I had several collections: motel pens, bookmarks, and commemorative souvenir plates. Each grouping was carefully displayed in my bedroom.
I laid out the motel pens according to the color spectrum. When I had trouble remembering the order, I would just repeat the name of my trusted friend, ROY G BIV, under my breath. The bookmarks were divided into two categories. The ones with tassels received favored treatment. They were fanned out across a corner of my dresser. The non-tasseled losers were stuffed inside a Payless Shoe Source box underneath my bed.
Each souvenir plate had its own plastic stand. The fancier gold-rimmed plates from places like Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon got a primo spot on the top shelf of my bookcase. Plates purchased in gas stations with just a state name printed on the front were usually relegated to the third shelf, still within eyesight, but you really had to bend at the hips to see those.
My most prized collection was my stack of credit card statement advertisement inserts.
- A ceramic bald eagle statue to celebrate America’s 213th birthday
- A porcelain doll with real hair and moving eyelids. Limited edition of only 750,000
- A gold-like his-and-her watch set for three easy payments of $17.63
Every other day, when we walked to the apartment complex mail center, I skipped in heady anticipation, hoping to see a credit card statement in our box. The bigger credit card companies often included multiple mini-pamphlets. The department store statements usually had one dinky insert. Sometimes, they weren’t even the folding kind, just a sad little single sheet pimping out polyester sweater sets.
I’m a little sad Cal will never have the joy of starting her own Credit Card Statement Advertisement Insert Collection. She’ll never know the thrill of a growing stack, vaguely scented with Estee Lauder’s Beautiful or Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door, offering hours of entertainment. We’ll never know the heartache of refusing her a chiming mantle clock, as my parents experienced on a weekly basis.
What did you collect as a kid? Do you collect anything now?