An urban phenomenon spreads over my Norwalk neighborhood in the spring, bringing many benedictions to the working class in my area.
People come out of their houses prepared to talk, barter, and deal with their neighbors. In the process, friendships are made and some rekindled. During this residential phenomenon, people leave their cars and opt to walk the blocks in the community. Many are working parents with their children in tow; the same children who are often seen outside without parental supervision in prior months.
The chime from the ice cream truck further rallies friends, acquaintances, and newcomers outdoors. The busy street noise takes on a festive ambience that seems to produce congeniality among the people.
Except for Christmas, more greetings are exchanged among these reacquainted neighbors on my street in May. What is it that comes over Norwalk neighborhoods that bring people together?
It is a blessing in disguise that we benignly call a “yard sale.”
Paul Britton, of Prudential California Realty, orchestrates participation and support for our successful yard sales.
Much can be learned about residents’ lifestyles when peering in to their open garage, as well as by rummaging through their mementos and perusing their books of choice that they put for sale.
My mother had a black belt in annual yard sale events. We each keep six or more Rubber Maid barrels in the garage to hold our yearly discards until the all-important yard sale weekend.
Humorous memories are made at yard sales that we talk about long after we count the quarters, nickels, and dimes that we’ve earned from selling our weary treasures.
My mother once bought a pair of sandals from a neighbor down the street for $2. By the time she walked back to her house she realized that the sandals were too tight on her feet, so like any “yard sale black belt” holder worth her title, she sold them to another neighbor for $4.
We still laugh about the time that I asked my husband to put whatever tools he did not want on the side of the house that I could sell at my yard sale. In no time I sold the old wooden, paint-splattered ladder that he left.
Just as the ladder’s new owner was carting it away, I heard my husband on the rooftop call out, “Hey, I need that!” I’m happy to report that monies from that yard sale went for new tri-fold aluminum ladder for my hubby.
During a heat wave, my adorably cute (then 5-year-old) grandson, Mosey, set up a lemonade stand at our yard sale. He sold his concoction at 25 cents a cup, netting him more profit than his mom, nana, and great-grandma combined at the end of the day; even though he would often abandon his store to go play in the kiddy plastic water-pool.
In this economy, yard sales have replaced sewing circles where blue-collar working people can commune with their neighbors and help each other and themselves out with reasonably priced items. Yard sales would make for an interesting study by a sociologist.
There are some downsides to yard sales, such as when relatives you don’t expect come by and see the gifts they have given to you being sold for a fraction of what they paid. For this reason, veteran yard sale virtuosos keep a large tablecloth handy to drop over the merchandise in question, before the original purchaser can spot them.
Whoever said, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” must have been talking about yard sales, because yard sales are a great way to recycle items that you no longer have use for. Castoffs do sell. Just ask any pack rat.
Yard sales can be therapeutic. Downsizing helps to make life more manageable, not to mention that you also make more room for “stuff” you accumulate for next year’s yard sale.
Spring brings flowers, blue skies and two more things, yard -sales, and camaraderie over Norwalk and that is the best kind of phenomenon.