It all started with the very first sale in Tyrol, by frail Mrs Linton of all people.
And after her death, the event simply carried on, growing in leaps and bounds and even managing to survive the war.
I'm talking of course about the annual gathering of Chalet School parents who, after a certain event on the school's calendar, meet to dispose of, swop and downright destroy, the multitude of items their daughters have presented them with.
Over the years more and more parents were secretly invited to join but only after the organiser was sure the news would not be leaked to Joey.
Let's listen in on one such gathering.
It was a dark and stormy night when two people dressed in long overcoats, dark glasses and hats with the hoods pulled down low, came shuffling along a deserted alleyway.
The man carried a large cardboard box, while the woman had several plastic shopping bags where a glimpse of fretwork brackets and jigsaw puzzle pieces could be seen.
They stopped outside a doorway.
"I think this is it," the woman whispered glancing furtively around.
The man took a deep breath and rapped out SOS (Selling Our Stuff) on the door.
It swung open and both took a deep breath of relief. The room was packed full of men and women, most divesting themselves of the heavy coats, scarves, glasses and other disguises they had used.
With a sigh Mr and Mrs Dene put their loads down.
"I just wish that the school would not encourage the girls to spend ALL their money just so they can say the sale was sold out," Mrs Dene overheard.
"And what can one say?" queried another woman nodding in agreement. "The San is a good cause so I can't tell Gretchen not to buy so much. And I still have Carlotta coming though the school."
Looking closer Mrs Dene saw it was Frieda von Ahlen. "Good heavens," she thought. "She gave in."
Frieda turned and smiled. "But none of us have it as bad as Mr and Mrs Dene. Rosalie NEVER left the school so they have souvenirs from every single sale."
A round of applause broke out and Mr Dene laughingly bowed.
"All right, we are all here now so let's get started," a tall stately woman who Mrs Dene recognised as Mrs Chester. In fact, the whole Chester/Ozanne/Lucy clan was there including a few of the sons who were clearly not happy with the range of fretwork idiocy they had been presented with over the years.
"Please go through everything you have brought. All the items which you feel could be swopped or auctioned off go on the tables. Everything else goes in the corner on the plastic sheets.
"And remember the rules," she continued glaring balefully around. "If you see anything that was created by your daughter you are not to get upset. Simply buy it back."
Most of the experienced parents had already divided their things into these two categories and slowly some truly hideous items appeared on the sheets.
"You really don't want this?" Mrs Herbert said holding up an embroidered tea tray cloth done by Madge Herbert years ago.
"We simply don't have the time or the energy for formal afternoon tea," Mrs Carey said apologetically. "Clem won a china coffee set years ago and oh, the trouble I had getting rid of it piece by piece."
Mrs Herbert nodded. "I know. I keep telling Madge people use plastic tablecloths, tissues and paper napkins now. But every birthday she still presents me with yet another thing I will never use."
"When it's one's own girl, it's hard to get rid of them,'" Mrs Carey said linking arms with the other woman as they walked off. "I thank God daily that Mary-Lou has no skill in arts and crafts. And that scrapbooks burn easily."
"Why do you still have so much?" Mr Lambert asked Mr Dene running his fingers carelessly though a box of assorted jigsaw puzzle pieces. "Don't you come regularly to this event?"
Mr Dene groaned. "Normally we only get rid of the things Rosalie sent us that particular year. But we are moving, so we emptied out the attic last month and found all this junk. She was on a rare visit home as well so we couldn't even have a bonfire.
"Here, throw these pipe brackets there as well. I don't even smoke, but I have 12 of them."
Mrs Dene had met up with her sister Mrs Burnett who was lamenting the fact that her girls refused to even consider any other school to work at.
"When Mary left I thought it was over," she said. "But then Peggy joined. I begged her not to. I even bought her a new car. But what did she do - she took it WITH her!"
"Did you try hiding the acceptance letter?" Mrs Dene asked gently.
"She stalked the postman for days. When Betty applies, I plan on setting fire to the post office before her letter reaches her.
"I know you have it bad with Rosalie still being there, but the thought of having two daughters there as teachers, sends a shudder down my spine.
"Joey checks their bags to ensure they have bought something from each and every one of their students before they are allowed to leave the hall," Mrs Burnett practically wailed.
"I thought that was an urban myth," Mrs Dene said horrified.
"Mary broke down and confessed to me one day after I had exhausted my vocabulary of expletives about the large number of tie-dyed products she had brought home with her."
"The Dying to Dye sale," Mrs Dene said with a groan. "May we never have to live through that again."
"Is that a GOLLIWOG?" Mrs Gay asked.
"Yes," Mrs Lucy answered shortly.
"Julie didn't even win it. I heard that the kid who did win got into trouble with the prefects and she handed it over to Julie as a bribe to keep her quiet.
"For years it's propped up the nursery door and I hoped she would take it with her when she left home last year. But since she hasn't ..." Mrs Lucy threw Empydockles onto the plastic sheet pile with a malicious glee.
"At least none of Tom's doll houses have ever appeared here," she said.
"That's true. But they are big and heavy so it's possible that they are simply too large to carry. But I have seen room sections and the odd piece of furniture make its way to the SOS event," Mrs Gay said.
"Doesn't Tom make things for you?" Mrs Lucy asked curiously. "I ask because my youngest has now developed an interest in that area and will probably take over doll house making duties."
"Oh yes, she suggests it," Mrs Gay said. "But I continually hint that the doll's house for the school is MUCH more important. And I don't mind telling you that I have occasionally sabotaged Tom's work halfway through so she has to spend more time fixing it."
There was a crash as a china pot was dropped. Dr Graves murmured an apology to Mrs Peters who came by to help sweep up the pieces.
She smiled at him, which quickly faded as she saw the vast array of vases, ornaments, decorative plates, mugs, cups and other assorted crockery on the table. "Is that a funeral urn?" she asked.
"Yes," Dr Graves said. "And that's just the start. Look over there."
With a flourish, he waved at the other end of the table which was covered with saint's medallions, statues, crucifixes, holy water bottles, even a baptism font.
"But ... what on earth are those things doing here?" Mrs Peters stammered.
"Religions of the World sale," was the reply. "I think you were ill at the time so your husband used that as an excuse to keep you all at home."
"I knew I loved that man for a reason," Mrs Peters replied. "But what will you do with all this?"
"Had a word with a parish priest who has agreed to take them off my hands," Dr Graves replied. "If not, I was willing to destroy them all and then do penance."
The Ozanne boys were tearing up the stuffed toys including a pink rabbit that continually flopped over.
"They ... weren't ... even ... cuddly," Bill Ozanne said tearing away viciously. Next to him, John Chester was bashing away at a paper mache puppet head with a hammer.
"I know," said Dr Rosomon, joining in by ripping off a blue dog's head. "My two boys were given so many unsuitable toys that when Mary came along I forbade any Chalet sale stuff in her nursery.
"Joey's still not talking to me," he added grinning.
Over in the corner Paul Ozanne was firmly pointing out that the large bedizened silver set would simply not burn. A tearful Mrs de Bersac agreed and Mrs Ozanne helped her carry it to a table.
"I begged Tessa to win a cake," Mrs de Bersac said. "Then she came home with this monstrosity. I heard the sale was actually washed out that year but Tessa STILL had time to win this.
"I refused to talk to her all Christmas. I was simply too scared of what I would say."
Mrs Ozanne nodded. "But be grateful she is your only one. My family has had 10 girls go through the school. And the first round of grandchildren will start soon. But I am telling my daughters that their girls are staying in Canada.
"You know what. Someone in the UK must know how to melt silver. It might be worth something..."
The two ladies walked off chattering excitedly.
"Does leatherwork burn?" said Count von und zu Whatever looking at the range of belts, coasters and beer mug holders. "And why would Chalet girls make so many stubby holders?"
"They thought they were for candles and Grizel never corrected them," said Dr Shepard coming over with yet another bag of discarded belts and whips. "Don't think we should risk burning them because the smell would be terrible."
"The castle has extensive grounds," the Count replied, looking in disbelief at a two-metre long bullwhip. "I'll take them all and bury them."
Mrs Scott and Lady Carew were seated at a table ripping off painted covers from notepads and calendars. The recycle paper pile next to them was growing.
"The secret is to keep moving," Lady Carew said. "As part of a travelling acting troupe I have always emphasised light baggage and Jane had that dinned into her at an early age.
"But that didn't stop her from buying me a toy wagon, though that came in handy as firewood when we were setting fire to Harfleur in Henry V."
Pretty ditzy Mrs Scott nodded. "I tried to tell Jo that we would eventually be moving back to Kenya. But that did not stop her from buying up a storm at the Shakespeare sale."
"You can't regift?"
"Oh I tried," Mrs Scott said. "But I had a terrible experience when I gave an elderly aunt a shawl right in front of Jo. I saw the look of horror on her face and realised that the shawl was from the Spanish sale.
"I raced upstairs and grabbed an unopened box of hankies. But when I tried to give auntie those instead, Jo burst into tears."
"Let me guess - they were from the Embroidery Everywhere, All The Time sale?" Lady Carew said.
"Jo didn't speak to me for weeks. And I didn't dare give away anything for years just in case it came from a sale. Then the SOS organiser got in touch and I leaped at the chance to attend. I tell you, Lady Carew, this event has just about saved my sanity."
Both ladies looked around contentedly then flinched as the Count had a go at cracking the whip.
Mrs Chester looked over at the tables and called for silence. "As there are so few items available for sale, there is really no point holding an auction."
A murmur went up from the crowd. "How about you help yourself to the things you really want and we'll leave it at that," she continued.
"But we need money to continue the SOS event," Mr Bettany protested.
"How about this," Mr Lovell said. "We have the fire then pass the hat around for donations. And we have plenty of pizza and beer for afterwards, so that should keep us all happy."
The parents reconvened to a deserted field on the outskirts of London where a large bonfire was soon burning merrily.
Each parent solemnly took an item from the discard pile and tossed it on as the rest chanted "Burn, baby burn."
The following year, the sale had a Harry Potter theme and the parents attending gave sickly smiles when they saw the range of stuffed owls/rats/cats, multi-coloured cloaks, fake wands, embroidery showing Voldermort's face and address books/calendars with Harry Potter-themed covers.
Joey was there as well, pretending that she wasn't furious that none of her books had ever been chosen as a sale theme.
"What the heck am I going to do with this stuff," she muttered.
In the corner the SOS organiser smiled. "Hmm... perhaps it's time to bring Joey into the fold," Madge Russell thought.