Garage sale finds great joy for some

By Liliana Castillo, Freedom New Mexico

When Joannie Spear goes to a garage sale, she’s mostly looking for resale value. She never thought she’d find her personal holy grail.

Originally from Hawaii, Spear visits garage sales every Friday and Saturday morning in Clovis looking for items to sell on eBay.

“I look for odd items, things people bought and got tired of,” Spear said. “To me, it’s still worth something.”

Spear also collects anything from Hawaii, especially paintings of a Hawaiian artist, which dominate a wall in her Hawaii room at her home.

“One day, I found a print of a hula dancer by this artist, one of those 20-by-30s, a big one. I walked up to this garage sale in Clovis, New Mexico and found it. Framed in rare koa wood in mint condition,” Spear said, disbelief in her voice as she described it. “And it was signed. I couldn’t believe it.”

For Elsie Shirley, the awe-factor is similar, but she doesn’t collect anything in particular and doesn’t look for resale value.

“I like to find things, like if my kids need something or I need something.” Shirley said from her Portales home. “Sometimes you find a good buy and some days it doesn’t pay you to waste the gas.”

Even though garage sales never guarantee a find, Shirley said there’s more to it than the shopping.

“I get to see people I wouldn’t normally get to see. And if something is old, I get to hear where it came from or who made it or how old it might be,” she said. “And that makes it really neat.”

Shirley said she never expects much when she goes out early Saturday mornings in Portales from one garage sale to another. But its always nice, Shirley said, to come across something that makes her say “Oh my gosh, look.”

For Shirley that something was an old quilt.

“I love quilts. It was in really good shape and I could tell it was around for a long time. I bought it for a dollar,” she said. “I don’t know the family or the women that made it, but I will hang on to it.”