Date:         Wed, 11 Sep 1996 23:01:15 EST
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMAMYS 1
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


1)  So, the MEotM piled all her <stuff> that would not fit on the 2
14 foot trucks on the front porch, in the exact spot where the pre-
June pile had been before her ex-MotM gave it away to Goodwill, thus
bringing down upon himself the wrath of what was once Czechoslovakia,
and endangering the existence of all his wardrobe closeted away in
the Manor, the wardrobe that was in danger of being donated--rather
returned--by the irate ex-spouse to the Salvation Army, the Goodwill,
and the American Way.  Her plans to have a yard sale went awry and
she departed, yelling as she went: "Sell it, Give it away, Dump it,
or Stuff it: I don't care, Goodbye."  So, I decide to sell it, along
with various accumulations for which I was responsible over the past
12 years or so.

2)  The Thursday before the planned sale, I phone the N&O and find
out I have missed the deadline for Friday and the ad will have to
appear on Saturday morning.  Killer ad:  "Strange and Wonderful
Things at Never Before Heard Of Prices.... etc ... etc...."  Who
could resist.  I spend all Thursday and Friday sorting out the goods,
putting 25 cent items in one pile, 50 cent items in another, $1 in
another and $3 in another.  Then I hit the KMart to get little
colored dots and make a huge sign indicating Yellow means 25 cents,
Green means 50 cents, Red means $1 and Blue means $3.  What fun.

3)  I go to the bank and withdraw $350, $100 in ones, $50 in fives,
$50 in tens, $100 in twenties, and $50 in quarters, please.  I have
thought of everything.  This is really fun.

4)  I stay up all night Friday putting things out all over my front
lawn, getting ready for the onslaught of early-birds at daybreak...
At 4:30 a.m. the newspaper hits the porch.  I rush to the light and
look in the Classifieds:  My ad is *not* there.  I can't believe it.
I run my fingers over the page, feeling for it.  It is *not* there.
What am I to do?  My yard is covered with nicely priced merchandise,
and there will be no customers.

Date:         Wed, 11 Sep 1996 23:20:36 EST
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMAMYS 2
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


5)  I take the situation in hand.  It is 4:45 a.m. and I go to
Kinko's armed with a notice, in HUGE word-perfect letters:  KILLER
YARD SALE... etc....  I make sixty copies and drive all over the
western part of town tacking these notices to every available
telephone pole, ignoring the frequent appearances of police cars
driving by slowly to see what this person with a staple gun in his
hand could be doing at 5 a.m.

6)  I return and decide I havent done enough.  Make 30 more copies
and check the Yard Sale list and head for the vicinity of every yard
sale within miles and tack up notices to get their customers to head
for Woodburn Road, where the *real* bargains are.  Then I come home
and sit and wait.

7)  8:30 a.m. and still no one.  Then they start to arrive, singly or
in pairs, then groups, and it continues until 5 p.m.  I tell the
story repeatedly of the newspaper that failed to print my ad.  It is
a party atmosphere.  I meet neighbors I've never seen before.  I
explain why I am selling out.  I tell stories about my ungrateful
wife who up and left me with all this stuff.  I bargain, I watch
people pass up incredible treasures because they have a green dot
instead of a yellow one.  I keep a list of every quarter I earn....

8)  3:00 p.m., I call the N&O and try to maintain my composure while
I complain.  Oh, what a shame, she says, the woman who took your ad
set it to run on Sunday.  That's nice, I say, the ad says the sale is
on Saturday.  That is a problem, the woman concedes, then assures me
that I dont have to pay for the ad.  How nice, I say, I dont have to
pay for the ad that doesnt do me any good anyway.  How about next
time?  Yes, she says, when you repeat the sale, we will give you a
free ad.  How nice, I think, how much is that going to cost you?  Oh
well, I'm having fun anyway so I won't give you a hard time, thank
you very much, goodbye, you'll hear from me in a couple of weeks.

9)  A couple show up speaking Spanish.  So I start talking to them in
Spanish.  The woman is very shy, but the man engages me in a long
conversation, not showing any surprise that I can speak his language,
while his wife checks out the various half used pieces of make-up and
toiletries in the box marked with a yellow dot.  They leave without
buying anything.

10)  5 p.m. and I total my list:  $300.  Not bad, considering
that I have sold almost nothing that cost over $3.  Not bad at all.
Now what do I do about the ad that comes out tomorrow?  Check my
staple gun and pay another visit to Kinko's.  I start planning my
strategy, which must be drastically different because it is Sunday.
Ah yes, I've got it.  What a brilliant idea!

11) But first I survey the remaining merchandise.  The box of make-up
is almost empty...  almost all the three dozen or so left over
lipsticks, rouges, powders, and polish are gone.  No one bought any
of it all day.  Ohmygod!!!  I have been shoplifted.  They were pros.
The husband engages the shopkeeper in conversation while the wife
stuffs her purse and panties and bra.  I must be more careful or they
will steal me blind. Ohmygod!!!!  Shoplifing at a yard sale.  I never
in all my life.

Date:         Wed, 11 Sep 1996 23:35:06 EST
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMAMYS 3
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


12) So I get everything covered up for the night and go out on the
town to do a little drinking and carousing around.  Come home at 2
a.m., sleep a couple of hours and then rush out of the house to do my
Sunday morning strategy.  I hit Kinko's and then, armed with 70
copies, seek out every Church within four miles and tack up notices
in the parking lots.  What a brilliant idea.  Go where the people are.

13)  7:30 and still no customers.  They begin to arrive about 9:00
a.m., just a few from time to time and I sell a few things, but not
making very much money.  The guy who bought my 8x16 foot canvas tent
arrives and we take the tent down and I grieve my loss as he drags it

14)  12:00 noon and the masses begin to arrive, coming from church
and on the way to the K&W cafeteria, just a brief stop to check out
the merchandise.  A huge mob of people until about 1 p.m., then a few
off and on, and I think what a delightful way to spend a weekend,
sitting on the porch of the Lodge, drinking beer and talking to
people, haggling a little but practically giving the stuff away.

15)  A young man arrives at the door and inquires:  "What is this? Is
someone moving?  I need a room."   I say no, just a yard sale and no,
I dont think I want to rent any rooms in my house, which is only
recently all mine.  He seems very nice, a student, so I tell him that
my tenant in the garage apartment is talking about moving but he's
not sure when.  I show him the place and says he wants it, whenever
the guy moves.  OK, I'll let you know.

16)  A couple I know show up and the woman buys my picnic table and
benches to use as potting tables, since hers were just destroyed by
the aftermath of Bertha when a 70 foot pine tree fell on it.  But I
have to deliver, which I agree to do.  She talks for one and one-half
hours without taking a breath while he just stands and listens, and I
recall that I must not get in this situation again.  When I deliver,
it must be hit and run.

17)  3 p.m. and I decide it is over.  I tally the score:  $150.  Not
great, but ok.  $450 total, plus a possible new tenant, for two days
of knic- knacs.  What will I do with all the left over stuff?  Oh
yes....  free ad next time. Cant be next weekend because I am giving
a party for 150 people on Friday night.   So, I box up all the stuff
and put it on the porch and cover it with sheets of plastic.  Next
time, *with* an ad, we'll see.

Date:         Sat, 14 Sep 1996 03:23:50 EST
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMAMYS 4
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


18)  So, two weeks later, *after* my Senate party at my house for 150
people, for which I prepared all the food and spent days in the local
Goodwills buying glasses and dishes so that I wouldnt have to use
paper/plastic, on Wednesday, I phone the N&O to get my free ad.  I
dont talk directly to Marie, who promised me the free ad, but to one
of her colleagues, Claire.  I read her my new, super-killer ad.  She
is amused.  The conversation then goes like this, as I am reading the

C:  Wait a minute.  This one is longer than the other one.
M:  Yes, I know.  Y'all really messed me up last time, remember?
C:  OK.  Continue.
M:  .... art deco overstuffed chair,  tools,  doll clothes....
M:  Wait a minute.  You want this for two days?  The other one was
only for one day.
M:  Yes, I know.  Y'all really messed me up last time, remember?
C:  OK.  Continue.

19)  So, I got the ad placed for Friday and Saturday.  Friday to give
the yard-sale-crazies the chance to map out their strategy for
Saturday morning, as they check the zip-codes and the maps and make
lists of the order in which they will hit the merchandise, starting
at maybe 6:15 a.m.

20)  On Thursday, I start re-sorting the merchandise and sticking
more stickers and I am having trouble getting into it.  I search the
attic and come up with lots more stuff, then the garage, then the
basement.  It grows and grows.  But I'm still having trouble getting
into it.  Maybe this is not as much fun as I thought.

21)  Friday, the paper hits the porch at 4:30 a.m. as I sit in the
dark, drinking coffee.  I race to the porch, retrieve the paper and
look un 27605, my zip.  *No* *ad*!!!  I just cannot believe it.  *NO*
*AD*!!!!  Ohmygod!

Date:         Sat, 14 Sep 1996 03:57:06 EST
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMAMYS 5
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


22) I just cannot believe that the ad is not there.  So I search and
search, then find it under the wrong ZIP code.  Well, that's not
*too* serious, except that some people may not know where my street
is if they are looking for it across town.  Then the dilemma:  Should
I call Claire and complain, thus running the risk of getting it
completely left out of Saturday's paper when she tries to shift it
over to the other ZIP?  I just dont know....

23)  So, I call and this time talk to Peggy, who has a little bit of
trouble figuring out what is going on.  She cant understand what has

P:  I dont understand.  This ad was programmed to go under 27605.
M:  It's not there.  Its over in the next column.
P:  But it is programmed to go under 27605.
M:  It's not there.  Its over in the next column, just above the
display ad for Exterior Sports Equipment.
P:  But it is programmed to go under 27605.
M:  It's not there.
P:  Where are you looking?
M:  I'm looking in your newspaper, the one that last time didn't
print my ad for the Saturday yard sale until Sunday.  The one that
promised me a free ad next time.
P:  Just a moment.  Let me get a copy of the paper.
M:  I imagine you have one there somewhere.
P:  Yes.  Ah, yes, I see, it is under 27601.
M:  That's right.  27601 means the downtown post office.  My yard
sale is not going to be in the downtown post office.
P:  This must be a production error.  It is programmed to be...
M:  I know, under 27605.  It's not there.
P:  This is strange.  This indicates that this is a free ad.
M:  Yes, I know.  That is what I have been explaining to you.  But
his free ad is in the wrong place.  Can you please do something about
P:  Yes, of course.  This one is longer than the other one.
M:  Yes, I know.  Can you squeeze it all in under 27605?
P:  Yes, of course.  Can I help you with anything else?
M:  No, thank you.  I appreciate you help.

24)  I hang up, thinking the entire world has gone crazy just because
I decided to have a yard sale instead of giving away the MEotM's
stuff.  I continue with all my preparations, staying up all night
again, even though I know my *big* *first* *date* is Saturday night
after the Monstrous Repeat Yard Sale Of The Year.  At 4:30, the paper
hits the porch.  The ad is there, under 27605.  It is still dark when
the first customers arrive, at 5:15 a.m.

Date:         Sat, 14 Sep 1996 04:28:53 EST
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMAMYS 6
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


25)  So, even though I have put up *no* signs....  I was too tired
and couldnt find my staple gun.....  I have a huge mob of totally
insane people from 5:15 until about 7:30, then the clientele drops
off to just a few an hour for the rest of the day until about 3
p.m., when I pack it all up and get it ready for the Bargain Box.
The action has been steady, though almost entirely in the 25-50 cent
category, and I have not been able to keep an accurate tally of how
much I've taken in.  I *think*, by 3 p.m., that it is about $200.
Several nibbles on the large stuff, but no sales, except for the
MEotM's work desk, which I sell to three students speaking
some strange Asian language which they claim to be Chinese.  They
also want the computer table, which I offer for $40, then $30,
but not less since I have promised my step-son that his friend could
have it.  I will risk his wrath for $30, but not for less.  They
will think about it, or will take it now for twenty dorrels.

26)  So, the three day total is:  $250/$200/$200.  About $650 for
mostly odds and ends.  But my earlier plan to pack it away and pull
it out in six months for another one now seems rather unattractive.
I start sorting, what I cant bear to give away, what I dont want to
see again, what I need to save for posterity.  Then, fed up with it
all, I just throw it all in together, thinking I never want to see
any of it again.  Then, I change my mind and save a few things.

27)  Days later, the day before Fran, I hear a strange Asian language
on my front porch and find the three students conversing loudly about
the merits of the computer table.  I agree to sell it for $25,
assuring them that this is appropriate, since I had said $30 and they
had said $20 and the way we do things in this country is split the
difference.  We all understand that.  I say $40, you say $10, I say
$30, you say $20, I say $25, you say ok.  They go haimu-whtusa-
huamesi-houwee and I say Say What?  And they never stop smiling and I
think I am in a Chinese restaurant and have no idea whether I will
get what I order.  Then I say, ok., $22.50, but it has to be $22.50
because if I sell it to you for $20 I will feel like I havent made a
good deal, right?  I laugh and they just keep smiling, then one
shakes my hand and says:  "Thank You Velly Mach"  and I say "What?
Does that mean you want it?"  And he smiles a little more and says
"Thank You Velly Mach" and leaves without the table.  No sale.

28)  Then, that night, Fran takes care of the things that
I couldnt bear to dispose of.  They are now soaked after being
subjected to six hours of strong driving rain that overturned all the
chairs on the porch and sent them racing from one end to the other,
covered with wet leaves and little branches and mud and shingles from
the Lodge roof.  Now, I can just sort them into neat little black
plastic garbage bags and bid them adieu.  The art deco overstuffed
chair, in which various wordslers sat to watch tv and soak in the
atmosphere of the Lodge, remains on the porch, soaked and stained,
waiting for something to happen to it.  Maybe it will remain forever,
the upper-middle-class-phdeed analogue of the tattered sofa on your
typical white-trash porch.  It just seems to <belong>, a sentinel, a
memoir of the moment in time, the instant, the distillation of the
dissolve of the ggs/mm union made in a heaven that god her/imself
never dreamed of.   The computer table also remain, awaiting the
return of the Asians, still smiling and holding a ten and a five,
smiling that knowing smile like Oh Yes We Will Soon Be The Proud
Possessors Of Your Hong Kong Oh Yes Give Me Your Table.
Oh well.  Take the table. Makes no diffelence to me.  I have *had* my
yard sale.