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In Lebanon, Yard Sales Are  A Social Scene

  • Michelle Towne, of Lebanon, N.H., looks at the items for sale by School Street neighbors Valerie Noel and Sara Woldt during the neighborhood yard sale coordinated by the Lebanon United Methodist Church on June 2, 2018. "I love getting out early," Towne said, who recently moved to the area. "It's a great way to explore the neighborhood." (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Sisters Zayla, left, and Brooklyn Bakaitis, both 8, of White River Junction, Vt., look at the toys at the Lebanon United Methodist Church's indoor yard sale in Lebanon, N.H., on June 2, 2018. In its seventh year, the sale has now broadened to include 15 other sales in the neighborhood. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • A model schooner fetches $2 at the indoor yard sale held at the Lebanon United Methodist Church in Lebanon, N.H., on June 2, 2018. Fifteen other yard sales are included on a map handed out at the church. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, June 02, 2018

Lebanon — How does Arlo Guthrie sing it in Alice’s Restaurant? Oh, yeah: “You can get anything you want” there.

You can find at least as much — or at least buy more than perhaps you should — at the School Street neighborhood yard sale that the Lebanon United Methodist Church organizes every first Saturday in June.

“It’s probably just as well that my partner isn’t around today,” Richard Langdell said mid-morning on Saturday, while sending “a lot of accumulated possessions from previous lives,” particularly older furniture, out of his Green Street driveway with a steady stream of neighbors and strangers. “If she were, we would have two carloads of stuff coming in here.”

After watching people stroll through or park cars and trucks all over their neighborhood for the last several Junes, Martha Neary and Jo-Ann Ells decided to do a little downloading of their own.

They called the Methodist church at the phone number on one of many yard sale signs posted nearby, asked the organizers to include Neary’s School Street house on the map of places open for business and set up a canopy at the end of her front walk.

“We have four kids between us,” Neary said. “It was time to say ‘goodbye’ to things they haven’t used for a while.”

“Though it was kind of sad taking it all out,” added Ells, who lives on Spring Street.

Outside of the church fellowship hall across the street, 4-year-old Wyatt Alvarenga was smiling over one of the toddler toys that a parishioner had donated: a Thomas the Tank Engine about the size of a jack-in-the-box.

“That was at the top of our list,” said Wyatt’s father, Anthony Alvarenga, of Lebanon.

“We’re pretty happy about it,” Anthony’s girlfriend Maria Kritikos added.

Their next task?

“We came looking for a tall lamp,” Alvarenga said. “They didn’t have any here, but now we’ve got a map, so we’re pretty sure we’ll find something.”

Church volunteers replenished the pile of maps, which showed 15 houses with sales within walking distance, early and often at the cashier’s table in the church fellowship hall.

Linda Armstrong, a member of the church for more than 50 years, credited fellow parishioner Sharon Parker with masterminding the neighborhood sale as part of Parker’s knack “for outreach and creating community.

“It’s such a congenial thing to do,” Armstrong said. “Everybody’s relaxed, having fun.”

One of a pair of young women who walked into Frank and Mary Ann Mastro’s driveway on Green Street during the first hour was on a mission.

“Do you have an air compressor?” she asked Frank Mastro.

“I do,” he replied, “but I’m not selling it.”

As they have for the last few Junes, the Mastros were selling plenty of other tools that they’d accumulated in their garage and workshop during their 47 years in the neighborhood — including the vintage, sheet-metal weed-snipper that, for $2, toppled a Valley News reporter off the wagon of a 12-step program for recovering yard sale shoppers.

“Where a lot of other people are selling things that their children have outgrown, like toys, this is just adult toys — not in that sense, of course, but you know what I mean,” Mary Ann Mastro said. “We’ve been trying to stay on top of the things we just don’t use anymore. The Methodist church helps us do that.”

The only drawback for Mary Ann Mastro: “It’s the same day as the St. Paul’s (Episcopal Church) yard sale and auction in White River, which is a really good one.”

St. Paul’s, as it happens, had strategically posted a sign alongside the Methodist church’s, on the traffic island at the intersection of School and South Park streets.

The Lebanon sales also bumped up against Grantham’s annual town-wide yard sale benefiting the area activities department, and the revived jumble sale at Hanover’s St. Thomas Episcopal Church — renowned for good clothes and books priced to move fast.

Not in the market for additional stuff, Susan Taylor was enjoying the fringe benefits of joining Lebanon’s unofficial block party, even when shoppers perusing the treasures in her Shaw Street driveway walked away empty-handed, as did a tattooed musician who eyed a violin case.

“Over the past few years, I’ve seen tons of people out here,” Taylor said. “I finally figured, ‘I’m going to sign up for it.’ It’s a wonderful thing. The community gets together once a year, and I get to meet my neighbors.”

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.