! I’m keeping my eyes peeled for one–perfect white elephant gift!