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August 14, 1998     Cape Gazette
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August 14, 1998

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22 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 14 - August 20, 1998 CAPE LIFE Live auctions making comeback in Rehoboth night life Stein Memorial Charity Auction headed for Bandstand on Aug. 15 By Trish Vernon Everything goes in cycles and while the era of white gloves and pearls may never again be seen on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, the auctions that many people in that garb would visit in the 1950s and 1960s seem to be making a comeback. Visitors and residents of the Cape Region have a couple of op- portunities to enjoy this resur- gence in evening social life this month, as the Maurice Stein Memorial Auction will again be held under the stars on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand, and Stuart Kingston Galleries has resumed its long- time tradition of night-time auc- tions, albeit, on a smaller scale. These two traditions go hand- in-hand, of course, as both are the brainchilds of the Stein family, owners of Stuart Kingston and synonomous with the word auc- tion in the Cape Region. Jay Stein, who now heads the family firm, recalls the 20-some years they manned the auctions six nights a week (Sunday was dark), from mid-June to Labor Day weekend, from their location at the Henlopen Hotel on the north end of the Boardwalk until 1993. "We slowly got away from the nightly events, because they weren't that well-attended," as they reverted to holding the auc- tions only on weekends and then abandoned them all together. Jay's late son, J.J., wanted to con- centrate more on the estate sales, I which they held four times a year and much of his efforts went into procuring the merchandise. It was Jay's daughter, Manria's inspiration to hold the first in- house auction in more than four years on Aug. 2, featuring more than 100 items from an inventory of oriental rugs, fine jewelry, sil- ver, paintings, antique and repro- duction furniture and objets d'art. "The enthusiastic turnout was incredible," Jay noted. "There was never a lull, just like the old days, with people peeking in the win- dows to see what was happening inside," as they asked trivia ques- tions such as "who was the mayor of Rehoboth Beach when the Storm of '62 hit?" and threw out stuffed animals into the crowd. Mauria said she believes many people were attracted to the auc- tion because there were no buy- er's premiums or registration nec- essary in order to bid. All that was necessary was to try and squeeze through the standing- room-only crowd that evening. Due to the success of this initial venture, Mauria said they plan to hold a second auction on Sunday, Aug. 23, at the Stuart Kingston Galleries, with doors opening at 7 p.m., and the action beginning at 8 p.m. What made the evening espe- cially interesting, Mauria noted, was that her father was the only one on the staff that night with prior auction experience. "It was definitely 'on-the-job training,' " she laughed, pleased with the overwhelming success of the event. Jay had a different "About half of the people there were regular clients and people Continued on page 24 Above, Stuart Kingston Galleries' Jay Stein stands in the midst of the crowd during the hey- day of the auction era in Rehoboth Beach. The tradition slowly ended at the beginning of the decade until his daughter, Mauria, organized an auction earlier this month, which was over- whelmingly successful. Another is planned for Sunday, Aug. 23. Below is a scene captured in August 1955, during the 7th Annual Charity Auction sponsored by the Rehoboth Beach Kiwa- nis Club, of which Stein's father, Maurice, was a member. Shown on stage are (l-r) Mel Stein, Mike Fabrizio, Maurice Stein, Eddie Salt and Sydney Cohan. Below are Jack McManus, Jim Lynch, Gene Russell, an unnamed clerk and Joe Vansant. The annual charity auction is cele- brating its 50th anniversay andwill be held on the Boardwalk Saturday, Aug. 15. Watching 'Celebrity Wedding' a cure for writer's block Many people often ask me what I do when I have writer's block? The key word here being "When." Since I am afflicted with this con- dition every Waking moment of my life, and never have to deal with the "when" part of it, I have devised ways to deal with situa- tions, which could be described as having your back against the wall. Often the answer is very simple. Normally, when facing a dead- line, I try to immerse myself in something substantial and educa- tional. Something that gets my mind focused, like watching the television show "Celebrity Wed- dings." I never realized that the more important the celebrity, the later the time the actual ceremony is scheduled, which probably ex- plains the course of my own mar- riage, which took place at 10 in the morning. But say you were a really high- AROUND TOWN Nancy Katz profile model, like Cindy Craw- ford. You would probably ex- change vows around midnight and then party until dawn. The reason for this is it doesn't really matter who you married anyway, since the most important thing that will occupy your life for the next 20 years is plastic surgery. You see, it is minutia like this that so con- sumes intellectuals like myself that I end up submitting actual dri- vel when it is deadline time. Which is an easy way out for me, since it is what my readers have come to expect anyway. But many of us find ourselves in these desperate situations at home and in social settings. For in- stance, short-term memory loss is right up there. Many people mis- take this as a senior moment. But it is very common in younger peo- ple also. You find yourself heading up- stairs quickly, intent on some very important purpose. But once in the bedroom, you can't remember what was the purpose of your pur- suit. You feel like part of a ''Twi- light Zone" episode, wandering around and muttering to yourself and retracing your steps. "Let's see, I was standing near the phone, when I put my coat on to come up here .... " Your mind doesn't buy this. It is the same logic used by people now wearing orange jump suits and sitting in a lot of county jails. It's only when you arrive back downstairs that you realize the guy climbing in your window, wearing a mask and carrying a duffel bag was probably the thud you went to investigate. And there is incredible pain when you run out of a house at a high rate of speed and forget to open the door. Social gatherings are more of an embarrassment when you desper- ately try to retrieve some informa- tion. Take the introduction. You can't remember the name and that someone stretching out their hand looks so familiar. You make small talk about that wart on the bottom of your foot and the devices you've used to ex- coriate it, hoping for some clue or connection. But it's only when your back is turned you hear the words, "May I present her majesty, Queen Elizabeth..." Well, a lot of people wear tiaras. In fact, the whole office where I work is wearing one or has one on their desks. But these little blocks or glitch- es in life should be taken more in stride. We should maybe take a lesson from the animal popula- tion. A dog will wake up from a sound sleep, startled. He will tilt his head and listen. Something about those packed suitcases by the door and talk of a boarding kennel where they use choke col- lars. But then he will sit back down and go to sleep, comforted in the knowledge he's eaten all the air- line tickets and the keys to the car. Sometimes the answers to these blockages never really need any explanation. Like right now, I can't remember my middle name.