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Saturday, February 21, 2009

2/20/09 Collections

We’re collectors; rusty antiques mostly. I blame my sickness on my parents (I just reminded Mom recently that everything’s their fault…my kids will blame me for whatever they want, so they’re fair game for me…LOL). But really, my parents drug us to antique stores and shows from the time I was little. I remember one particular trip to my Aunt/Uncle’s in New York where Mom and Dad hit the mother-load. We returned home in our station wagon with Mom, Dad, we five children, and a car load so full my youngest sister (little enough) sat with her head under the Grandmother clock, and my oldest sister and I took turns sitting with our heads through the rungs of the legs of a chair. We didn’t have seatbelts then…I don’t even want to think about what would have happened in an accident. See, it’s a serious contagious illness.

I always loved the Flea Markets and sometimes even the occasional Garage Sale. When DH and I started dating I introduced him to his first flea market…a big one…every Saturday morning in the summer at a local Drive-In Theater. He was hooked, so I guess he can blame me.

We didn’t have “2 nickels to rub together” so we started collecting things that were cheap and available. I took a liking to red-wooden handled kitchen tools from the 40’s-50’s (usually about 50 cents or more...I call it my 'rust collection') and DH gravitated to glass telephone insulators (his friend had a small collection), also about $1. It gave us something to ‘hunt’ for, which made it fun. Since those early years (I have several hundred tools hanging/on shelves in my kitchen…I do enjoy having my collections around me), I’ve moved on to other collections. I’m a gal who embraces change. I’ve collected baking pans, graniteware, wooden spools from mills, stoneware crocks, wooden typeset letters, and metal pie pans. I finally scored the elusive Frisbee pie pan a year ago….yes, that’s how Frisbees were invented; by the pie co. employees on their lunch hour in their parking lot.

For some strange reason I now like tiny wooden German figures and tiny houses/castle blocks. I think it has something to do with my love of Christmas melded with the fact that DH grew up (on an Army base) in Germany. I can’t wait to set them up someday under a tiny tree at Christmas. I’ve even moved on to some new (not antique) items…Polish pottery is my newest love.

DH has stuck by his beloved insulators…he’s now up to about 600 (yea, that's what I said). He’s dabbled in a few others…coins in his youth, bottle openers, rock/mineral specimens (he’s a geologist, no longer working in that field). But he’s always stuck by his insulators. I admire his tenacity (I'm fickle). Do you know there’s actually regional and national shows for insulator collectors? I know, I thought the same thing...it sounds like one step from a Star Wars convention (and don’t tell my boys they have these as my oldest loves his collection of Star Wars toys), but interestingly (to me it was), it’s not a nerdfest…there’s a cross-section of America/the World actually collecting everything. We’ve also filled our home with inexpensive primitive antique furniture and have stripped and refinished more furniture than anyone should in a lifetime. When we moved here my youngest was in Kindergarten and brought home a project the first week with a picture he’d drawn of our brand new home…his sentence below described our house as ‘Old Fashioned’ LOL.

My kids are now hooked too (yes, they’ll all blame me). When we took our family trip to Paris last year (DD studying abroad), we took them to an enormous flea market. The boys had a blast trying to make their purchases with the few French phrases they’d learned, and DD helping. I even found some red-handled kitchen tools, a piece of wooden typeset, and yes, DH found a glass insulator. We had the best time watching the kids and talking to the locals.

I swear there’s someone out there who collects anything you can possibly think of. Old bedpans?…I’m sure someone collects them…just check eBay. You see, it’s not as much about the collection as it is about the hunt (although it helps if you like what you’re collecting). You rarely find anyone who collects the same thing that you do, and you're probably better friends that way...especially when shopping, but the fact that you've found another 'collector' makes a bond all by itself. I’ve found you’re either a collector or you’re not, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s something new or old, it’s the hunt that draws us…those of us that live with this dreaded illness understand.

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