Thursday, January 27, 2011


My office area, with a few of my favorite things.
(Deep breath...) My name is Laurie and I'm a collector. There, I've said it. I collect a lot of things: antique and vintage toys, rusty bits of stuff for the garden, animal pull toys, hand-tinted prints, silhouettes, antique German toy barns, antique teddy bears, Skookum Indian dolls, Christmas, Easter...dear God, make it stop! (More deep breaths...) Really, it's okay. I collect a lot of things, but I don't collect a lot of *each* thing. Well, not by some standards, anyway. I have, perhaps, a half-dozen or so horse pull toys, and maybe 6 or 8 (some of them are packed up) toy barns. I do have boxes and boxes of Christmas stuff, but who doesn't?

My husband doesn't quite understand, though he tries valiantly. Don't get me wrong, he's a collector too, and fully supports my collecting hobbies. But he collects Golden Age comic books, early cartoon and serial posters, and other similar, quantifiable things. And it's the quantifiable factor that separates our collecting. He can look at a list of all the Donald Duck Comics and Stories ever printed and tick off the ones he has. He *knows* who wrote and illustrated every issue, and there's a standard by which the books are graded. And his goal is to get all the books (or at least the Disney 4-colors) in the best possible condition.

Who made me? Who knows, but I'm still pretty...
My stuff, on the other hand, is not quantifiable. Who knows how many different horse pull toys were made in the 1900s, and as for who made them? I doubt if anyone really knows. Oh, you can probably take a guess at where some of them were made -- some toy company somewhere in Germany, but I suspect many of them (and many of the other things I collect) were cottage industry made. And they're all a little bit unique because of that, even the "mass produced" ones. And while he collects to get all of a certain item, I collect based on my response to the item. I don't necessarily care what condition something is in, or even how much it's worth. My criteria is strictly based on how I react to the object: Does the bear's face make me smile? Can I imagine a small boy or girl pushing the horse across the living-room floor?

And that's what confuses my dear husband most of all. He says he's constantly pointing something out to me, thinking I'll love it, and is surprised when I walk right past it and pick up something he didn't even notice. He's getting better at predicting what I will and won't like -- we've been together for over 25 years at this point -- by I think I'm still a bit of a mystery to him. And I guess that's a good thing.


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