Yard Sale Documentation Project 8-4-12


Have you ever even heard of a spiedie? Definition: a foodie’s delight indigenous to the southern tier of upstate New York, a tasty marinated meat sandwich that is in and of itself sufficient motivation to prompt the 7-hour ride to its locale.

My mom still lives in this area of New York state, this place where I grew up, so instead of yard saleing this weekend I hitched a ride with my brother’s family and we trucked our way to Endicott, NY.

Aside from the spiedies, this blue-collar town in upstate New York is home to Endicott-Johnson shoes, now-retired IBM-ers who helped send the first men to the moon, a pizza pie rivaling that found in metropolitan New York, and a series of authentic German carousels scattered throughout the county courtesy of Mr. Johnson.

I have a much greater appreciation for Endicott now that I don’t live there.

Despite the fact that I was far from my home turf, my yard sale itch did manage to get scratched this weekend. My mom likes a good treasure hunt as much as I do (maybe it’s genetic?), and so a visit to one of her favorite haunts was on our Saturday’s to-do list. “Charlie Brown’s” is one of these places:

You know the joint—rows of booths, tons of stuff, lots of junk, a few gems amidst the rubble. A yard sale on acid. And just like a yard sale, if you have a little luck and a lot of patience you’re sure to come home with something you couldn’t live without.

Such as pottery! This lovely piece of Haeger was had for $17, not yard sale pricing but still reasonable for art pottery in perfect condition with such an interesting glaze.

The effort spent on such a discriminating search works up an appetite. Thank goodness Lupo’s Char-Pit is right around the corner. A happy accident? I think not.

This place looks exactly like it did when I was in high school … 40 years ago… exactly. No money has been spent on frivolous remodeling here.

And why bother. This is one of those places where people would spend their last $5 to have their last meal. This is a place where, on the weekend after Thanksgiving, I’ve seen cars from several different states in the parking lot, expatriates having one last spiedie on their way out of town.

Does a place like this have a Facebook page I wonder?

During the 40 hours of being in Endicott I went to Lupo’s twice. Good as ever.
How many things in life are this consistently satisfying?

Another taste treat of the weekend were the Pennsylvania peaches. Mom and I drove about 15 minutes out of town to another of her sources, “The Country Wagon.” These peaches are honey fresh right off the tree, fruit the size of soft balls. Peach perfection. We don’t get peaches like this in Maine; I came home with a peck; I may or may not share.

Summer is an opportunity for a peek into my mom’s intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds her house. In some ways, she can’t help it because she lives in a 1940’s cottage on the edge of the woods. Here’s the view out her back door, what we call “the crick,” sometimes a roaring mass of chocolate milk but at the moment a mere trickle down the shale bed.

Here’s the bunny who appears to eat all his meals in her yard; Mom says he likes the clover. Not bothered by the sound of her car coming and going, he apparently didn’t like the visitors this weekend, hopping into the woods at the first sign of anyone else coming up the driveway.

Mom came eye-to-eye with a toad the other day as she was working in the garden, his eyes bugging out of his head, looking right at her. It was 30 seconds later that she realized he was half-swallowed by a snake and perhaps was pleading for her help. She went inside until that process was finished.

And then there’s Derek. Derek Jeter. He’s a robin who comes by two or three times a day singing his lilting song which for all the world sounds like “”Der-rik-jeee-ter, Der-rik-jeee-ter.”

Mom looks out the window and sees a robin in the grass, “Oh, there’s Derek.”

“How do you know it’s him?” I ask.

“I just know.”

I believe her.

The Disney bluebirds with their silken ribbons and bows are expected to make their appearance at any moment.

So while we’ll be resuming the usual saleing routine next Saturday, this first weekend in August was true to the Lughnasadh theme of abundance, fertility, harvest, and the peaking cycles of nature.

Bunnies, peaches, homemade pie, the charcoal grill, pottery, mom, robins, family, comfort, satisfaction.



  1. Gail Wood said,

    August 7, 2012 at 6:59 AM

    I love me some spiedies, a Southern Tier delight. I think your yard sale chronicles are fabulous. It sounds like a delightdul time!!

    • August 7, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      Hi Gail– I had a feeling some upstate mouths would be watering at the mention of spiedies! Thanks for following the Yard Sale blog, those Sat. AM trips are too juicy not to share. Best to you Ms. Rowdy~~

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