The streets and drives of Sweetwater Manor are probably the least used avenues in the entire South Bay, certainly in the Sweetwater Valley. The only time large trucks traverse these streets is on trash day, and that is just for a bare period of time. Things are going to change.
On Saturday, May 19 the traffic jams will be starting up at first light, as they say in the Westerns. Sweetwater Manor will be observing its annual neighborhood garage sale.
For the 28th time many of the 80 or so residences on the hill will be putting out those goodies and other housewares that have been gathering dust for a year or so, for the benefit of someone who has been “looking for something like that for ages.”
I was speaking with Bea Baumann the other day and asked her if there is anything new in this year’s sale. Bea, along with her partner, Evelyn Adams, will be chairing the affair. They have had this task for the past few years and it looks like they will have it for many more. The garage sale, as we have noted in previous years, has grown to the point that it has the distinction of being an institution. Nothing new, says the genial Baumann. And she is right. How do you improve on a near-perfect thing?
We were around for the very first one. A long time denizen of the hill, Nancy Parchman was the catalyst behind that initial sale. She, at that time, lived with her parents, Betty and the late Jim Parchman, and she thought that the garage sale would be a good way of getting to know one’s neighbors. And she was right. As was the custom then, and, I dare say, today the resident of the Manor will slip out of his or her chair and will take that leisurely stroll around the hill with the intentions of being neighborly. And who knows? He or she is liable to find that gadget that he has “been looking for all year.”
We must remember that this type of sale, regardless of whether its title is garage sale or yard sale, or sidewalk sale is strictly an American way of marketing. There is nothing in the literature that makes us believe otherwise.
Even those with the lofty title of “estate sale” are nothing more than the common garage sale, perhaps with merchandise not found in the basement but the sales are the same as the others.
We recall that there were some years when the Manor’s garage sale was a bit more than that. The selling activity would culminate sometime in the afternoon and then the participants would meet at one of the residences for a pot luck type of repast.
I recall having some of these socials at the home of Josie and Marty Keller, who have since moved to Arizona. Keller would build and furnish the fire and the participants would bring their own main course. The latter could consist of anything from a filet mignon to the lowly hot dog. Keller would supply his version of barbecued beans
I never could understand how one could barbecue beans but Keller said so. And who were we to argue? The potluck was discontinued a few years ago.
But the selling of garage goodies continues. Most of the customers consist of those semi-pros who will turn around and sell some newly acquired item for, perhaps, a handsome profit. And then there are the residents of the hill who will find something he needs at his neighbor’s house and will buy it.
It is something that he badly requires. After all, he needs something to sell next year. Can’t afford to let this tradition die out.