|Thursday September 20, 2007 01:47 I am starting this on June 10, 2007 and editing the original text until June 12.
There is a rodent called a pack rat. There are also people called packrats. I don't think I go as far as the Wikipedia article on packrats though. That's a matter for debate I guess. I wouldn't classify myself as a hoarder. There's also Bibliomania. I like to think of myself as simply a collector. I have been accused of collecting string, but I don't have a "bug" (inclination) to collect string yet. I don't collect kitchen sinks either--yet. Ha! Sometimes I complain about having a "disease" called, "piles"---too many piles of this, that, and the other thing. To see exactly what all I collect, see the A to Z of Collecting page.
|All I can say is, one thing leads to another. My collection started with bottles. I think they "always" held a fascination for me for some reason. I remember my grandmother giving me an empty brown glass "Anacin" bottle when I was a child. (Anacin is an over the counter pain reliever.) Another bottle she "gave" me was this "fancy" milk glass bubble bath or bath oil bottle. I was playing with it in the bath tub and it broke causing dear Granny some grief (naturally). She had to scramble to get me out of the tub without my getting cut. As a child I didn't really have much of a collection of anything. Although I did try to hang onto to my toys and other things I ended up with. (I liked to pick up "pretty" rocks. Then there were some 45rpm records.) We moved around a bit, and my mother would go through these "throwing away stuff" episodes (tirades?). I like to say that it is a wonder that Mom didn't put my sister and I out with the "trash" too. Ha! I guess we were important to her.
|I once had a dream where this barn, I knew to
be in Missouri, was located next to my grandmother's house in Texas. The real barn in Missouri, held a vast
collection of belongings collected by various people I knew at the time.
In my dream, this barn contained every "neat oh" thing my mother ever threw
As a teenager I started earnestly collecting bottles. I lived in an old farm house a few miles from that old barn. There were some old bottles laying around the place. And as they were digging a vegetable garden they must have stumbled on where the farm family had put their trash. (anywhere from 1900 to maybe the 1920's, I'm not sure exactly) I don't know how many bottles I got from the garden plot.
I was discovering digging for bottles. I eventually moved to Texas and lived with my grandparents.
|All through my high
school years, I had free reign of my grandfather's farm. I didn't do
much digging there, but did collect quite a number of bottles laying around.
In my grandmother's back yard, I happened to find that old Anacin bottle she
gave me years before. It was quite a surprise to find it buried in the yard.
During this time, I met my grandfather's niece. She was a bottle collector too. She had seven whisky barrels full of them. She had ended up knowing a woman with land. On this land was an old trash dump. They found all sorts of stuff while digging in that dump.
At some point, I had a desire to own one example of every bottle made. I have since found that to be very unrealistic and have abandoned the idea. From bottle collecting I have developed a real appreciation for glass and glass objects.
|There is nothing
like seeing the bright colored glass as sunlight hits it. One favorite type
of bottle that I was acquiring at this time was the ACL or
Applied Color Label
soda pop bottle.
Of course I developed an interest for "old" things. As I would look for bottles, I would invariably find other interesting "old" things. My mother was becoming a collector of "antiques". (to a point) My grandparents probably thought I was bringing "garbage" home to stick on shelves. Somebody did throw that bottle or thing away didn't they? In school I had American history right before lunch. I would go home and discuss the lessons with my grandparents. They lived through some of these things, especially the Great Depression and W.W.II. I began to develop an interest for all things 1930's.
this line of interest led to my visiting junkshops, "antique" shops and
garage sales. It was very difficult when I started paying for bottles. I was
used to finding them for free. And the ones I really liked were the most
Some people are able to keep their interests in check. Some bottle
collectors stick to one type of bottle. Others though get a "bug" to collect
not just beer bottles, but beer "stuff" as well. Not
only do they collect beer bottles, but cans and other "breweriana".
Breweriana consists of items from beer brewers. It can be advertising signs,
bottle openers and other assorted things. My "bottle" collection includes
various items of breweriana, as well as items of soda pop ephemera.
|It was at
a "junk shop" or "antiques" shop that I bought what I thought at the time
was an interesting "looking" book. I was probably under the delusion that,
"old books must be valuable simply because they are old". What I bought was
one volume of a "collected works" of this Victorian named,
Edward Bulwer-Lytton. At some point and time I tried to read the book.
The night wasn't dark and stormy enough. Ha! I should have learned then and
there what difficulties I would have trying to
read Victorian books. I also should have stuck to a paraphrase of that adage
my first grade teacher tried to teach us, "You can't judge a book by it's
cover". Just because a book comes in an interesting cover it doesn't
mean the contents are interesting. The same goes for record albums!
I learned that by experience too.
Buying this smelly old book, began my "incessant book buying". I had probably bought books before. I did buy a paperback copy of, "Young Frankenstein" because we had to read a book by an "American" author for English class. But this Bulwer-Lytton book was probably THE catalyst of my buying old books regularly. (Someday, I'll have to write down what happened to Mr. Bulwer-Lytton's book, in the "writing about books" page---remind me if I don't get it on there.)
When I finished high school, I moved to Fort Worth, Texas. (It's near Dallas.) I worked at two different charity thrift stores. At one I got paid nothing (free lunch) and at the other one I eventually made 12¢ an hour. (twelve cents = $0.12 an hour) I was being "trained" and that was a stipend that was supposed to pay my way to work and back. The one "house" I lived at on Jennings, was near a charity thrift shop and a nice junk shop. The lady who ran the junk shop didn't know what she had. You could get deals in there. I ended up with all sorts of "junk"--- a court reporter's typing machine; two cases of 78 rpm records; books; dishes; an old typewriter; a nice art deco clock; bottles; a light meter; etc. Eventually I moved to a house near TCU (Texas Christian University). There was a used book shop, "Evergreen Books" on Berry. I used to walk past it on my way to and from work. That was not good! My mother was helping me pay rent. I don't know how many books; postcards; pieces of sheet music etc. I bought in there. I found a copy of the University of Oklahoma yearbook, the "Sooner". I forget what year it was for, but it had a picture of my uncle in it. (I didn't buy it though.) Evergreen books lost their lease and they moved to Magnolia Avenue, down the street from the Paris Coffee Shop, (which is a highly recommended
restaurant--an institution in Ft. Worth). I don't think Evergreen books is in business anymore. And then there "was" Barber's books. This was where I learned to enjoy the "nice passtime" of a whole rainy day spent in a book shop looking at "old" books. They sold "new" and "used" books. This was probably the first "used" book shop I went to in Ft. Worth. I'm not sure though. I don't know how many books I got in there. I didn't buy the "Sooner" with my uncle in it, but I did buy a 1910 copy of the "Yale Banner and Potpourri" from Barber's Books.
I am sorry to see that Barber's is not there any more. Barber's was where I grew to enjoy a certain smell and emotion that I feel, when I have all of a damp day to spend in a used book shop. I can still hear the creaky sound I heard as I climbed the stairs to the used book section.
Some day I will have to tell this WHOLE story on another page. But there was this other used book shop in down town Ft. Worth. I remember it being on Throckmorton near Tandy Center. Of course my memory might be faulty as I thought Barber's was on Throckmorton. For sure there was a Chinese food restaurant behind this other book shop. This book shop was similar to a "news agents" in that they sold magazines too. They were older magazines and not always in English. I got an older copy of the German
magazine, Der Stern in there once--not that I could read it. I wanted it for the advertisements and pictures. Later on that year, I moved to Virginia for a year to teach people about the Bible. During the first two weeks we had to find housing and jobs. We got the local newspaper in order to read the classified ads. One day I happened to see a tiny paragraph "filler" article which told of the explosion of a Chinese food restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas. There had been a gas leak in the night. The article went on to say that the fire took out a book shop too. I was very saddened. They served very good food in that restaurant. And there was a book I wanted in that book shop. I had left it in there when I left for Virginia. I promised myself that I would go back there and get it when my year was up. Each time I thought of returning for that book, I would have to remind myself that it wasn't there. Even if part of the book shop survived, that book would not have, as it was at the back of the store nearest the Chinese food restaurant. I believe that God showed me that little "blurb" for a reason. I made a commitment to stay in Virginia a year. Every time I would think of quitting and going back home, I would remember that that book wasn't there. Besides, God wanted me in Virginia!
Speaking of buying "old" books... The reason I started buying used books, is because they are a lot of the time, cheaper than new ones. In fact, if I see a new book somewhere, if I don't need the book right away, I put the title on my list and wait until I find it second hand. If you want to know more about what constitutes an expensive book, and "my opinion" of which books to buy, vs. "my husband's", see the "Collecting Old Books" page.
|I always did art in
school. When I was in high school, I took art class twice. My
mother had taken art in college. I still have her vintage 1950's
textbook. Over the years the arts, design and such like have been an
I tried doing "art" at home. I was always writing. (Cacoethes scribendi---yes, I do have "an itch for scribbling"!) I got into writing with pen and ink. (dipping a pen in ink) Not calligraphy exactly, just writing with the pen and ink. I eventually became interested in calligraphy to a point. I have books on lettering and I have a book on the history of alphabets.
Also with the writing, comes a "love" of words. So I have ended up with all kinds of dictionaries and books about words and the English language.
I guess "writing", printing, ink and so on would be in my "blood". My adoptive father was a fifth generation newspaperman. He owned a weekly newspaper in a small town. He had a print shop (letter press?) in the back and an office supply shop in the front. Out of all this, has become an interest in old office supplies. I even have some old ink bottles in the collection.
|With the various
interests, I end up with all kinds of stuff. It comes in handy for the
writing. It is either inspiration, or used as props. I end up
with pictures out of magazines and off the Internet which serve as
Then there's the collage work. I used to do a lot more of it. I am an "expert" with glue and scissors. I have a growing collection of stamps---mostly non-valuable modern ones. I have them for the collage work. You know those subscription cards that come in magazines? I am collecting those too. I hope to some day decoupage a book shelf with them. I want a better place to store a magazine collection. I have ended up with some collectable magazines. But a great deal of the magazines get gingerly dismantled so that I can use the pictures in collage work. I've become an "expert" at taking apart magazines too. (By the way, I don't use very old magazines in my collage work, unless I find them too damaged for collecting.)
On a side note... Always drink wine with REAL corks and not plastic corks. There's a cat that will thank you! I also collect corks because I am making a "cork board" (bulletin board). I'm probably ruining an expensive picture frame to do it too. Oh well. It's one we found around the house.
I've collected a ton of bottle caps. Most of them are IBC Root Beer. That's partly to do with the bottle collection. But mostly it is to do with "crafts". I am sure there has to be something they can be used for besides playing poker. (My mom used to play poker with bottle caps when she was in high school.) I know they can be nailed to long sticks to make a "musical" instrument that "jangles".
I've also collected some old suit cases to decorate. I like doing collage stuff to them. The ones I have I got cheap and they aren't always in the best shape.
|If you haven't
guessed by now, I have a radio hobby. I have a collection of old
radios. I also have various books dealing with radio.
In September of 1989 I was in the area around Archer City, Texas as they filmed, "Texasville". I was inspired to write a story, which I have yet to finish. As it happened, not too long after this, (as the crow flies) the BBC World Service had their (first?) International Playwriting Competition. I needed to learn how to write a radio drama---but really, I needed to learn how to lay one out. (What did a script look like?) The first book I bought that had any sort of radio writing info. in it, was "Handbook of Broadcasting" by Waldo Abbot-- Copyright 1941. It had a section on writing for radio, but it didn't have what I needed exactly, so I started a quest to collect books on writing radio drama. Most of the books were written BEFORE 1950. I found a fairly "early" one recently. It is from the early 1930's. I hope to update the list of radio books by making a whole page devoted to them in the Library pages. Check back there to see if I ever get it done.
|One year, I went to a school
in Missouri which allowed us to do all kinds of fun things.
At one point we got to use a Yashica camera. One of the staff
developed the film, but we got to make prints using the darkroom. My
dad used a Yashica as his press camera for a long time. He had another
very large camera he used to take photos of the pages of the paper which
they took to the printers. Old Kodaks come cheap sometimes. I
have a collection of cameras. We went to what was billed as the
"World's Largest Flea Market" near Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas. I got
a wind up 8mm movie camera for $10.00. I had a choice between that and
a bottle that was shaped like it had a monkey climbing it. I made a
few movies throughout the 1980's. The film and developing got
expensive. Then Kodak stopped making that film all together.
June 10, 2007 I bought an ancient movie from a neighbor at her garage sale. I saw a box of old cans (tins). (cookie [biscuit] tins etc.) I noticed that this one can had an ancient Kodak logo on it. I had seen this logo somewhere recently and this can jogged my memory. When I picked it up for further inspection, it was heavy which meant it wasn't empty. And when I opened it there was a film inside it. The can (tin) is slightly rusted. The Kodak logo is "ancient". It is the circa 1907 logo found at Kodak.com. The can says, "Eastman 16MM Safety Film". The film inside is 16MM. The film itself has, "Kodak 55", "Safety" and "Positive" along the edge. The can has a bandage tape label that appears to say "Fisherman's Dream". Reading the film with a magnifying lens the opening text says, "This is the story of a fisherman who found a great pleasure while waiting for the fish to take his bait:". Don't know what it is otherwise. I did not find that title at the IMDb. I suspect that it might be a "racy" film. Don't know if that is true either. I opened up the tin, and the movie itself looks like it has condition issues.
I looked at the piece of film that sticks out of the reel, and it has text on it. The film looks very fragile.
I wonder what it would cost to try and have it put onto DVD? This isn't my first foray into buying movies. I have a 1940's 16MM home movie someone took in Cuba. It is in COLOR. Another time I bought a metal chest that was for holding film reels. Most of the reels are empty. One of them contains a movie which is either a newsreel or maybe an educational film of some sort. I don't have a projector so I have never seen this one. I did get a chance to view the Cuban one.
|The desire for a
movie camera was spurred on by a growing interest in film, cinema and movie
making. One year, I collected newspaper and magazine articles in a
movie scrapbook. I've
collected some books on film. One book tells how to run a movie
theater---a SILENT movie theater.
In the movie "Blow Up" there is a scene where the main character, a photographer, goes into an "antique" shop. He comes out with a large airplane propeller. I have had dreams of visiting such a shop. I am collecting a little "research" on time travel. Part of me had a great desire to visit the past. Not to try and change it or anything like that. I just wanted to experience (see) a certain time as an adult rather than as a child. I also wanted to "make a killing" by acquiring art deco and Art Nouveau that they were throwing away in the 1950's and 1960's. I was inspired to write the beginning of a play about someone who has a great desire to travel back in time. I don't know if it is a good enough idea to pursue or not. I just have some notes and
preliminary character sketches.
|At some point, I
discovered old postcards. They are affordable antiques in some cases. They
are a relatively "cheap" way to collect photographs, and other items of
interest. (camels, humorous subjects, countries of interest etc.)
While I was in high school, I developed a "Soviet" interest. It was the height of the cold war and I think it was a way of "rebelling" in a way. I even wrote to the Soviet Embassy and got a package with all sorts of maps and booklets telling about the Soviet Union. I worked in a charity thrift store when I lived in Ft. Worth. One day a Berlitz Russian language instruction book came in to the shop. Of course I had to have it! That was the beginning of a collection of books about the Soviet Union, Russian language instruction books, English/Russian dictionaries, and books in the Russian language. In the course of this study, I realized I needed a teacher. In the late 1980's, I sought to get a pen pal in the Russia. I ended up with a pen pal in Latvia. I developed an interest in Latvia too.
|If you have an
interest in a particular country, it is nice to learn more about it.
So, I ended up with books detailing accounts of people traveling to various
places of interest. This is one reason I got into short-wave radio
listening. It is a way to "visit" far away places without having the
expense of the journey. The Internet makes such "armchair" journeys
I discovered my ethnicity in recent years. I now have an interest in Scotland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. I have always been something of an "Anglophile". With the Internet and E-mail, I have had lots of pen pals. (key pals)
|You never can have enough tea pots!...The
Anglophilia spawned collections of, murder mystery related stuff, books about England and London, teapots, old
"biscuit" tins, and tea tins. I even
have an ancient pair of BBC headphones and a Bush Radio BP90.
I have a growing collection of books on how to write murder mysteries. And then there's another growing collection of magazines, TV "tie in" books, and such like dealing with a particular actor some of us like.
There's bound to be a way to fix it... We inherited my husband's grandparent's house. She was from Nova Scotia, Canada. He was from Missouri. They went through hard times as children. They lived through the depression. They never threw anything away. We found every bill they ever paid going back to 1938 or so in the house. There were two broken toilet seats in the garage. (Which isn't unusual as we found one in a house my great grandmother had lived in. My grandfather remembered "changing it out" for her.) Being that my husband's grandmother was originally a British subject, she was something of an Anglophile too. We found a few items of "royal" memorabilia in the house. There were also over 70 sets of cups and saucers in the house. Most of them were English "bone china". Some of them were German. I have
added to the collection a time or two. My father-in-law and my mother-in-law collected them evidently.
I don't know if my husband's grandmother bought things second hand, or if the things she had were "hers". We found a ton of glass ware, dishes and so on in the house. A really neat item was this "chintz ware" tea set. I really like chintz dishes and would collect more, but they are somewhat "hot" right now and buying more is cost prohibitive. We don't have room for more of it anyway. I discovered how to buy more of my Granny's dishes on eBay.
|We are rather
curious about a lot of things we found in the house. Some of the old
photographs are a mystery as we have no idea who the people are.
When we moved into this house, we had a house full of belongings already. We had just gotten married so we had our belongings, plus we had our wedding presents. Then in the attic we found my husband's parent's wedding presents---STILL IN THE BOXES! It was fun going through things though.
|One thing, well two things I nearly forgot to mention...Etiquette books and cook books. I really have a thing for these. I also like old (1910's to 1940's) home economics text books. On a related note, I collect certain books about nutrition and health too. Like I said at the top of the page, one thing leads to another.
In April 2007 I finally finished a radio drama to send to the BBC World Service International Playwriting Competition. If I win, the question would be, what do I do with the money? I have also come onto a mechanism by which I can buy things online more readily, and now I end up with more "junk" in the house. Through the radio drama writing experience, of needing to be able to concentrate and have a focused mind, I have learned that I really need to curtail my collecting.
I bought a box of 36 books for writers recently on eBay. I am hoping to start a used book selling business of some type. I want to sell "used" books rather than "antique and rare" books. I don't know if I will be able to get an actual "bricks and mortar" business going for a while. Rent seems expensive in the town I live in. There is already a used book shop in town that we visit from time to time. I assume business is tight. I would hate to cut into her business. It would be nice to specialize. I would really like to sell books for writers along with vintage office supplies.
For a long time I have wanted to sell used "foreign" language books. (books in languages other than English--language instruction books; dictionaries; etc.) When I was trying to learn Russian I often wished I had Russian language office supply stuffs--like stencils. A Russian language typewriter would have been fun too. It would be neat to sell "foreign" language office supplies and other materials to go along with the books. ("old" non-English typewriters, etc.)
Cookbooks interest me as well. And so do etiquette books and quack medical books. It would not be as difficult as it seems for me to sell things. I would just buy things for the shop that I did not want personally.
I don't know what route to take. To do a good job of it, I would need to be able to drive around. Then I wouldn't have to rely on Douglas to drive me around to estate sales, and charity thrift stores etc. This means, I would have to learn to drive. Then I would have to buy a car. We only have a one car garage. It would be a dream come true to own a Mini Cooper. I would hate to buy a new car and then not be able to keep it sheltered. "I should look into the cost of driving lessons," she mused to herself as she finished writing this page... Any advice would be welcomed!
|July 4, 2007
Psychology of Collecting
There's something I forgot to write about earlier... --CLOCKS--
"Horology" is "fitting" for someone with a "nasty" habit of being late. Ha!
Douglas has forbid me to buy any more cookbooks until I cook out of one I have already. He cringes when I mention that I saw a neat clock on eBay. I haven't yet bought a clock on eBay--but I do look at them. Looking is free. And yes, I have bid on them. I just don't bid high enough.
One can see a beauty in the design of a clock. One can
see beauty in the design of the mechanism. The sound of the bells or chimes can be interesting. In the case of cuckoo clocks the sound and movement can be of interest. The more figures or "characters" that move in a choreographed fashion, on a cuckoo clock, the more "interest" they have. Some are quite elaborate.
When we moved into this house there was a nice cuckoo clock. It doesn't work properly. I have "always wanted" a cuckoo clock, and I was very happy to find this clock in the house. I was asking Douglas the other day, "Wouldn't it be neat if...". If we had 12 cuckoo clocks, we could set them all five minutes apart. Then we would hear a clock cuckoo "on the hour", every five minutes. He promptly asked me, "Do you know how crazy that would drive someone?". Well,...
I suppose my clock fascination started with my mother. For most of us probably our earliest memories are of something connected to dear old Mom. There was always this comfort sleeping in the same bed as Mom. That is, when I was a child. I had this strong "association" of that comfort and her winding her travel alarm clock before bed. Then she would stop the alarm when it rang in the morning.
|For the longest
time those were the "good times" in my mind. We lived with my
grandmother a while
and then we lived in Lubbock. My mother was a single mom for a time. I wasn't in school yet. The summer before I started kindergarten things really changed. I thought things had changed for the worse. I did not realize until I was grown that things changed for the better. My mother got re-married and we moved to Missouri. I had to learn to deal with snow, "climbing" hills to school, and my stepfather. I must have clung to anything from the "good times" as that brought me comfort.
So, when my mother's little travel alarm clock became over wound, I ended up with it. I may have had to beg for it but am not sure. She probably wanted to throw it away. It was one of my "treasures". I remember taking it to school for "show and tell". I can't remember what I did with this clock in the end. For some reason, it seems like what happened to it, may have been significant at the time. I might have left it at school or some such. Maybe mom got rid of it. I have a vague memory of me trading it for something-- or maybe I tried to trade it. Who knows now.
|Later on, I
discovered this clock at my stepfather's mother's house. It was a wind
up alarm clock with two bells on top. The back of the clock (or was it
the face?) was clear and you could view the gears turning as it ticked away.
I really wanted that clock for some reason. My stepfather's mother
needed it for herself. My granny bought me a red wind up alarm clock
with two bells on top. It wasn't the same as you couldn't watch it
working. I found a clock on eBay recently that had the gears showing.
It wasn't in the best condition, so put in a search for one like it on eBay.
They will notify me when one comes up on there.
Then many years later we moved here to Michigan. Like I mentioned before, Douglas' grandparents keep two broken toilet seats in the garage, and every bill they paid since 1938. (up to 1989) We also found one electric clock with a tag on it saying that the repair shop could not get a part to fix the clock. I guess they "assumed" that some how the clock could be fixed. I kept it hoping I could use the parts in collage work or some other art work. We found what appears to be a Jefferson Electric Golden Hour clock on the back porch. We saw one like it at The Henry Ford. As I wrote before, we found a nice cuckoo clock on the back porch too. As for other clocks, we found a group of wind up travel alarm clocks that are similar to the one my mother had. They were over wound. I kept them "because". One of them says, it was made in "Germany U.S. Zone". I wonder if people collect "Germany U.S. Zone" like they do, "Occupied Japan"? I have a regular wind up alarm clock that my granny had. It isn't in the best shape as it was kept in a bathroom cupboard. It had come from my uncle's parent's estate. I have added to the travel alarm collection. I got a wind up "interval timer" when I lived in Ft. Worth. That is a little unusual. Don't know what it is supposed to do or how it does it. I think it is for photography. There's one "funny" clock I bought at a garage sale. It's a wind up clock with a Swiss music box on it. The "alarm" is the music from the "box". The song it plays is, "Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'", from the musical "Oklahoma". I'm working at becoming more of a "morning person" so the song is "fitting".
Oops! I nearly forgot to write about watches. I have a small watch collection too. One Russian watch I got off eBay. It is a 24 hour time watch. It is numbered 1-24.
|Some Links Relevant
to this Page:
"Bookcase love, on the rebound" BY SUSAN AGER FREE PRESS COLUMNIST June 10,
http://www.roger-russell.com/mysteryclocks/mysteryclocks.htm Roger Russell's Mystery Clock History Page