Hats off, for good

Uniform hats belonging to former Citadel cadets are among the items donated to benefit the Citadel Women's Club's Annual Garage Sale. Proceeds from Saturday's sale will go toward the John S. Carter Cadet Scholarship Fund.

After four years of marching to The Citadel's demanding drumbeat, many cadets are more than happy to shed their uniforms when they depart.

Thus bits and pieces of their college careers are left in the slipstream, like remnants of a battle that tell a story without speaking a word.

These are the things that are gathered from the barracks and trash bins by The Citadel Women's Club and sold to the public at an annual garage sale.

Saturday marks the 15th year of the event and promises to be the biggest of them all, according to Tanya Hanchon, chairwoman of the sale and wife of a Citadel professor.

"There's everything from camouflage to cleaning supplies," Hanchon said as she looked out over the gymnasium floor filled with items for sale. "There are shakos, raincoats, full uniforms, wool coats, cleaning supplies, PT uniforms, shoes, boots, belts, brass and sabers. Anything you can think of, we have."

The yard sale is open to the public and runs from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday in Deas Hall on The Citadel campus.

Dumpster diving

About three-quarters of the items on sale are donated by Citadel alumni and the rest are from the cadets.

"We literally Dumpster-dive to get some of this stuff they just throw away when they leave for the summer," Hanchon said.

The rest is a menagerie of electronic equipment, books, shoes, office supplies, school supplies, housewares, irons, lamps, linens, luggage, toys, furniture and cadet clothing.

All clothing items have been cleaned and all electronics have been tested, Hanchon said.

"Civil War re-enactors really like to get this stuff," she said.

Started in 1995 with just four card tables piled with leftover items, this sale has grown to where it collects up to $25,000 that is used for cadet scholarships.

Any items that don't sell are donated to local charities.

No saluting

Items once fussed over and considered sacred by cadets during their time at the military school along the Ashley River are now laid out like outgrown baby clothes.

In previous years, the yard sale has been held in the Altman Center at Johnson Hagood Stadium. But this year it will be on campus at Deas Hall, where all items are displayed in an air-conditioned, 14,500-square-foot room.

While this is a better venue, event planners worry that some people might shy away from coming onto The Citadel campus for fear of the unknown.

"I promise," Hanchon said, "There are signs pointing you to the building, plenty of free parking and nobody will make you salute."