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Need a flag for Memorial Day? Jan Hartman, the Flag Lady, can help. A patriotic "Army brat," Hartman started out 16 years ago selling flags in Strafford. In 2001, she moved to a bilevel building at Lancaster Avenue and Conestoga Road in Wayne, where she has been ever since.
She sells other gift items upstairs, and Old Glory downstairs. There are small desk flags for $2.50. There are the bundles of 12 flags, good for waving at parades, priced at $8. But most people ask for the 3-by-5-foot Stars and Stripes, priced at $49.30.
Linda Sall of Villanova did on May 11. She set her faded, 20-year-old flag on the counter, neatly folded, and "replaced" it. Old flag in; new flag out.
"We'll hang it high on the side of the house where people can see it," Sall said.
Hartman takes home the tattered flags that her customers surrender, then retires them herself or asks a local veterans' group to do so. To retire an American flag properly, you remove the cloth banner from its flagpole, burn it, and bury the ashes.
What else: Hartman also makes flags and themed banners to order. All she needs to get started is an e-mailed or faxed design. People send family crests, club insignias, or other images that have meaning.
"If it can be on paper, it can be on fabric," Hartman said.
Shore-goers like custom-made flags for their beach homes; the most popular at the South Jersey Shore are the flags of Ireland and Italy, she said. History buffs like the "Betsy Ross" flag, and some college students ask for the Confederate flag to decorate dorm rooms. Municipalities or proud residents might want to fly their state flag.
There's a big demand for Maryland's, and of course, Pennsylvania's. The latter, which costs $36.70, shows the state crest - two horses, an eagle and a plow, set in a field of royal blue. The flag has gold fringe, for inside use only. It reads, "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence."
Where: 398 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; 610-964-6280.
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
- Bonnie L. Cook