Copyright 2010 – Kimberly Clay

This past Sunday there was a story on the Washington Post website by a collector, Richard W. Fulton. His story focuses on the fact that while he is an enthusiastic, and by all appearances, incurable collector, his wife isn’t; and the incongruity that particular circumstance creates in their relationship.

I immediately identified with his situation (I too am married to a non-collector), and then thought how many of “us” there must be who are in the same or similar situations.

I have been a collector almost since the womb, I think. I had parents who were very indulgent in that respect. My early recollections are of collections of stuffed animals (a good number of which I hung onto for 30 years or more until my husband tossed them out. I was SO upset – “Those old things? I put them in the trash. Why in the world would you hang onto those? You’re not a kid anymore…”), a huge collection of rocks and fossils (of every kind you could imagine, including now-protected Native American artifacts), beer cans (Yup, beer cans. My Dad started that one:), original copies of National Geographic Magazine (my Dad again) and more.

It was my mother though, who really got me hooked on antiques (although Dad used to be very adamant about impressing upon us the importance of collecting and keeping family heirlooms and artifacts). As kids, she used to (drag) take us to yard sales and garage sales. (She never found one she didn’t like:) Then (again) as a kid, I stumbled upon my first neighborhood auction. After that I was hooked, no turning back, and I’ve been an avid antiques, collectibles and vintage collector ever since.

And although I’ve sometimes fantasized about how incredibly wonderful it would be if my husband and I shared my absolute love for collecting, in all reality, it would probably be a nightmare. Our home would be so crammed with “stuff” as to be uninhabitable. We would constantly have differences of opinion about which collection was more important or what item was more valuable, and I would be bonkers with him always underfoot; following me to every single auction and estate sale or gallery, with absolutely no “me time”.

So even though there are plenty times I miss having a companion with whom to share my passion for antiques, hate it when my husband continues to stare into the television as I’m telling him about my most amazing find (or the other really great experiences that collecting affords me), I guess it’s really for the best the way things are. Ce la vie!

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