News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

February 8, 2011

MS. TAKES: There are treasures among the junk

TERRE HAUTE — Spring can’t come fast enough to suit my friend Mary. It has been a long winter with no garage sales.

On Fridays, Mary almost always arrives late during “the season.” She is an advocate of exercise, but she passes a lot of garage sale signs on her way to the Sports Center, and — first things first.

I will say that she has phenomenal luck in finding goodies. This winter she has been sporting a really nice cold weather jacket with a name label. She snapped that up late last fall at a garage sale. She says she paid 50 cent. It seems that the ladies presiding at the pay table were moving to Florida and were anxious to dispose of their cold weather gear.

The fact that Florida has been anything but balmy this winter may have given them second thoughts, but it’s too late now. Mary looks great in that jacket.

Throughout last fall, Mary was on a roll. She found several Betty Boop collectibles — presumably for a bargain rate. Another of our exercise colleagues collects anything having to do with the marcelled moppet and is now the proud owner of several additions to his collection, including an electric clock which needed nothing but a new battery.

Personally, I’ve never had much luck with garage sales. I don’t want to get up early enough to score the real bargains and I don’t want to be a late shopper and hope to find a gem among the leftovers. It just doesn’t happen that way for me.

I have had better luck with what my pal Lorna used to call “junk stores.” My best hit was service for 12 in a set of sterling silver for $45. Actually, it was everything but dinner knives and when I found them they were $25 apiece. Still, it was a relatively cheap set of silver and I don’t mind polishing it all that much. It really dresses up the holiday dinner table.

Or there was the $30 walnut secretary. I had to charge my Best Friend $15 each for the two cupcakes he had for dinner. He also got stuck with refinishing, but it is worth every cupcake.

I don’t need any more “stuff,” so I don’t do the junk store circuit these days. Still, when Mary comes in sporting her finds, I feel the urge to hunt.

She can hardly wait for spring. I can hardly wait to see what she finds next.

Liz Ciancone is a retired

Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to

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