Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Three Neighborhood Sales in Decatur 4/17/09

Today I visited a trio of neighborhood sales all within the confines of the city of Decatur. For those outside Atlanta, Decatur has become the place of choice of families who want to live close in but don’t want to deal with Atlanta politics and services. Their school as good, their taxes high and now everyone seems to have children and lots of toys for them to play with. I should also note that Decatur has a yard sale ordinance that is actually enforced. I believe people are only allowed two yard sales a year and sign placement is limited and closely monitored. Technically you have to get a permit for a sale. With this in mind much of the sales in the city limits are covered in yearly neighborhood sales, the kind happening today in three different neighborhoods.

Wynonna Park – Neighborhood Sale
Wynonna Park is not named after the Naomi’s daughter but after the fine elementary school that brought people to this once forgotten, tree shaded neighborhood of brick bungalows. In this cozy community the sales worked as a social event as well as a clutter clearance for residents. Among the stuff put out in the lawns were artwork, paper mache creations, bicycles, wedding gowns, children’s books and barware. Among some of the better single items on display were a large gnome figure that appeared to emerging from a hole in the ground, clear plastic bags stuffed with knitting yarn, a children’s boot camp play set (in which the soldiers were shooting at each other in basic training), a remote controlled large plastic insect and some scaffolding.

Well placed sign in Wynonna Park

Emerging troll.

Ridley Scott “Neighborhood sale

OK the neighborhood is not really called Ridley Scott. But the intersection where most people enter the area is the intersection of Ridley Cir. and Scott Blvd.. I’d like to propose that neighbors here go for this name and then change street names to match. Then create such streets as Thelma Drive, Louise Road, Alien Ave and Blade Run. They could even get a condo development called “Black Hawk Downs.”
I think this would immediately up property values far better than the Ponderosa subdivision did when they had all the streets named after characters in Bonanza.
Anyway this was the second go around for a neighborhood sale here this year. A few months ago when the weather was not conductive to sales they attempted a neighborhood event with lax results. Today’s event was much more successful with nearly twice as many sales. The dominant sale here featured a massive amount of old clutter crowded into the driveway of a brick ranch home. Here a portly man in a brightly colored sombrero walked among the clutter extolling its virtues. At the top end of the driveway was a large dumpster perhaps where all the stuff would end up if he did not sell it today. Among the stuff in his driveway was a pair of matching ugly recliners, several dozen dusty baskets, a pair of crude looking Indian tom toms, a box of car litterbags advertising the election of Carl Sanders, some old home health care items, crutches, a lightning rod, mismatched end tables, massive candles, decrepit Xmas décor, old board games and an empty gumball machine.
Other sales in the neighborhood had the usual amount of large toys. One near the driveway of clutter I just described had toys with a military bent including two large plastic warplanes with wingspans exceeding three feet and a box labeled stuff filled with aggressive looking action figures. Overall this neighborhood appears to be the weak stepchild of Decatur areas and may well need the name change I suggested.

Pair of matching recliners.

Manly toys for boys.

Great Lakes – Neighborhood Sale

With a name like Great lakes you can’t go wrong as this is perhaps the premier neighborhood of the Decatur. First of all there are no Ontario or Erie streets in this area, but there is a Champlain and a Geneva. Perhaps those names have more prestige than the two eastern Great Lakes. Regardless this is the portion of Decatur that never faced gentrification because the values here never dropped not even at the peak of suburban growth in the 1960’s Here today was the mother lode of sales with over 50 homes included. I didn’t count them all but that’s what the signs said. Here the toys are bigger, the lawns better kept and a high level of walkers and cyclist with so many sales close to one another. But sadly with the high numbers the quality of individual sales was not good. I think here in Great Lakes residents feel obligated to participate in this event regardless of if they have stuff they need to divest themselves off.
My favorite stop on the sale route was a woman who had her crewelwork from 20 year as ago on sale. I told her that soft sculpture was coming back into vogue but she doubted her work would ever be in vogue. There was a wider range in clutter than I expected in the upscale neighborhood. One Sale seemed to have nothing but older dejected junk including comptometers and weighty electric adding machines. They also had some dour locking furniture a cheap old portable victrola and a sign behind it all that proclaimed “Will negotiate on everything”. Some sales were repeats from prior years. I was happy to encounter once again the delightful gentleman who makes clever signs on every single item in this sale. Not far away pointing in the wrong direction from this sale was one of the best children made signs I have encountered. This one simply said “YRDE Sale” . An adult watching over a nearby sale said, “You gotta love phonics”

Sign in Great Lakes.

It's a crewel world.

Old stuff in Great Lakes.

Nagel and Rainbow Fish together at last.

Ridgewood Ave - Lake Claire “Yard Sale”

I stopped at this small sale on the way home. Here I found the ultimate in determination on the part of a yard seller. A few nights earlier during a bad windstorm a massive oak tree had toppled over and demolished their garage and the car inside it. Their solution to this household tragedy? Have a yard sale. Here the mighty fallen oak was used as shelving and as a display area for clothing, towels and bedclothes. One of the best responses to major property damage I have ever seen.