Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Look for the Union Label

It's been a dry spell lately, I haven't hit the garage sales the last couple weekends, however, I did do something remotely garage sale related two weekends back.  My son is a Cub Scout and each Fall and Spring, the pack does a family camp out.  Typically, we stay at 1 of 2 local parks -- Jefferson Barracks or Mastondon State Park.  This time, we stayed at Teamsters Camp 688 in Pevely, Missouri.  It took a moment to register, but this is where brothers Bobby and Gary Bradshaw stayed, as detailed in a previous post.  I was a bit surprised at the almost elitist atmosphere -- afterall, aren't these union folks your hard-working, salt of the earth laborers?

A guard greeted us at the entrance and allowed us to proceed once she had taken down our information.  The first thing I saw was the waterpark:
People At Play

then the clubhouse

followed by the golf course:

Union Hills Golf Course

There's a large lake there below where we camped.  I can imagine Bobbie and Gary swam in that lake as part of their summer camp experience.

There was RV camping

but we camped amongst the trees

My son and I had a good time, lots of activities, campfire and nighttime hike.  But to quote Bobbie, we "messed" the family and was glad to be home again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

You Snooze, You Lose...

All too often, I've been taught this lesson.  I can't count the number of times I've arrived at a garage sale, just to have the person immediately in front of me scarf up the good stuff.  Vintage beer signs, vintage toys, you name it.

Saturday I slept in.  People are opening later, I justified as I layed in bed enjoying an extra hour's sleep.  Finally crawling out of bed, I sat and had some breakfast, read the paper, waited for the kids to wake up to see if they wanted to go garage saling with me.

I left the house at 9:30.  Becker Road in South St. Louis County is generally a bounty of garage sales and that morning was no exception.  Looking around at one sale, nothing in particular was catching my eye until I saw these two:

Now, I'm not a baseball fan, or even a sports fan, but I do like vintage sports.  I think I would have been a fan 50 years ago or more.  Plus, the toy factor had me.  I could imagine some kid lining these guys up for an imaginary inning.  They were obviously flawed, one missing a bat, the other missing his arms, but I asked how much.  50 cents for both.  Then the seller said, "Yeah, I had three others in perfect condition, but someone bought them earlier."  Oh well, would have been nice I thought.  I bought these two and brought them home.  The kids have been playing with them since.

Tonight I did a little research.  These were made by Hartland Plastics from 1958 to 1962 and were sold in Woolworth's stores.  I also found out who these guys were.  The player in the Braves uniform is Hank Aaron.  In the Giants uniform is Willie Mays.  In mint condition, they sell for $300 a piece.  Even missing a bat, Hank draws $150.  I couldn't find an example where a player was missing their arms, but I'm guessing that seriously lowers the value.  There was a 25th anniversary reissue in 1988, however, I learned those are marked 25th anniversary on their belt buckles which these definitely do not have.  Also, the cream-colored jersey is a giveaway, the new ones being much whiter.

To think about those 3 that got away, I see dollar signs flying out the window.  I know, it's kind of a glass half empty/half full situation.  I paid 50 cents for the two, and I might be able to sell one for $150.  Not a bad profit.  But I can't help but think about the one (or 3) that got away.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkins on Parade

I've mentioned my toaster addiction.  Another is Halloween.  One facet of that is my plastic pumpkin collection.  I've always loved the cheap plastic Trick or Treat pumpkins and lighted blow mold decorations.  I've been fairly successful finding these at garage sales, not to mention lucky as they command some decent money online.  A lot of the manufacturers like Empire Plastics and General Foam have gone out of business.

My love for Trick or Treat pumpkins goes back to this one:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Carnival of Trademark Infringement -- and Humiliation

I picked these up separately.  The brown one last year and the white one just this past Saturday.

I'm pretty sure Charles Schulz didn't get any royalties from the use of Snoopy's image. 

The white one is marked "Made in Hong Kong" while the brown is unmarked.  I'm guessing these are from the 60's or early 70's.

I remember getting these at school carnivals growing up.  They were typically given out at the Duck Pond or as consolation prizes when you didn't pop a balloon or land a ring on a bottle.

My memories of carnivals bring both smiles and a little queasiness.

One memory I have is of a haunted house attraction when I was in second grade.  These were generally constructed from a semi trailer and packed with blacklit, neon-painted scenes, jets of air and sound effects.  This particular attraction had bars on the front like a jail so you could see the patrons entering.  Along that same area were sets of rollers that made it very difficult to walk.  I'm sure it was for the amusement of people watching.

I convinced my mom I was brave enough to go through, and she reluctantly allowed me to go.  I made my way past the rollers fairly easily, even laughing a little.  Then I entered the darkness.  I only remember entering the first room which had a scene of a coffin lit by green light.  Suddenly, someone jumped out from behind and screamed.  I didn't stick around to see who it was and ran out the way I came.  I distinctly remember crying and yelling my head off as I tried to run on those rollers, only to fall, get up, try to run again and fall yet again.  Even in second grade, I was humiliated.  To rub salt in my wounds, the carny refused to refund my money.  I later found out the person scaring people inside was my older brother's best friend.  Although this is much more elaborate, it is reminiscent of what I remember these haunted house attractions being like.

My second memory involves my 5th grade carnival. My first to which I took a girl. The object of my affections was Pam and I had pined for her since the 4th grade, an eternity at that age. We arrived around 10 in the morning on a bright clear-sky morning. I immediately went for the cotton candy, mistake number one. But how could I resist? It was a carnival! When else do you get cotton candy? My second mistake was I didn't eat anything else. How could I? I was full of cotton candy. Which, by the way, makes an excellent derogatory accusation: "Ah, you're fulla cotton candy!"

So Pam was a bit of a daredevil. She wanted only to ride The Octopus and the Ferris Wheel. I was a bit more reserved and would have been happy on those little motorcycles that stay firmly on the ground and go around in slow circles. But in a lesson learned in later years, the male of the species will do whatever it takes to appease the female. So I rode the Octopus and the Ferris Wheel alternating back and forth for at least a dozen times -- third mistake. Getting off the Octopus, I knew things weren't right, and I told Pam -- *begged* Pam, "Let me take a break." Her response was, "No, c'mon, let's do the Ferris wheel one more time." See above about the male of the species. So, I got on one more time -- final mistake. It was pure misery as we revolved around, up and down, coming over the top for that descent down. I got off and promptly began running. I made it to the grass and projectile-vomited pink fluid. I then ran into the cafeteria making a beeline for the bathrooms, more pink spewing onto the tiles of the cafeteria floor. I completed the task in the toilet of the boy's bathroom. Once again humiliated, I returned to Pam, knowing I was that much less in her eyes.

That Monday at school I overheard one boy talking to another about the carnival, "What was that pink goo on the cafeteria floor?" I knew, but I wasn't saying.

Friday, October 1, 2010

All Wound Up

Continuing my unveiling of objects obtained at last weekend's subdivision garage sale, I present the following. These both came from the same house. When I caught sight of the first, there was a person in front of me eyeing it, so I kind of crowded a little (okay, maybe a dirty technique, but it works, he moved on). At $2, I snatched it up. That's the after shot. When I got it, it was filthy and only worked with a little coaxing. I took it completely apart and cleaned and oiled it. I did the best I could straightening the bent bars. It's made in Japan. I'm not sure of the era. Those online I've found say "Occupied Japan". Mine is simply marked "Japan". It's entirely tin. Here it is in action (sorry for the poor quality video).

The other item from that sale is a bee hive mantle clock priced at $10. There's no manufacturer's marks anywhere (inside or out), but it closely resembles a cathedral mantle I have from my grandparents that was made by Ingraham in the 1920's.

It also needed a deep cleaning. The pendulum wouldn't stay running either. I took the clockwork out of the case and oiled everything. The case itself was covered in grease or wax and was black. Cleaning with Murphy's oil soap revealed the wood grain beneath.

I really enjoyed bringing these wind-up objects back to life. I was just reading in the weekend paper how clock repair is becoming a dying art as everyone has clocks on their computers, microwaves, iPhones, etc. Maybe something to pursue in my retirement years.
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