A memorable day

By on August 27, 2014

Sketch Mearig collection big draw at park antique show

Linda Neiss of Lititz delights in her find at the antique show, a pair of glasses that used to belong to her father, Lititz optometrist C. L. Wertsch. (photos by Lynn Rebuck)

Linda Neiss of Lititz delights in her find at the antique show, a pair of glasses that used to belong to her father, Lititz optometrist C. L. Wertsch. (photos by Lynn Rebuck)

Collectors of all things Lititz had a fresh market of local memorabilia to choose from at this year’s Lititz Springs Park Fall Antique Show, thanks mainly to the recent estate auction of a well-known Lititz resident, the late Robert “Sketch” Mearig.

More than one dealer showcased their new acquisitions, and for some shoppers, like Linda Neiss, it led to quite a surprise.

“Oh my gosh, that is so cool!” Neiss exclaimed when she discovered a pair of green clip-on sunglasses in a leather case dispensed by her father, Lititz optometrist Dr. C. L. Wertsch. Local dealer Dave Sharp had obtained the glasses at Mearig’s auction, along with some old Lititz High School photographs.

“A lot of people are finding relatives and finding themselves in pictures,” he said.

He said Lititz historian Ron Reedy purchased a photo of his sister, and one woman found both her mother and best friend pictured in class photographs.

Neiss believed she might have spotted her brother in one of the photos. After she purchased the glasses, she recalled growing up on Main Street, where her father’s optometry office occupied the front part of their home.

“It brings back a lot of memories,” she said as she fought back tears.

Sharp, who has sold at the show since its inception, received a Lititz history lesson from shoppers as they browsed the fresh-to-market Mearig photos.

“I’m learning a lot from people,” he said, pointing out details on a Lititz High School boys basketball team photo taken in 1919. It was one of many images popular with Lititz antique shoppers at the show.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the park, more of Mearig’s wares went to market. Lititz antique vendor Jerry Striker was surprised at how quickly one item in particular was selling.

“I had like 40 Lititz yardsticks,” Striker said. “They’re selling like hotcakes.”

Toward the end of the day, he had fewer than a dozen left, including yardsticks from Bingaman’s Clothing and Beck Brothers Furniture. Striker purchased the lot less than two weeks ago, along with photos from the Eby shoe factory.

While some came to the park hoping to add to their collections, Michael Soslow of Lititz wasn’t expecting to buy anything while browsing with his wife, Beth. That sentiment changed when he spotted a certain beverage collectible.

For the Soslows, it came down to that age-old question: Coke or Pepsi?

After noticing some Pepsi paraphernalia, Michael decided to keep an eye out for antiques from a competing soft drink. Then some pale green glass caught his eye.

“Our kids are making a Coke room,” he said, balancing a wooden Coca Cola box filled with the classic bottles. “We bought them as a gift for our daughter-in-law.”

As he and his wife were interviewed, the couple was surprised to learn from a different dealer that stamped on the bottom of each glass was the name of the town where the beverage was bottled. They quickly turned them over one by one to discover that they had purchased bottles from Lancaster, Atlantic City, and East Liverpool, N.Y.

“Now we’re hooked,” he said.

The big surprise for vendors may have been the break in the weather. For dealer Suzanne Kopp, whose extensive antique kitchen furniture collection was displayed without a tarp overhead, the threat of rain was a concern.

“We debated whether to set up today,” she said as her husband worked with customers. Tufted gray clouds hung in the sky looking like the broad back of a Victorian couch, but somehow the show continued unhindered by rain. When a few light sprinkles fell, some dealers hurried to put away their most sensitive pieces, like tin and other metals.

Kopp had heard reports from customers that it had rained all around the Lititz area, but remarkably the park had been spared a downpour.

“Prayers are answered,” she said.

Lynn Rebuck is a freelance photojournalist for the Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions by email at LynnRebuckRecord@yahoo.com.

About editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *