As a teenager I used to live within a hundred yards of Sarge’s Pawn Shop in Ponders Corner. In those days it was crowded up against the Rainbow Motel and steps away from the Abba Dabba Café. My parents owned La Casa Motel. Quite often I would be sent to the Abba Dabba to get change for our office. Now, there is a parking strip and off street parking.
Sometimes people stopping in at the motel would sell various items. I know my father bought a 1954 Plymouth station wagon and a 1953 Hudson Hornet for $25 each. The Plymouth got me back and forth to Olympic College in Bremerton for one term. I think both cars were driven down the Alcan Highway. My mom bought a ton of antiques from returning soldiers from Germany. Many other items owned by G.I.s wound up for sale at Sarge’s. I kept an eye on his inventory, and drooled.
Among other things, I bought a red and white electric guitar, a Polaroid Camera, a portable record player, and a Mauser 98. As a teenager, the record player was my pride and joy. I lived upstairs with a bathroom, bedroom, and living room with my own pool table. I joined the Columbia Record Club jointly with my cousin Lindy. My buddies would come over to play pool, eat pizza from the Roma, and listen to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, and James Brown. For a while, I tried playing the electric guitar. I could have been another Eric Clapton . . . if I had talent.
The camera was sold at a garage sale, the Mauser killed many saplings along Delano Bay, and the record player was stolen when I left it overnight at a rental house I was painting.
I still like to visit pawn shops; however, if you make an offer and they accept, then you paid too much. I used to travel to the furthest away Husky football game each year. Tucson, was my favorite place for pawn shops. Once, as I haggled over a silver brooch for my wife, the shop owner stopped and asked me, “Are you a professional?”
When my wife and I produced the Video Realty program on local cable, I bought microphones and other gear from a pawn shop between Ponders Corner and the old Gov Mart on Pacific Highway. Actually, I didn’t buy the equipment, we traded commercials on our TV program. My wife Peggy made the deal. Locally, I like Randy’s on South Tacoma Way. Ross Barde took it over from his dad, Warren. Warren was always good to donate to Rotary (he was a member of the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8). Ross, a member of South Tacoma Rotary, always gave me a better deal; however, I don’t think he told his dad.
My daughter and her husband have taken the bus tour in Las Vegas and drove by the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop owned by Rick Harrison. I always liked their Pawn Stars program on TV. With almost every treasure people brought in, you learned something about history. I would like to shop there, but am content to stay here. I shop on eBay . . . but some day I might actually go back and visit Sarge . . . after I sharpen my bargaining skills.