Many Nottawa folks will recall my grandpa Neil McInnes for his days as custodian of Nottawa Public School, and many will remember him for his many excellent annual yard sales.
A bit of history first. After his service in Europe during World War II, my grandpa returned home to the family farm near McIntyre. A few years later, my grandparents sold their farm and moved to Nottawa with my dad Brian and his brother Wayne. For many many years he worked as custodian of Nottawa Public School where he was beloved to both both the faculty and the students. Many students even considered him a substitute grandfather, something that I continue to get messages about, ha ha! I spent many a day with him up at the school playing on the piano, reading in the library, or doing art projects as he waxed a floor. When he retired everyone wondered whatever would he do to keep himself occupied? The answer was simple and not too far away.
Growing up, I spent many hours with my grandparents at local estate auction sales. Back in "the day", we had many excellent local auctioneers: Ivan Brown, George Pifer, Ted Udell; just to name a few. My grandpa in addition to collecting things, bottles for him, salt and pepper shakers for my grandma, liked to buy and refinish antiques. The other thing he liked to do was build things with me, usually little houses that I would draw, and then we'd cut them out and assemble them in the basement. People always wondered how he became so skilled at crafts, and my grandma would tell them he did because of all the practice he got building things with me as a young boy, ha ha! After he retired, auctions, refinishing furniture and making cool crafts out of wood became his projects of choice. Not only did I continue to go to auction sales with him, I also drew out plans for loons, ducks, owls and other crafty things he would make out of wood and incorporate into a project. Then I'd paint all the details on them for him, and voila, the project would be complete! The only problem was, what to do with the furniture and the cottage crafts? The question was raised, how about a yard sale? And so it began, ha ha!
Yard sales then became an annual event for my grandparents, and I eagerly participated. They were scheduled twice a year - Victoria Day and Labour Day. All the time spent leading up to these dates was spent purchasing, refinishing, preparing, painting and pricing, ha ha! My grandma would prepare potato salad, baked hams, and sandwiches to make meals easier, as we'd all be busy out manning the yard. I always had a little booth too, and enjoyed every minute of it. Folks would come from both near and far, as my grandpa was also known for having the very best antiques. He had a discerning eye, and was a skilled refinisher
The tradition continued for many years, but as good auctions became fewer and fewer, sourcing good stuff became more difficult. As my grandpa got older too, it became more of a chore, so eventually our yard sale tradition became a thing of the past. Thank goodness for memories!
I hope you like reading the post folks, and please have a great weekend! Happy Valentine's Day!