Sunday, April 01, 2001

Prize possessions

Garage sales collector's cup of tea

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer contributor

Yolanda Rodriguez and one of her 82 teapots.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
        Who: Yolanda Rodriguez, 55, a self-described “housewife and garage sale lover” who collects teapots.

        Where: Throughout the Liberty Township home she shares with husband, Luis, their children, Maite, 25, Jessica, 22, Luis, 19, and dogs Tat and Sandy.

        On display: Eighty-two teapots and teapot-related items including: miniature tea sets, Christmas ornaments, lamps, a wind chime, trivets, candleholders, hand-embroidered kitchen towels and pillows.

        “My teapots are all over,” Mrs. Rodriguez admits. “My husband doesn't know what to do with them. I think that sometimes he gets tired of looking at them.”

        Put on the kettle: Mrs. Rodriguez started collecting teapots 15 years ago when she was living in Texas.

        “My best friend there, Pam Bryant, is a teapot freak,” she says with a giggle. “Her collection is absolutely beautiful, and I always admired it. So, one year, she gave me one for my birthday. It is white with pale blue flowers and was made in Germany.

        “That started it all; after that, I was hooked.”

        A nice cuppa: “One of the best things about collecting teapots is it doesn't cost a lot of money,” Mrs. Rodriguez says. She almost never spends more than a couple of dollars on any one item. The only exception is a black-and-white Anthony Mark Hankins teapot she purchased a few years ago from Home Shopping Network. Otherwise, she shops at Big Lots and garage sales.

        That's an understatement: “I love garage sales,” Mrs. Rodriguez sighs. “I go three times a week looking for teapots and whatever else I might find.”

        Over the years she has developed a routine.

        “First, I check the newspaper, to find garage sales in the big subdivisions where rich people live. Thursdays, I go to the "early bird' sales with my neighbor Diane Burkhart. Then, on Fridays and Saturdays I go with my daughters.”

        No tea? “We take coffee and sometimes cookies,” she adds, “Because we are usually on the go. We don't stop for lunch or anything. We keep on going.

        “Last year we hit 450-something sales.”

        The first thing she does upon arrival at a garage sale is look for teapots. “If one is there,” she says, “It is mine. I don't want anyone else touching my teapots.”

        What are your prize possessions? Show them off by writing to Marsie Hall Newbold, c/o Tempo, Prize Possessions, The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202 or e-mail


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