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May is a busy month for the Manor Richard Pena | Sat, Apr 23 2011 12:00 PM

It was the late sportscaster Curt Gowdy who coined the phrase "the granddaddy of them all," a saying that I have borrowed a few times in the past.

Gowdy was, if you recall, referring to the classic Rose Bowl game in Pasadena on New Year 's Day. I was referring to the less classy, but just as important Sweetwater Manor garage sale in the early spring.

I was speaking to the head honchos of this affair, two of the hill's longtime denizens, Evelyn Adams and Bea Baumann, the other day and they reminded me that this was the 26th time that the hill has hosted the event.

It was in the early 1980s that another hill resident, Nancy Parchman, got the idea for a huge garage sale. In its early days it had a huge following. Nearly all of the 80 houses on the hill had some sort of display in their driveway or yard, goods ranging all the way from baby clothing to hot tamales.

To be more exact it was more of a social event than a fund raising venue. Each resident, it seemed, had a turn about the streets of the manor, some buying an item or two, but mostly just passing the time of day with a neighbor that he probably hadn't seen since last year's sale. The standard joke being circulated was that one had to buy something so he would have something to sell next year.

This year the sale is set for May 14. In the early morning on that day, those of us trying to sleep in will be awakened by the unusual sounds of trucks with diesels, and other vehicles, jockeying for position around the Manor's streets.

Most of the sales displays will be out in front, the eager sellers putting out their wares the evening before. The one way signs will be up for everyone to ignore and the shopping masses will be circling the hill vying for that early-bird buy. At least that's the way it has been in the other 25 sales the hill has had.

And why shouldn't this be any different.

Sweetwater Manor, you know, has been around a long time. There are some that might say that it is a gated community. While it is true that there is not an actual gate at the entrance - you know, an entrance that has one of those things that look like a telephone dial where one punches in a secret code to gain entry.

You come in on Margaret Street and if you wish to leave you have to once more get on Margaret. Some of the literature tells us that subdivisions first came into existence in the valley in the 1950s. Actually, Sweetwater Manor was long before that. In 1926 a fellow named Anderson bought property on the hill, hauled in a few houses from Spring Valley, set them on foundations and the manor was born. And then probably to keep peace in the clan he named the streets after the female side of the family and that was that.

He, of course, named the main street after himself. By the way, I live on Sunnyside Drive. How it got its name is not known. I don't think he had a daughter by that name; at least, I hope not.

To my way of thinking the most positive part of living in the manor is that nearly everyone has a view of Mount Miguel. He or she might have to peer around someone's house or an outbuilding but it would not be too long before he saw the mountain, usually in its majestic splendor, but sometimes shrouded in low lying cumulus.

We have seen the mountain in all sorts of situations. The most fearful was one morning at about four o'clock when we went out on the street and saw a ring of fire working its way down from the top. We dreaded the impending evacuation. But the mountain, as usual, was kind to us. The fire died out and our fears were unfounded.

So for the shoppers on the hill on May 14 may your purchases be fruitful and may your sales be gainful.

But if neither of these comes to pass take solace in the fact that you can see the mountain and you are in one of the most pleasant places in the valley.

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