It’s not so much a place as an event. It opens its doors to the public several times each year. It has its greatest visibility during the annual Holidays-on-the-Hill Bazaar at Christmas time. It is a Happening. It is the face of St. David’s to the world.
It is Grannies’ Attic, a formidable endeavor that brings parishioners together to attract bargain-hunters, window shoppers, and families looking to spend a little to get a lot. It is a yard sale, a fund-raiser, but it is so much more than that. It is a coming- together of parishioners. It is a tradition, one that taps into the best from our members, that endures season after season, that renews with each new parishioner who joins up over the years to lend their special assistance to the event. This is a story that deserves telling.
Consider the sheer number of people behind each Grannies’ Attic event:
• The parishioners who bring their goods to church for sale;
• The Grannies, who go through each and every piece to assess, price, and label each piece with a price tag;
• The Grannies again, who organize everything on tables and racks, categorized and displayed attractively to shoppers and buyers;
• The helpers who move the tables and the goods into place;
• The parishioners who “man the store” during sale hours, handle the cash transactions, and tally up the sales;
• Those who clean up after the sale;
• Those who bundle up the leftovers;
• Those who transport leftovers to the Savers consignment store to be weighed and priced, resulting in revenue for St. David’s in addition to the revenue made from sales.
Grannies’ Attic has a long history at St. David’s, going back several decades, maybe five. It was originally held in what was called the Baltic Room, now Fr. Peter's Office. Next it moved to the Sunday School area, with each room having a different class of items: clothes, kitchen items, toys, etc. Over time the sales grew and it was moved to the Lower Hall in the fall, along with the Holiday-on-the Hill Bazaar, and in the spring to the Upper Hall.
We credit Doris Cameron as being the original Grannie, but Doris gave the credit to one who was a church member before her, Helene "Gramma Mikki" Mikkelsen, thus the name Gramma/Grannie's Atttic.
Over the years there have been many Grannies. The current Grannies’ Attic team of regulars who organize and carry out the entire operation include Evie Bain and Evelyn Seiffert, who are the team leaders, along with Gladys Smith, Martha Cornell, Barbara Rose and Betsy Barber. Many other Grannies and Honorary Grannies have served in the past, and those today, like their predecessors, do their part at every stage of preparation and execution.
The event is marketed on TV, in newspapers, on websites and to friends as the best INDOOR YARD SALE around. We have our regular customers who return sale after sale. We have begun to market to our Spanish neighbors through a translation of our flyer into Spanish by a relative of one of our parishioners. The Parish Pre-Sale event, a parishioners-only timeslot the night before each sale, began three years ago and has its own group of followers.
The set-up and take-down phases of the sale are the most complex and require the most help. There is a job and a place for everyone, and everyone is welcome to participate. Anyone wanting to join in should just speak to one of the crew or leave your name and number with the parish office. You WILL be called to help with some phase of the sale.
This year close to thirty members of the congregation participated in various roles, and every role contributes to the success of the event. That number does not include the many, many others who drop off the items to be sold and those who come to buy.
Grannies’ Attic is the bringing together of many individuals with the purpose of selling second-hand goods to people who will give them a second life, and in so doing benefit the church. It is a team effort, whose members are committed to preserving and augmenting this venerable tradition. With their love, dedication and hard work, the Grannies can be said to be at the core of St. David’s mission, the very heart of a community of Christian values, of caring for others and serving those in need, for which generations of Rhode Islanders offer a fervent and resounding "Thank you!"