Friday, July 31, 2009

World's Longest Yard Sale Here We Come!

I am very excited to be leaving on Tuesday for the World's Longest Yard Sale, also known as the 127 Yard Sale If you haven't been (or heard about it) it runs from the Michigan/Ohio border, down to Gadsden Alabama along Highway 127. My sister and I have been going to the sale for many years. We shop all day for 4 days, buying treasures, junk and everything in between. If you are planning on attending and have never been, or think you might want to go next year, read on.

First of all, you can't shop the entire route. It's impossible. Between the winding roads, the traffic and the shopping, there just isn't time. Even if you are a fast shopper (and my sister and I are fast shoppers) you'll be lucky to make it 1/3 of the way. There are too many places to stop and too much traffic. This is one of the trips where you need patience. Much of the route is a rural one lane each way road. The cars ahead of you are going to slow and sometimes stop in the middle of the road. If you are impatient or in a hurry, you're not going to have a good time.

Next, have reservations at least 5 months in advance! It never fails to amuse me when car after car pulls into a hotel along Highway 127 to see if there is a vacancy. There isn't. The rooms are filled and have been booked for many months. Why would you travel to the World's Longest Yard Sale without reservations? The nearest room is at least 100 miles away from the highway. Figure out in advance the route you plan to travel and book a room in the middle. We shop north of the hotel the first day and south the second day. We then change hotels and do the same for the remaining two days. This way we aren't back tracking and are able to cover more territory.

When you see something you it! Please DO NOT ask my sister how many times I have stood and thought about something, didn't buy it and then 2 hours later I'm upset and/or obsessed about it. We have backtracked, more times than I care to say, so that I could buy something that I saw earlier in the day. Sometimes it's still there, sometimes it is not, sometimes we can't even find the spot again. My sister will then say...."Why didn't you buy it when we were there?" I don't know. If I'm looking at something too long, she will say, "If you don't buy it, you'll obsess about it later." Of course I then reply, "No I won't", but alas, I do.

If you are not from the south or midwest, remember that it is going to be hot, humid and stormy. Be prepared for the humidity but also be prepared for the thunderstorms. Several years ago, we were at the Cumberland General Store at their tent city, when it began to rain, then pour. Then came the lightning. We ran under someone's canopy tent and the wind picked up. It was only after there was a lightning strike very nearby, that I looked around and saw several people, including my sister, holding down the metal poles of the canopy, in an attempt to be "helpful". Holding something metal during a lightning storm is probably a bad idea. Luckily no one was hurt.

Remember to enjoy the people, the scenery and the hunt! If you are going, remember to be careful out there. If you aren't going this year, stop back by for an update from the road. I'll be blogging about our adventures and even unusual finds!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My how times have changed!

If you read my last post, you know that I recently purchased a diary written by an unknown woman in 1952. I began browsing her entries last night and realized how much times have changed!

I have read large portions of my great grandmother's diary from the late 1800's, early 1900's. My great grandmother was a fantastic person and I have wonderful memories of her. She traveled from Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon, married and had 5 children on a ranch that she and her husband owned. Due to unusual circumstances, my great grandmother ended up running the ranch on her own. So as I began reading the diary, I expected all of the "feelings" and "emotions" you might think about in doing this, as a woman, in a time where women had no rights. You would be completely wrong. The diary outlines how many men she fed, how much crops were harvested and the costs of things. A typical entry: "10 men fed, half of the harvest done, 1 man dead, Dr visit $2." There was absolutely nothing about who died or why. Did she like this person? Was she sad? Did the man have a family? It's not that my great grandmother was cold or hard. In fact, she was quite the opposite. Another entry I recall: "Train to World's Fair $1. Lunch .10, souvenir .02." Did they have fun? What did they see? Who went with them? But for people of this era, things were just....different.

But 50 years later, it seems that not much had changed. This anonymous diary is very similar. "July 8, 1952: Sprayed dandilions here and at CR. Cut some of our lawn. Shower and some hail. hi 92. got haircut $1.15. Mr and Mrs. Haas of the Springs were here today" Who are the Haas'? Why were they there? Did they have a nice time? Did she like her haircut?

Today, we rely on feelings and emotions. Could you imagine spending time writing down the weather without how you felt about it? If I were the writer of my diary today the entry would look more like this: July 8, 2009: Worked on the yard until it began raining. Gosh, will the rain ever stop? It makes me so depressed to not be able to spend time in my garden. The hail was coming down and I had to run outside and make sure that I put the cars back in the garage so that they wouldn't get damaged. Since it was raining, I was glad that I had an appointment at the salon for a cut and color. Mandy did such a great job and my hair looks FABULOUS! Justin and Monica came over. I can't believe that they are still married! He is such a jerk! Why would she put up with him?

I guess somethings are better without the emotion.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Looking for your diary?

Most Saturday mornings, I am out and about town at different garage sales looking for good buys. It's an interesting treasure hunt. There are days when I fill my car and wish I had brought more money and my SUV. There are days when I wonder why I get out of bed and run around town with nothing to show for it. It's the hunt that keeps me going. I make my list of sales the night before, number the sales according to a rational route and put an asterisks by any sale that looks particularly appealing. I don't have a set list of items that I am looking for, just something that I like and at the right price. (As an aside, if you are selling your items at a retail price, call it a "store sale in my front yard" so that I know not to stop.)

In the past, I have bought all kinds of books. I am a book fanatic! My sister claims, that in the past, I have shoved her to the ground in order to get at the books. This is not exactly accurate. It was more of a polite push to one side. (She was in the way!) She does enjoy many of the books that I buy and there are times when I buy old yearbooks and we sit and look through them together. There have been yearbooks from the 1910's where someone has nicknamed everyone in the school, autographs and poems from students that make us think or laugh, or just interesting old ads. The yearbooks help pass the time if we are sitting at an antique show.

This last Saturday, I was at a garage sale when I noticed a box of miscellaneous photographs, scrapbooks and papers. I started to rummage through the box to see what I could find. There at the bottom was someones diary. It was in questionable condition with loose binding and someone had cut the lock open. I opened the diary and the first entry was from 1952 and goes through 1954. I got the attention of the "garage sale owner" and let her know that someones diary was in the box and suggested that she put it away before someone bought it. She said that they didn't want it and it was for sale for .50. What horrible person would buy and read someone else's personal diary? I guess that would be me! I bought the diary and intend to bring it to our next show.

If you're missing your diary with entries between 1952 and 1954, I have it. Your *insert relation that would sell your diary at a garage sale* sold it to me for 50 cents. I would be happy to sell it back to you, but only after I take a peek!