When I was a teenager, several collecting habits seemed to hit my family at the same time:

1) My mom suddenly decided she wasn’t a super cool rock child of the ’70s but rather really into sheep. So she started collecting sheep. Not live sheep (although she’d come close a few years prior when she bought a pot-bellied pig named Spike. My dad wanted to name him Football but I protested that it was too morbid. Spike was mom’s way of appeasing us both. We got rid of him two weeks later.) but just random little collectables like sheep figurines and pillows and stuff. This got old after a year or two so she switched back to being a super cool rock child of the ’70s, started attending “Music Collector’s Conventions” which basically consists of other rock children of the ’60s and ’70s buying bootlegged copies of concerts or secret studio recordings from their favorite bands of the ’60s and ’70s. She also started following Jeff Beck around the country on his tour and for a time became a groupie without the icky sex conotations. What she got out of this collection was much more cool and interesting than the sheep thing: dozens of really cool bootlegs, a tatoo of Jeff Beck’s autograph on her boob which she’s in the process of removing (now it looks like someone wrote on her with an old pencil rather than a sharpie) and a really cool friend named Ravi who’s Mr. Beck’s production manager (main roadie in charge of the whole tour )that she still talks to on a regular basis and who got her to fly over the ocean to visit her childhood dreamland: England. Which lead to another collection: England Crap. Which she’s now in the process of trying to load off on me. Which I totally want but currently rent an upper level duplex. No room for J’s toys let alone cool England Crap.

2) My aunt (my mom’s older sister) loves Christmas and all the decorating and food making and present giving that goes with it. She was made for Christmas (her check book wasn’t but that’s a different blog entry) and one year she decided she really liked Snowmen. Here’s the thing about collections and snowmen collections in particular: When people don’t know what to get you, they fall back on what you’re “collecting” and with Snowmen, good god, the options are countless. So, my dear aunt was inundated with snowmen: ornaments, stuffed animals, serving ware, blankets, little figurines, etc. I believe she’s over the Snowman fad and we’ve all caught on and have stopped buying her those adorable frozen men. Best part of this tale: I have a couple very cute Snowmen ornaments from my aunt…payback maybe?

3) I’m not exempt from falling prey to the collecting beast. During this same period (my long forgotten youth) I was WAY into the Beatles. I mean WAY WAY into them. I mean I’m completely clueless to what bands were popular in 1996-1997 because all I listened to were The Beatles. This coincided nicely with my mom’s Bootleg period and I got some pretty cool stuff from those conventions. Oh! And I saw Ringo Starr live. Yeah, not George Harrison or anything but still, a real live Beatle! (He’s so tiny!) Eventually I caught on to Radiohead and Weezer and the rest but that wasn’t until my senior year when my Beatles obsession was starting to abade a little. It was around this time that the rest of my family finally figured out that I was somewhat interested in The Beatles (apparently my wardrobe that consisted almost entirely of Beatles t-shirts was too sublte for them) and for Christmas 1998 I received so much Beatles Swag. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all of it. But I would’ve loved it even more two years before. I still have all of it of course and now J likes to look at my Yellow Submarine action figures (behind glass covered in toddler prints while mommy says, “You can look but you can’t play with them. Those are mommy’s plastic toys.”) and it makes me smile.

Moral of this blog: Be careful what you collect because eventually people will catch on to it. And if you end up with more than you bargained for, make sure you have an awesome daughter or niece who’s willing to take some of it off your hands for you.

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3 Responses

  1. dont i know it, mine was Norman Rockwell, and for a while i was getting some really cool books and framed prints, then people would see $o.25 calendars at garage sales or those old wooden scroll calendars at knick knack shops in BFE and post cards…blah blah blah….needless to say you know what i mean…and he is a rockin artist…but i am down to one book and NOTHING else…oh well, whats next 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you collected Beatles stuff rather than sheep or snowmen stuff. You looked COOL in your Beatles shirts; you would have looked odd wearing sweatshirts with sheep or snowmen on them. Very, very odd.

    I remember looking around for sheep at an antique shop with your mom. I don’t know why I was there and you weren’t, but I remember it. Also odd…

  3. Well, at least the things we collect are cool. I’m sure that some day “J” and Nibbler will be more than excited to be taking the things that we collect. I mean come on, who would not want a collection of concert tickets, posters, and old books? Oh, and a few lunch boxes and action figures. Yeah, we collect cool shit! Oh, and Guitars. I collect guitars too!

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