Emerald Grove’s Humpty Dumpty is for sale after Milton parade

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Monday, June 29, 2009
— Who would want a 5-foot Humpty Dumpty?

You probably should ask: Who wouldn’t?

People are flocking into Emerald City Collectibles in Emerald Grove, lured off Highway 14 by a smiling egg.

This jaunty guy sits outside the shop wearing red pants and a cocked blue cap. His fiberglass innards render him awkward but not heavy.

Travelers stop to take pictures with Humpty and sometimes with the life-sized SpongeBob SquarePants nearby.

At least 30 people have expressed interest in carting Humpty home, shop owner Huey Long Jr. said.

Several of the would-be buyers sell eggs. Others own chickens.

One woman visiting from New Orleans has a Humpty Dumpty collection. She wondered how she’d get this one home, doubting the egg would fit in a plane seat. Long suggested lashing it on top of a car and enjoying the stares all the way south.

“One guy who lives on the Rock River wants it,” Long said. “He has a stone wall on the river, and that’s where he wants Humpty Dumpty to sit. He’d have Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall.”

Long bought the Humpty off Craig’s List. He’s had it out front of his store for about three months.

Despite the interest, he won’t sell the egg until after Milton’s Fourth of July parade. He and his family are planning to dress in costumes and participate in the parade—depending on the weather—and Humpty would have a place of honor. But Long doesn’t want to sell the egg before the parade and then worry that Humpty will have a great fall.

After the parade, he’ll sell Humpty to the first person who offers cash.

Long set the price at $250 but has been offered more. He’s keeping it at the initial price because he wants to be fair to everybody.

Long is good at getting people to notice his wares: he just plunks his treasure and trash in front of the store to catch the eyes of people passing by.

He sells “anything and everything—whatever makes a buck. Everybody at some time has been here and bought something,” he said.

“My friends say, ‘If I don’t have it, it hasn’t been thrown out yet.’ ”

Long delights in the jumble of salvage items that line the highway.

“The rustier, the better,” he said. “That is my advertisement. It’s called garden art, shabby chic.

“The oddball is what slows ’em up driving by.”

There’s a wooden boat, a wooden Indian and a giant tree trunk large enough to fit six inside. There’s iron fencing, horse-drawn equipment, sleighs and buckboards.

Long has letters from the old Ramada and Oasis signs. He also scooped up the Oasis gas pumps.

Travelers are particularly enticed by a black 1959 Renault Dauphine, Long said. But with its high price, it’s been there a long time.

“If I never sell it, who cares?” Long said.

“It draws a lot of people off the road.”

Just like the big egg.

And who wouldn’t want a big egg?

Last updated: 10:33 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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