Hope's Corner: A Collection of Miscellany
Jackie Hope shares her love for collecting interesting things, from pennies to books to gnomes, with a touch of humor and a hint of compulsion.
Do you collect things? What sort of things are in your thing collection? Stamps? Coins? Shot glasses? Collecting things is an interesting hobby. And collecting interesting things is even more of an interesting hobby.
Collecting, for me, is more of an art than a hobby. Not only do I have many thing collections, but I also have many things in each thing collection. I have the things and their collections categorized, indexed, and color-coded. You might say I am a compulsive collector.
When I was little I collected pennies. It was my dream to fill all the holes in my penny book with each year’s pennies. Some pennies were rarer than others. My dad would bring home rolls of pennies for me, and I would spend hours looking for a 1955-S. I never found one. And, being a frugal child, I was not about to go to a coin shop and spend more than one cent to get a penny I wanted in return. My penny book still has an empty hole.
I moved on to stamps. It was my dream to fill all the blank pages of my stamp book with each year’s stamps. Like pennies, some stamps were rarer than others. The rolls of stamps my dad brought home were of no use. Rolls of stamps are all the same, and not nearly as interesting as rolls of pennies. I joined a stamp club. But, as a cheapo kid, I had no intention of spending my allowance on used stamps. My stamp book still has lots of empty pages.
In college I began collecting books. When the school library culled books, I was there filling boxes. When the public library got rid of books, I was there. When the second-hand bookstore had Buck-a-Box Day, I emptied my purse and filled my trunk.
By the time I got married, I had around 1200 books, all neatly cataloged. My husband also had that many books, but his were not neatly cataloged at all. We are not sure how many books we now have, because only one of us keeps good records of such things. Come to think of it, we have a good vinyl record collection, too.
Then came sets of dishes. Because I needed different sets of dishes for different occasions. Thanksgiving, Christmas, patio, and picnicking. My sets of dishes were dwarfed by my mom’s collection, however. I inherited three dozen sets of dishes from her. Three dozen.
Now I have gnomes for every holiday and month of the year. I have Christmas sweaters for every day of Advent. I am thinking about a pair of Converse All Stars for each week of the year, but I will have to get rid of my collection of vintage shoes to make room for them.
Considering my compulsion to collect things, my family is very thankful that I am not particularly fond of cats. I have, however, been going to the pet shops and looking at parakeets.
Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. "Hope's Corner" is a weekly humorous column centered on a message of hope for residents in southwest North Dakota.