Honest Tom's World of Wheels

On the market for a pre-owned vehicle? “Honest Tom” Pugh says he has the keys to the best deals in town at Saturday’s Rotary Auction. Tops on the lot is this 1967 Lincoln Continental, with a supple leather interior and low, low miles. - ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo
On the market for a pre-owned vehicle? “Honest Tom” Pugh says he has the keys to the best deals in town at Saturday’s Rotary Auction. Tops on the lot is this 1967 Lincoln Continental, with a supple leather interior and low, low miles.
— image credit: ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo

Perhaps you see yourself cruising along a desert highway in a vintage Lincoln, massaged by the 462 throbbing cubic inches of American muscle under the hood, heading toward Vegas and your rendezvous with Frank and Dino at the Sands.

Then again, your imagination may go no further than your own basement, and you see yourself happily trudging away the morning on a second-hand NordicTrak.

As the body wanders amongst the acres of...of stuff for sale at this weekend’s Rotary Auction and Rummage, so inevitably does the mind.

“Every year, we don’t think it can get any bigger, and every year, it gets bigger,” said Howard Hanners, chairman of the event slated to run 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Sakai Intermediate School.

“The good news is, every year we make a little more money,” Hanners said. “It’s a miracle – it really is.”

Some 200 Rotarians and volunteers have been toiling for a week, collecting, sorting and pricing the seemingly limitless items donated for sale.

The most challenging aspect of this year’s event is the temporary move to the Sakai campus, necessitated by extensive reconstruction of the Woodward Middle School building next door.

With fewer large spaces available – no commons, for example – organizers have dispersed the sales areas throughout the building and into nearly every classroom.

“It’s going to be a lot in a little space,” Rotarian Marit Saltrones said. “(But) you’ll be able to ‘find’ more things this way, and that’s a real advantage.”

This year more than ever, bargain hunters will probably want to visit Friday evening’s auction preview to get their bearings. A brief orientation:

Upstairs – Silent and live auction items, books and concessions can be found in the cafeteria/gymnasium at the north end of the building; bag-a-rag clothing is in the smallish covered play area just outside the north door. Computers and home electronics can be found down the hall and around the corner to the west; housewares and small appliances occupy several rooms in the southwest wing.

Downstairs – Two areas devoted to children’s items are on the lower floor, with clothing and toys in one room and an outside area with play equipment and a robust assortment of Tonka trucks. Also downstairs: men’s and women’s fine clothing, arts and crafts, and the generally indescribable fare known as “collectibles.”

New sales rooms this year include linens (blankets, comforters, fabric and the like) and lamps (ranging from the aesthetically pretty, to the merely functional, to the, shall we say, less-than-gracefully aged).

Arrayed outside the building are tools, equipment and building materials (west side); bicycles and vehicles (southwest corner); and lawn and garden items, large appliances, and other-than-fine furniture (northeast parking lot and lawn).

Returning to the front parking area – and on a scale surely large enough to accommodate a high-wire act – is a tent for fine furnishings.

Wares will again be displayed in various “showrooms” that match items by period and/or kitsch niche. Look here too, organizer Suzy Sachs says, for “shabby chic” – items that hold appeal by virtue of the “peeling, beat-up or rained-on look” that implies antiquity and thus value.

It follows the Rotary Club’s ongoing effort to raise the auction’s level of sophistication above that of a garage sale.

“Each year, the quantity increases,” Rotarian Tom Pugh said, “and each year, the quality increases. That’s the nifty part.

“We haven’t got any kitchen garbage yet,” he added. “Last year, we got two bags.”

It remains to be seen whether the general economic malaise will dampen sales that last year topped $210,000. Proceeds have been plowed back into an array of community projects, including the island’s new swimming pool and skateboard park.

Hedging their bets, Rotarians have done a lucrative trade recycling old televisions and computer monitors, which are no longer welcome for general disposal at the county landfill.

During the drop-off period, the club has collected a $10 fee for each discarded monitor and burnt-out set; by Monday noon, more than 50 had accumulated on the lawn, awaiting transport to a recycling facility

Unusual for the auction, no boats have been donated for sale. But Honest Tom’s World of Wheels – alternately known as Uncle Roy’s Used Car Sales, depending on who’s standing there at the moment – boasts some 25 pre-owned vehicles.

The cherry on the lot is a 1967 Lincoln Continental, garaged for most of its life and with just 82,000 original miles.

The car features reverse-swinging “suicide doors,” a leather interior and an intact Landau roof. And a nice added touch: a tube of pink lipstick in the glove box.

Pugh, an appreciator of vintage automobiles, has taken the wheel for spins to and from Poulsbo. Even with a few tics from disuse, he said, the enormous engine eats the highway for breakfast.

“You punch it and that thing moves out smartly,” Pugh said. “It’s impressive.”

Donation drop-offs will continue through 5 p.m. Thursday, leaving Rotarians a customary full day to finalize arrangements.

And then it’s auction time. Saturday, early congregants can gather on the east side of the grounds, with a latte stand planned for the grassy knoll facing the building.

There will be no parking on site, although some will be available next door at Woodward.

Rotarians credited school district officials for their assistance in staging the event at Sakai as an interim, if challenging, measure.

“We can’t wait to get back to Woodward,” Saltrones said, adding under her breath, “but thank god it’s not Commodore.”

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