Do you remember when Lion Fred Merrill had an auction every Saturday at his old location east of the Fire Station? That was really something! If you didn’t attend one of ‘em you have missed an experience. If you did attend you do remember it, ‘cause you won’t forget it. He had everything second hand- ‘cept toilet tissue and caskets. From zoot suits to flyin’ squirrels. He had some stuff that really could be used like hound dogs or used fruit jars and again he had stuff that nobody ever needed in the first place—like chastity belts for men. You had to see it to believe it and after you saw it you couldn’t believe it.
On hot Saturday afternoons amidst the yelping of dogs you could mingle with the hot seething, sweatin’ mass and watch the auctioneer get rid of junk by the truck load. What a mob. What an auction. What a mess! There seemed to be something for everyone. If you were the adventurous type you could bid. On the other hand, if you were the type who liked to study people intimately, you surely could. Why you could smell more types of B.O. than Howard Johnson has flavors of ice-cream.
You had to watch it or you would get it knocked off on you. I saw a fellow cough...and he came home with a chest of drawers and a baby’s high chair. I was lucky twice at Fred’s auctions. Once I bid on thirteen different hound dogs and didn’t get caught a time. Another time I got a real bargain. For $2.25 I got over three thousand brand new 1929 calendars. Of course they’re no good now, but if 1929 ever comes around again I’ll be rich!
In addition to the fact that Fred paid his guests a fair price for their debris, he really saved the people a lot of money another way. It was cheaper to haul your crap over to Fred’s than to haul it way out to the City Dump. You hear them talk now about “discount houses” or “mass merchandisers”, etc. shucks, Fred didn’t know what the cost of anything was ‘till after he sold it! Fred got a percent of just what it would bring. Finally the city condemned a big tract of property and Fred had to move. The City Dump was losing money and Fred was making money. Fred is still making money we are glad to say, but he doesn’t run an auction anymore. There is still a need for a place like Fred had. Fred still has a heart of gold. When I get to Heaven I’m gonna keep a sharp look-out for ole Fred... ‘Cause he is liable to sell me a second-hand pair of golden wings!!
Curtis Stewart was a close, personal friend of Fred Merrill and a fellow Lion's Club member who was well known in town for his great sense of humor and fun. Mr. Stewart served for many years as the "Tale Twister" of the local Lion's Club , thus responsible for inserting jokes and humorous incidents into the monthly club newsletter. "Merrill's Auction" was one of the stories he placed in the newsletter to poke good natured fun at his friend Fred.
It was requested that this piece be published in fond memory of Mr. Stewart's numerous jovial contributions to the Lion newsletter.