Collecting is often mistaken as an illness by those who are not afflicted with the bug. My friend Mickey and I were bitten by the bug at an early age--perhaps as Mickey says, it's in our genes. In any case, we are now selling off some of our collected possessions--so we can buy more!

 

Henry Detwiler

Henry Detwiler

My Grandfather got me started on stamps when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Fossils and other rocks were next, occupying a large percentage of the shelf space in my room. While stationed in Oklahoma, some well-intentioned friends introduced me to bottle collecting.

We gleefully dug up our treasures at the old dump, in privies, and at abandoned bottling sites. After moving to the San Francisco area, I got even more involved with the bottles, and my buddy Nick and I would set up at bottle shows and sell our finds. A few years later I wound up in Arizona, where I live to this day. The bottle digging is tougher here, but there are many fine opportunities for rock hounding and relic hunting. While here, I've also pursued my other two obsessions, birding and photography, as seen at www.southwestbirders.com

 

Mickey McLean

Mickey McLean

Collecting is a gene that you inherit from your parents. My mother would never admit she had the gene. She thought everyone had over 1000 cookbooks and hundreds of thimbles. My father, on the other hand, clearly admitted he had the collecting gene and would collect anything. His “hobby” included 150 guns, three large safes full of old coins, hundreds of frying pans, stamps, old tools, and 30,000 pieces of glassware. In the end he owned and operated an antique store in Louisiana where I was born and lived for over 58 years.

Trained as a biologist, I used the profession as an excuse to collect biological specimens. I never killed anything, but was quick to stop and pick up road kills and worked with a number of zoos until I realized one day that I had prepared over 10,000 biological specimens. I ended up donating 90% of them to a natural history museum and a couple of colleges. I did not stop there, and I started collecting just about anything that I found interesting. Six thousand books were accumulated over the years including three hundred that were signed. Autographs, old newspapers, microscopes, movie props, scales, music, art, fossils, tools, and the list goes on and on as to what I collect. In the end, I filled a 10,000 square foot building with my collectibles.

A few years ago when hurricane Katrina decided she too collected the same stuff as I did, I packed what I could and moved to Yuma, Arizona, where I teach anatomy and physiology--and continue to collect.