It began with a post from “Lurkerbee” in the My Ballard forum asking for ideas on how to sell a few possessions, including her grandmother’s jewelry, to raise money for a rent payment. “I need to come up with some money in the next couple of days,” she explained. “It really is tough being unemployed.”
The forum post exploded as readers offered ideas on how to help. One idea was to throw a yard sale, and WildernessBarbie offering the front yard of her house to hold the event. “Hey! This is shaping up to be a plan!” wrote PennyGirl. “Could we patch something together in the next 24 hours?”
That was Thursday night, and this Saturday morning, nearly two dozen Ballardites dropped off hundreds of items to sell at a yard sale to raise money for Lurkerbee. A steady stream of people bought clothing, books, furniture and even a chandelier, raising over $900.
“It’s amazing,” said Lurkerbee at the event, who doesn’t want her real name publicized. “I don’t know what to say.” A few hours later, she posted a note on the forum. “Thank you all for your time, your emotional support, your items for the sale, thank you WildernessBarbie for the use of your home, and most of all, thank you all so much for caring about a complete stranger,” she wrote. “I will never forget it. Never in a million years did I anticipate this.”
The night before, a few dozen Ballard residents gathered at Golden Gardens Park in an impromptu get-together organized on the forum.
Many wore name tags displaying their forum names and avatars, printed up by iPlod, who wore his tag on his hat. They passed around a donation bucket for Lurkerbee which read, “Ballardites helping Ballardites.”
“There are so many times when we feel the Internet is something that keeps us distant,” said SunriseSunset, who helped organize the yard sale, and recently turned 71 years old. “It brought us all together through the Internet. It’s more like the old days in Ballard — I’ve been here since 1943 — that we can get together, meet each other, have fun and help each other.”