Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I'm a Collector

Understatement of the year, right?  Well, if you were to ask one of my brothers or maybe my mom, they would be able to tell you that I've collected 'things' all my life.  It is just my nature.  Growing up, I collected coins, hot wheels cars, marbles, stamps, rocks, bottle caps, comic books, comic book cards, wrestling figures, wrestling videos, etc etc.  Some of those collections exist, still, in some shape or form.  The hot wheels cars and wrestling stuff have been passed down to my son.  The rocks became my college major, degree, professional license and career.

I like antiques.  Those appeal to me also.  I, especially, like found antiques.  I have a letter in my house that my cousin found and gave me dated 1918.  The subject of the letter is to solicit funds for World War I.  Pretty cool, right?  I mean, I wouldn't normally go in a shop and buy some antique, like that letter, or something else of that sort.

Another thing that maybe my brothers won't remember, but I do, is that during our Sunday visits with our grandparents, when my grandfather would take us boys (my sister was too young and the rest after her hadn't been born yet) for walks around the neighborhood.  He would also sometimes take us for walks around downtown Winston-Salem to show us the Reynolds smoke stacks or the old trolley lines.  There were several fountains downtown that he would take us to as well.

I found a picture of all of us boys recently that was taken by our grandfather during one of our trips downtown.  It was from 1987, the opening of the BB&T building (the green glass one, if you know anything about Winston).  I looked closely at the picture, of me sitting there on the wall by the fountain with my brothers and our neighbor and laughed a little.  I had that picture for a long time and never noticed it until recently.  I'm sitting on that wall, 6 or 7 years old, and almost hidden from view, is a plastic shopping bag.

What's my point?  Well, I'm getting there.  My grandfather knew, even then, that I was a collector.  I would always be picking things up on our walks.  It got to be so much so, that Grandpa would plan ahead and keep little bags nearby for me, so that I would be able to tote my treasures back home.  I was always picking stuff up.

Well, I was talking on Facebook tonight to a friend and I remembered walking with grandpa and picking things up because, today at work, I found the Orange Crush bottle shown above during a soil excavation.  One of the hidden perks to my job is that I have been able to go out to these old gas stations out in the country and find all kinds of cool stuff.  Especially when we have to dig.  I have yet to be on one of these excavations and not find something.  The things I find the most are typically bottles.  I have found some really unique ones; some regional sodas from Eastern NC.  Stuff like that.

It just made me laugh, though, when I was talking to my friend about finding this bottle and how I didn't bat an eye bringing this dirty, smelly bottle into the house to show my wife and son.  Like a new trophy or something.  My son has already grown an appreciation for the bottles I've found because he helps me clean them.  I thought he might find this an arduous task, but when he mentioned the other day, "Daddy, when are we going to clean some bottles again?", it made me appreciate that we were doing this little task together.

I don't think I would ever buy an old bottle in an antique store.  It is so much cooler finding one at a site and cleaning it yourself, in my opinion.  I don't think I'll ever stop collecting things.  I can't even explain why I collect things.  It is just something I've always done.
Circa 1987, opening of the BB&T Building (or close to the opening).  From left: Philip, our neighbor Jason, Me (holding a bag of treasures), John, Adam, Kenny
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