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Doug Clark: Auction to challenge hoarders’ restraint

Marianne Guenther Bornhoft is helping organize an auction of items from Applebee’s in Spokane Valley. (Dan Pelle)
Marianne Guenther Bornhoft is helping organize an auction of items from Applebee’s in Spokane Valley. (Dan Pelle)

A sinister part of me would rather not be spreading the word about the hundreds upon hundreds of collectibles that will be auctioned Thursday night inside the Spokane Valley Applebee’s restaurant at Mission and Pines.

Applebee’s, you see, will soon be updating its décor.

So the management decided to let the public bid on the eye-catching items that have been displayed on the restaurant’s walls for years. Most of the items were donated back when the restaurant opened its doors. The idea was to infuse the business with local flavor.

Items like vintage advertising signs, say.

And celebrity photographs. And movie posters. And Valley high school band uniforms.

And musical instruments. And old fishing gear …

Oh, yeah. There’s also a trove of sports memorabilia.

Some Cougar stuff, for example. Plus an entire wall devoted to Kevin Stocker, the Central Valley High School baseball standout who went on to major league fame with the Philadelphia Phillies.

I can’t deny it. It would be nice to go to the 7 p.m. auction and not have to compete with the horde of bidders who are sure to be there.

But that would be wrong for a couple of reasons.

Reason one is that my lovely wife, Sherry, already thinks I’m a candidate for that TV show, “Hoarders.”

She has a point. Over the years I have lugged home load after load of “cool stuff” that I purchased without giving the least thought as to where any of it would go.

FACT: I once moved Sherry’s hope chest into the dining room so I could have a nice central location to display the 1955 jukebox I bought from my friend Benny.

Lately Sherry’s been trying to get me to memorize this crazy new mantra.

“Just because there’s a lot of cool stuff doesn’t mean it has to be your cool stuff.”

But here’s the second reason that I wouldn’t want to hog the Applebee’s auction to myself.

All the money raised from it will go to the Windermere Foundation. This charity was designed to provide shelter, clothing and other assistance to families in crisis, said Marianne Guenther Bornhoft.

Bornhoft is a Realtor and the Spokane area’s estate sale queen.

I consider this woman to be not only a good friend, but one of my main suppliers when it comes to feeding my collectaholic addictions.

Here’s all you need to know about our relationship.

She once sold me a professionally framed, color photograph of President Richard Nixon and hand carried it to the newspaper for delivery.

I proudly took it home. Come on. Who has a Nixon portrait?

Sherry hid it in the attic.

Bornhoft, who is organizing the Applebee’s auction, gave me a sneak peek on Monday morning. Here are some of the notes I jotted down while ogling the goods.

• West Valley Eagles band uniform.

• CV Bears stuff. Cool.

• Old Harmony guitar. Electric.

• Beatles poster.

• Beer & alcohol signage.

• Fire & cops items.

• Cowboys. Roy Rogers. Clint.

• Local racecar legend Tom Sneva.

• Sign says: “Beware of strong drink. It can make you shoot at bill collectors … and miss.”

A metal sign advertising a soft drink called “Punch” caught my attention. On it Joe Louis, the great heavyweight, poses with the words, “It’s a knockout.”

Now that’s something I’d go crazy on.

Bornhoft told me a similar auction last week at the Coeur d’Alene Applebee’s raised $6,300 for the foundation. An auction at the north Spokane Applebee’s has been scheduled for July 14. That restaurant, I’m told, has a lot of Mead and Gonzaga goodies.

“We plan on spending the whole evening here into the wee hours,” she said, adding that the Stocker pieces will be auctioned around 11:30 p.m. with school keepsakes to follow.

Professional auctioneer Rose Backs will be in charge. The items are grouped in 25 sections that will be auctioned off in order.

If you see me there, whatever you do, try to outbid me.

Sherry says our attic can’t hold any more treasure.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at