As tolerable fall temperatures turn to cold wintry winds, outdoor flea markets seem hard to come by. Since 2004, Simone Zoladz, with the help of her dedicated vendors, has helped to fill that void.
On Jan. 5, Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Linwood will host its second of four winter indoor flea markets - with booked vendors and unique finds available for sale. Each year, the event functions as a fundraiser for the church's youth group.
Table after table at the church hall will fill with antiques, collectibles and anything else vendors may find while clearing out their basements and garages. But of all the personal belongings to be sold that day, one returning vendor plans to sell something a bit more personal.
Gregory Young, of Somers Point, has reserved a table at the Linwood church intermittently for eight years.
As many of his neighboring sellers display old jewelry and sports memorabilia, the local author plans to sell his self-published trilogy, "A Father, A Son, and A House Full of Ghosts" - a series based on experiences of three ghosts that he said live at his Somers Point home that he shares with his son, Joey, 17.
He will sell all three installments, the most recent of which was completed within the past two years, he said.
Beginning in 2004, Young has written what he knows. His day job as a fourth-grade teacher in Lower Township inspired him to write a book of school plays. Bitterness he felt following a divorce prepared him to write about relationships.
"I put all my thoughts on paper," he said.
But, currently he is focusing on selling his tales of living in a haunted house.
"I was just looking for a venue to sell," he said of the flea market opportunity. "I called Simone, she was like, 'Yeah, we can have an open spot for you,' and that's how I started. … The first time I sold 12 books and I thought, 'This is it. This is the beginning.'"
Some who pick up the book tell Young it's the only book they have ever successfully read, he said. Whether they believe the stories to be true once they leave the church hall is a different story.
"It's 100 percent true, in my opinion. Some people maybe read it for entertainment or to connect to their own personal stories. People will take it for what it is," he said.
He claimed the "easy read" to be a spiritual experience, rather than a frightening paranormal read.
"It's nothing (like what) you see on TV," he said. "The spirits here are very good, very friendly. It's like Casper the Ghost - they are here more to guide and protect."
Part one will sell for $10.95 and parts two and three will sell for $11.95.
And although his table this year also will include some old music equipment and golf balls from his garage and basement, his main objective is to sell his literature. He has sold at various local spots, craft shows and street fairs, yet he still is drawn to the friendly atmosphere of the flea market at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, he said.
"I still like to come back and do the flea market every once in a while. It's really fun," he said. "It (involves) really good people. There's a lot of laughs.
Zoladz has prepared for a Jan. 12 rain date, as predictions for snowy weather arise.
"People will be chomping at the bit to get out," she said of the event, which usually attracts people at its doors before 7 a.m. The event formally opens from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"It's a fun experience. Just to see what people sell - if nothing else," she said.
Contact Caitlin Honan:
If you go
What: Indoor flea market
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 5
Where: Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 724 Maple Ave., Linwood
More info: Call 609-927-0569