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February 5, 2013

When collecting becomes a necessary evil

I happen to be a born collector.

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve collected everything from stamps and coins to swizzle sticks, baseball cards, comic books, records, cameras, even junk.

You know what they say. Someone else’s trash becomes another person’s treasure. Do I really need two thousand 45 RPM records? Got them all stored away in my basement, never to be heard again.

So why don’t I dump them all? Too sentimental! I cannot seem to part with nostalgia. At one time, I would stack my platters on a turntable and enjoy a genuine record hop. An oldies-but-goodies night, that’s what we called it.

We had a jukebox in my dad’s coffee shop and a technician came every two weeks to change the records. Out came six and in went their replacements. It was truly the golden age of the 1950s.

“Say, Bub,” I asked one day. “What happens to those records you remove?”

“You want them? Be my guest.”

Do the math. Twelve records a month for 15 years, not counting what I bought.

The sounds of Elvis, the Platters and Buddy Holly would rave on as we trimmed the lights fantastic each Saturday night with company. Who needed a transistor radio?

Who would want these now? EBay? Forget it. For what I might get online for these treasures, I’d rather preserve them for an eternity and let others worry about the inheritance once I’m gone.

What I wouldn’t give to have one of those jukeboxes in my home or any of the memorabilia in that eatery after it was sold, including the Coca-Cola buttons, neon signs and pinball machines.

Try to find a Wurlitzer now and be prepared to shell out $8,500 for that nickelodeon.

The same could be said for all the cameras I’ve stored up over my career from early newspaper days to weddings and family celebrations. Included in the lot is the first one my mother gave me as a high school gift before taking a trip to Vienna.

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