Everybody has things they collect, and for various reasons. Maybe there’s some sort of sentimental value attached to the things people collect. Or perhaps a specific interest. Or maybe we just think something is neat.
For me, the things I collect are tied to memories or feelings I want to keep close. So what are my collections?
This should come as a no-brainer. Most authors are also avid readers, and I am no different. At various points in my life, I have had to purge my personal bookcase because I’d either outgrown the stories it held or because I was moving and just didn’t have the space for everything. Most of the books that went by the wayside arrived at the local library (and probably their periodic bargain book sales, as paperbacks tend to fair poorly in circulation). But certain books remained.
I have a healthy collection of books about history, for example, particularly about the American Civil War. For much of my teen and adult life, historical fiction filled my bookcase. I have some Dickens, the entire Harry Potter series in hardcover. I also have quite a bit of Tolkien.
As far as authors go, I really only have two whose books I consciously collected and kept. The first is L.M. Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series and many more delightful books. I discovered her books in fourth grade, thanks to my then-best friend, and from there my collection was born. I’m pretty sure I have every novel she ever wrote and all of the curated short story collections as well.
The second author is John Jakes. I started off with his North & South trilogy, moved on to the Kent Family Chronicles, and then went about acquiring every historical fiction novel he ever published. I understand he has some science fiction(?) books written under a different pen name, but those I haven’t read.
I love to cook and bake, so of course it’s no suprise that I have a collection of cookbooks. I think at one point early in my marriage, I had a total of like twenty different cookbooks. Possibly more. I got rid of a lot of them when we moved from New York to North Carolina, and then several more when we finally unpacked at our forever home. I think I’m down to about ten, now, but I’ve also acquired a few more since we moved south. So I might be creeping back up toward twenty.
I love Christmas; it’s my favorite holiday. As with other things, I’ve had to purge a lot of decorations over the past few years as we made our move south. But I love getting new Christmas decorations (teachers get a lot of that sort of thing as gifts from students) and figuring out where to put everything when the time comes.
I have a couple themes when it comes to Christmas decorations. Snowmen, somehow, became a major theme on accident. We have a couple different iterations of the Nativity. The only ornaments I really collect have been the Hallmark Gone With the Wind movie collection (yes, I know), though I haven’t gotten any new ones in several years as they’ve started sort of repeating. My mom started the collection for me back in 1997, and I think I have about 27 of them.
About three years into my teaching career, I got really into scarves as a fashion statement. Mostly because I was cold all the time in the winter. I have scarves of all materials, colors, and designs, though admittedly I haven’t worn many of them since moving to North Carolina. (Winters here are a bit milder.) I probably should clean some of them out, but I like knowing they’re hanging, all organized, in my closet.
The most interesting thing I collect may be foreign currency. The collection wasn’t even mine to begin with. My dad started collecting foreign currency when he was in the Air Force and deployed to different countries around the world. He kept them in an old cigar box that, I assume, he acquired during a deployment to Panama in the early 1980s (that’s unverified).
At some point when I was in middle or high school, he passed the collection on to me. I have added to it over the years. Some items came from more of his deployments. Other things came from friends who travelled out of the country. For example, a high school friend brought me a 1000 lira note from her family’s trip to Italy when we were in 10th grade, just prior to Italy adopting the Euro. One of my dad’s coworkers gave him a Polish banknote from the Cold War era, which he passed along to me. My aunt and uncle gave me a banknote from Nepal after one of their missionary trips. I received coins from a Swedish penpal when I was in 6th grade.
Some of the currency is probably valuable, such as the pristine Canadian two-dollar note (which they don’t make anymore as it gave way to the “toonie”). The Polish Cold War-era note, also, is obviously out of circulation, as is the 1000 lira. I also have some examples of American currency, like a $1 silver certificate, the Sacagewea $1 gold coin, and a couple of $2 bills. And some Euros to round it all out.
Right now, the collection is still in the cigar box. I plan to put everything into a currency collector binder to keep everything safe and neat. It just hasn’t happened yet.