Snap Shot …. My Collections

30 Jun

We all collect things; we start when we are quite young and continue our entire lives. Boys collect certain things, and girls collect certain things, and sometimes they collect the same thing. Sometimes they collect things we don’t expect them to collect. Sometimes we laugh at what we see others collect, and yet other times we covet what others have collected. There is no rhyme or reason for our collections. Our most cherished things could be junk to another. That is how collecting works.

Over the years I have known many people who collected things. One gentleman I knew and worked with collected beer cans. At one point he bragged that he had over a 1,000 different beer cans from over 350 different breweries, and over half of the cans in his collection were unopened. I also knew a lady that collected pigs in any way shape or form (except alive). My wife likes to collect small decorative boxes and elephants. No the elephants don’t fit in the boxes. Allison collected stamps for the longest of times, and even had me take her to the stamp shop so she could buy stamps for her collection. Another lady I knew and worked with collected matchbooks. She had quite the collection. I will talk further about this a bit later. Still another of my good friends collects cribbage boards of all sizes and manners. The point is that people will collect whatever their heart desires, and they will take great pride in their collections. Today I am going to talk about my collections, or the things I have collected over the years.

The earliest memory of collecting for me was marbles. I remember being in the 3rd grade and having a fine bunch of marbles. The pride of the collection, were the “cat eye” marbles. They were the prettiest, and very very rarely did you find 2 that looked the same. They were called “cat eye” because they looked like a cats’ eye. I also remember playing marbles on the school grounds and getting caught once, which at the time warranted a half day suspension and your marbles were confiscated, never to be seen again. That’s why you never took your “cat eyes” to school with you. You didn’t mind the half day off, but losing your marbles was a different story. Maybe that’s where the phrase “losing your marbles” got its start. I wonder if my granddaughter and other children of her generation even know what marbles are.

As a kid I collected baseball cards, but that really didn’t last long. It cost money to collect the cards. Generally you got 3 or 5 cards and a thick slab of bubble gum, but that would cost you a nickel. Back in the old days a nickel was a lot of money, and I didn’t have much, and I couldn’t afford to collect cards based on my allowance. So that never took hold, though looking back that could have been quite profitable had I played the cards right. But as the years have gone by I have collected shot glasses, logo golf shirts (from all the nice golf courses I played). I also collected a nice golf shirt (or tee) each year when I went to the ABC tournament (besides the very nice shirts Robert bought the team each year). Before I got the Nook I collected books. Going back to golf for a second, I also collected nice golf towels, either from a special course or golf equipment manufacture. When we moved from northern Virginia to Florida in 2002, collectively Steph and I donated almost 2,000 books to the local library, over 400 hundred were hard backs, and almost 90 pct of the hardbacks were 1st additions. We were starting to acquire a huge library again when we both got Nooks. Maybe someday I will have 2,000 books on my Nook.

Over the years I have collected a variety of things beyond marbles and baseball cards. I suspect that what you collect is in some way tied directly to what your disposable income. When I was in the Navy I started to collect match books. Back then I was a smoker and having matches was always a plus, it is very difficult to rub two cigarettes together to light one. Gosh I’m so funny! I soon took to grabbing at least 2 or 3 packs of matches from every bar or restaurant I visited (always managing to save one pack untouched). At one point I had a couple hundred different match books from all over the world (at least from Europe more closely the Med) and the US. For years in a giant fish bowl I kept these match books. But my interest in collecting them waned, and I was talking to my co-worker about my matchbooks when she admitted that she loved collecting them. I volunteered to give her my collection. We were both happy I had my fishbowl back and she got about 100 match books from the Med that she never had. Because we worked together, over the next couple years I would bring her matchbooks from wherever travel took me. While the matchbooks themselves didn’t cost a penny, the cost to collect them must have been a small fortune. LOL because I managed always to have at least one drink or a meal from the place I was getting the matchbook.

Collecting coasters became an extension of collecting matchbooks. It was quite easy to cop an extra coaster at any bar and I had many great ones. My favorite coaster came from the “Hogs Breath” in Brisbane Australia, and if I look hard enough I can probably find one someplace around the house. Allison gave me a packet of 8 coasters that said “Dad’s Saloon” and I still have a couple of those around the house as well. But like collecting matches I lost interest in keeping and maintaining the collection of coasters.

My interest in collecting is now focused on three things, Watches (and table clocks), golf balls and Baseball hats.

Being a golfer, you have many opportunities to find, or acquire different golf balls. When playing you can stumble across them in the weeds or in the water, of course if all else fails you can buy one in the pro shop. But it is surprising how many events celebrate themselves with logo golf balls. My interest in collecting them started in the early 80’s when a friend went to Hawaii and brought me a “Hawaii” golf ball. That ball is one of 37 that are displayed in my golf ball display case. I have golf balls from a variety of places including; from the course Allison and I played in Virginia, Poipu Bay in Hawaii (where Steph and I vacationed), from St. Andrews (which Steph got me when she visited Scotland), from Greendale (my home course in Alexandria VA), from Diamond Back in Haines City, FL, where the course is named after the 10 foot Diamondback rattle snake found the 1st day of construction. I also have the golf ball I made my only eagle (sinking a 150 yard shot for an eagle 3). Yesterday my collection numbered 38 balls, but Cari and I were sitting in my office and she asked if she could have a golf ball, I gave her the only pink golf ball I had (which came from the Susan B Komen walk for the cure) and explained the significance of the ball, maybe she will keep and cherish it maybe not. Maybe it will be the start of her collecting. One can only hope.

At one time I had 57 baseball hats; my collection is currently down to twenty. Some of my favorite include; the 5 different U of L hats, the Disney – Grumpy hat, my St. Andrews hat, my (not so) white Callaway Golf hat (the single most worn hat in my collection), and other special hats given to me by friends over the years. At one time I had 12 continuous years of US OPEN hats, but they changed the style and I stopped getting them. The problem (not so) is if I see a cool hat I will get that one, so most likely the collection of hats will grow again, hopefully not to 57.

And finally I am going to talk about my collection of watches and desk clocks. This collection means the most to me. Each watch or time piece has a special meaning. Or it was given to me for a special reason, or event. Each time piece has its’ own story, and I can pretty much look at any one of them and tell you why I have it and who gave it to me. I own 27 wrist watches, 1 pocket watch, and 5 desk clocks. I won’t bore you with 33 little stories, but I will share a few of the more important ones.

Only one of my desk clocks actually sits on my desk. Steph gave me a pewter dragon clock to celebrate our 21st anniversary, it has sat continuously on my desk for the last 14 years. The pocket watch belonged to my father-in-law, a man I respected greatly. I don’t ever remember him using it, but after he passed away, Arlene asked me if I would like it. I have cherished it ever since, it sits on a pocket watch display, under a little glass dome. When my father passed away I got one of his watches as well, its’ an inexpensive watch, but equally important to me. It stays in my jewelry box. I have never worn it. The watch that started the collection was given to me as a Valentine gift in 1995. When I received this gift it was the first time in my life I owned 2 working watches at the same time. Another of the more special watches I have I got in Rome. My wife and I were in Rome because my wife had been invited by the company she worked for, to attend this worldwide conference for their best performers, after a day of hard sightseeing we were on our way back to the hotel and stopped at this jewelry store, she got me an Italian watch. I wear in on a regular basis. I have 2 watched awarded to me from the ABC (American Bowling Congress), for bowling games 100 or more pins over my ABC average. The first award was when I bowled a 269 game on a 155 average, and the second award came 4 years later when I bowled a 279 on a 175 average. Most of the watches I have commemorate a special trip or event. I have gotten watches from Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain and the US, from a variety of manufactures including; Casio, Citizen, Fossil, Lovona, Timex, Seiko, Swatch, and Tag Heuer. I count where it was purchased as it’s from location.

I know in 3 weeks I will be getting my 28th wrist watch, because I am getting me a Mickey Mouse watch. The collection will continue to grow, heck I might even come home with my twenty-first hat, who knows?

Thank you for taking the time to get to the end of this epic on collections. We all have things we collect, I am sure as you read this you thought of the things you have collected over the years, and what each meant to you. In the future you might look at a child and wonder what they collect, or look at a parent and wonder. It doesn’t matter what you collect, because it is important to you, not me or them, but you.

As always if you have any thoughts or comments you would like to share please do. Take care and have a great week. — Bill


Posted by on June 30, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Observations, Ramblings


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17 responses to “Snap Shot …. My Collections

  1. Chatter Master

    June 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I used to collect smurfs. I still have them and will give them to the kids some day. I have hundreds if not thousands of books. And bikes. Lots of bikes. 🙂 I love stuff. But am glad to say that I also love giving my stuff to others. I know I love that feeling when someone gives me something they appreciated, and know I will appreciate. It is just as fun and wonderful to give them as to get them. 🙂

    • FlaHam

      June 30, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      Colleen, Smiling you are indeed a collector, smurfs and bikes that sounds dangerous, LOL LOL. I felt a lot of joy when I found a home for our books. That was important to me, we had no place here for so many. And I know the joy they gave somebody. Take care, Bill

      • Chatter Master

        July 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm

        We had to let go of SO many books when we moved. Yet, I manage to line walls again with so many more. I just keep building more shelves. When asked what my decor is I say “books”. 😉

        • FlaHam

          July 1, 2013 at 10:12 pm

          Colleen, I was addicted to books (especially 1st additions) for so so long, besides that I loved to read, it was cool having shelf after shelf lined with books that you read. So I completely get your “Decor Books.” Have a great day. — Bill

          • Chatter Master

            July 2, 2013 at 6:58 am

            Thanks Bill, you have a great day too! I am reading one book, another sits by my computer to reread (Anne Frank), another by my bike (book on Ireland) and another in my lunch bag (put it on hold until I finish the one I’m reading on my Kindle!). 🙂

  2. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    June 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I love elephants, only have a few, but there were many more at one time. I just love them. I don’t collect much of anything but if I could it would be dogs, lol. Great post. Where did that man put all those beer cans? lol.

    • FlaHam

      June 30, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      Paulette, No Paulette, you are a collector just like the rest of us, only you collect the heart and souls of the animals you save and protect, you collect the friendships of the many families that you have placed a loved animal. Yes indeed my friend you are a collector. Take care, Bill

  3. gita4elamats

    July 1, 2013 at 1:23 am

    I have an elephant collection, too. 🙂

    • FlaHam

      July 1, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      Ela, My wife must have a dozen very special elephants. I have only added one to her collection, that was a cookie jar elephant I have her years ago as an anniversary gift, I don’t believe she has ever put a cookie in it, but it sits proudly in the kitchen standing guard. Take care, Bill

  4. DeeDee Granata

    July 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    This is a cute entry. I am currently trying to get rid of my dust bunny collection and all the junk that’s hiding underneath.

    • FlaHam

      July 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Dee, Gee thanks!!!! your comment made me immediately look at the collection of golf balls, and go, “DAMN !!!” look at all those dust bunnies I am collecting. So now I have yet another job to fill my spare time. Please take care and thanks for staying with me, I truly enjoy hearing from you. Bill

  5. Wanda

    July 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    What a fun and informative post! You need to ask Art about his collection of “mall maps,” especially the English/Japanese one from a mall in Hawaii.

    • FlaHam

      July 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Wanda, I will do that, actually I will see if he will show me, I like maps, not that I am a great map reader or anything, I just find maps to be cool to look at, and kinda artistic. Thanks, Bill

  6. bloggingbyrgottier

    December 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Bill!
    I love the idea of collecting items. It gets to be something to continually enjoy. I was wondering about the actual value if sold or do any of those collections just happen to be like sentimental to you?

    • FlaHam

      December 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      Rodney, Thank you for stopping by my blog and digging into one of the older ones, it’s nice to see these again and allows me to remember why I wrote it in the first place. The collections of things and stuffs I have, have no or very little monetary value. It’s all just sentimental. I look at an item, and it gives me a memory, it lets me ponder, and if they were taken I would only grieve for a short time. Then I would start collecting something else. Take care, Bill


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