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Rotary auction sells items with more life to live

At one end of the parking lot at Woodward Middle School are tables of hand and power tools, from hand saws and planes to sanders and power washers. The items are expected to go fast this Saturday at the Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale. - Cecilia Garza | Bainbridge Island Review
At one end of the parking lot at Woodward Middle School are tables of hand and power tools, from hand saws and planes to sanders and power washers. The items are expected to go fast this Saturday at the Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale.
— image credit: Cecilia Garza | Bainbridge Island Review

Upon first arrival to the Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale this weekend, one may think Woodward Middle School became a well-organized junkyard in time for summer vacation.

Take a closer look, and it’s a treasure trove.

Or as the saying goes, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’

In just five days, volunteers have accepted donated garage sale items that will fill six acres at Woodward Middle School, from its parking lot and sports field through its gymnasium and classrooms.

A walk through the sale area a few days before the big event revealed a bonanza of bargains.

Near the school’s bicycle racks, an olive green vinyl suitcase with its combination lock and “Citation” brand scripted on a silver nameplate sits amidst rows of donated luggage.

What would be considered vintage in any consignment shop, the square hard shell is reminiscent of the 1960s and has the delicious scent of old books. It’s still slapped with flight tags — Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Tokyo — and the Bainbridge man who owned the piece left behind his contact information in a rubber tag still attached to the handle.

An item like this has stories to tell of the items it carried and the places it visited.

In the cafeteria is the decor section where a gold stocking hanger sits on a table overshadowed by other seasonal decorations that span all the calendar holidays; Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter.

The three prongs for stockings and the gold letters that spell “JOY” bring back memories of digging through Mom and Dad’s attic just after Thanksgiving.

But while some items, like the stocking hanger, bring back childhood memories and will soon fill the home of another young family, other items speak of a time before most of us.

Under the shade of the building entrance at the top of the parking lot, sits an 1890-patented treadle sewing machine on its wood and iron sewing table.

“This was quite the piece of equipment way back when,” said Les Heinrich, who will be manning the area come this weekend.

Heinrich says he repairs sewing machines for a living and was able to get this oldie running again.

It’s all manual with a foot peddle large enough to fit both feet and a rotary lever at one end that runs the thread.

The lever works off a horse-hide drive belt for its strength, Heinrich explained.

The heavy metal contraption made by White Family Rotary sits inside an embossed solid wood table with iron legs and strikes wonder in any onlooker.

Not only can items sold at the Rotary sale easily furnish a home or outfit a garage with power tools, but they also carry the enchantment of used items passed down to another generation of ownership.

With $2 admission customers can get a preview from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 27.

Those who participate in the preview will be entered in a raffle to win prizes like a free meal, select parking spot or early entrance to the auction and sale Saturday.

Residents can make a mad dash for the cream of the crop starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 28.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Bainbridge community and Bainbridge Island Rotary-sponsored charities.

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