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It was the second day of the 301 Endless Yard Sale, where hundreds of neighbors from Dunn to Weldon and points in between clean out the closet to put thousands of items out for public sale along U.S. 301.
Becky Rose of Wilson and family members were in Four Oaks when they made another stop to see what they could find among knick-knacks on a half-dozen tables set up end to end.
“There was one we almost didn’t go to because it was farther over toward the woods, so we started not to go, but one of the girls, my daughter, says, ‘Well, it looks like they have some antique stuff, and she loves antique stuff,’” Rose said. “I always gravitate to the books. And I picked this book up and I said, ‘Boy, that’s the book I used when I was at Hardbarger Business College, and that was 54 years ago, if my math is right about that.”
It was little red copy of a Speedwriting Shorthand Dictionary like the one she had used as an 18-year-old when she had enrolled in the Raleigh business school.
“And I opened it up and that’s what I saw — my name and my Raleigh address in the dorm,” Rose said.
Her daughter said she looked startled.
“She said I looked like I had seen a ghost,” Rose said. “I looked, and then I looked again. It can’t be, but it is. I’ve got one just like it at home, and it’s got my name and address in it, so where did this book come from? Whoever got the book crossed my name out and right here real light, it says ‘Not hers.’ So what’s the story behind that? So what happened that it not be my book?”
Rose returned home and found her other Speedwriting book, which was weathered and used.
Rose wondered how the book ended up in Four Oaks.
The man whose table the book was on said he was from Kentucky and that his mother was from eastern North Carolina. Her possessions had been in storage for years and had been brought out specifically for the 301 Endless Yard Sale.
“My daughter says, ‘You are not going to charge her for that book, are you? Because we’ve got to have it?’ Rose said.
“He said, ‘Well, I’ll charge 20 years storage for $1.’”
Rose took the deal, considering it has been a little longer than 20 years.
Rose doesn’t remember losing the book and said it’s something she would have been careful to hold onto.
“Back then, when I went to school I had to pay my way, and I looked after my stuff,” Rose said.
She said there’s no telling what one might find at the 301 Endless Yard Sale, which is in its seventh year.
“You play along the way. You meet a lot of folks. You talk and find out where people are from,” Rose said. “It’s just fun. Of course, we do a lot of eating.”
For the annual yard sale, Rose and her crew usually take an old van that used to belong to her father.
“It’s an old goldish-brown van, and we have this magnetic sign that goes on the back and it says, ‘We Girls Break for Yard Sales,’ and it has ribbons, a big floppy hat, a cooler, that type of thing. We always put it on the back of the van. We really make a weekend of it. You never know what you might find.
“I have no idea how that book ended up where it did and how I ended up with it.”