Love by the yard: Saturday sale to raise money for CF research
By Kathy Chaffin
The basement of Helen and Ralph Brown’s house on Emerald Street resembles a crowded department store.
There are lamps, furniture, books, a framed, signed print donated by local artist Curtis Waller, toys, dolls, stuffed animals, golf clubs, antique trunks, ladies’ purses, kitchenware, jewelry, power and hand tools and a cast-iron stove.
You name it, and you’re likely to find it among the items donated for the Browns’ 15th semi-annual yard sale Saturday to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to fund research for a cure.
Two of the Browns’ six grandchildren, Anna and Michael Johnson, were diagnosed with the disease as infants. “Thanks to research,” Helen said, “Anna will be a senior at Gardner-Webb next year, and Michael will be a senior in high school.”
Michael and his mother, Stephanie Johnson, who live in Wilson, are planning to be at Saturday’s yard sale, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with items spread out along the Browns’ driveway and back yard.
The Browns’ other daughter, Kelly Lineberry, and two of her children are also planning to help with the sale.
Their spring and fall yard sales have raised $67,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Last year’s fall yard sale brought in $6,000.
“I feel like we’re successful if we do a little bit better with each sale,” Helen said. “I think yard sales typically do well when there’s a poor economy.”
The weather could be a factor this year with mostly cloudy skies in the forecast. “I’m just praying,” she said. “They can’t always know the forecast this far ahead.”
Jennifer Totten, one of about 30 volunteers who help with the yard sales, said she thinks total sales will top $7,000 Saturday. That prediction is based on the fact that the Browns have already raised $2,300.
Helen said part of that is from the donated clothes she turned over to Growing Pains, a consignment shop in downtown Salisbury, to sell.
She has also sold several items from the basement to people who have dropped by to see the offerings. “If they can see it, I will sell it,” she said.
A yellow striped couch in the basement, for example, has already been sold.
Helen said all electronic items have been tested to make sure they work and are safe. “We don’t sell anything that we think will be harmful to anybody,” she said.
People donate items throughout the year for the yard sales held in the spring and October. The Browns have already received a large quantity of Christmas decorations for this year’s fall sale.
“We have a lot of wonderful people in this town who are willing to share their items,”Helen said. “We would not be able to have these sales without that support, plus the physical support helping with the sales and the people that come to the sales and buy.
“I guess one is just as important as the other.”
This year, she said, the son of a couple who moved to Hawaii last year donated many of the items they left behind. “It just seems like each year, something like that happens,” she said, “which has given us so many items.”
People who contribute are given Cystic Fibrosis Foundation receipts for tax deductions.
The Browns borrow 60 tables from their church, First Baptist of Salisbury, for the sale, and volunteers help with the setup on Friday and the actual sale on Saturday. Helen said Cheerwine, Food Lion and Chick-Fil-A are providing lunch for about 20 volunteers Saturday.
The semi-annual yard sales have grown to the point that she calls them her “second full-time job.” In November, Helen will have worked 50 years in her other full-time job as office manager for the Busby family of doctors.
She presently works for Dr. Rudy Busby. “He’s the third generation of Busby doctors that I’ve worked for,” she said, “and I’ve loved every day of it.”
The Browns live at 1621 Emerald Street, which runs parallel to Knox Middle School.
Other items donated for the yard sale include: sporting equipment, old coins, antiques, rugs, bedroom suites, bedside commode and other handicap items, patio furniture, couches (one with matching chair), strollers and assorted nursery items, pottery, old milk cans, gun cabinet, sporting equipment, desks, washboard, chairs, recliner, dining room table with chairs, dressing table with chair, rugs, doll collection, glassware (some vintage), dishes and crystal, clocks, mirrors, telephones, answering machines, VCR and DVD players, computer monitors and assorted software, pillows, linens, baskets, plants and much more.
Anyone interested in seeing large items before the yard sale can call the Browns at 704-636-5902 after 7:30 p.m. and schedule an appointment.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-7683.