Buttons: by which I mean those types of buttons that politicians give out. Some of them are from political races; I think the first is for a guy named Bill Burns, who was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor of Binghamton, NY, my hometown, in 1969. A lot are from various events, such as an anti-nuke rally in June 1982. Some have no political agenda at all, such as series of buttons of famous cartoonists.
I’ve been collecting for a long time, but not in any organized fashion. One button I had in high school was “Kiss Me, I’m Germ Free.” My friend Jon took a liking to it, so I lent it to him, but I never got it back. He decided to wear it on the seat of his pants, some teacher reported him to the principal, and the principal confiscated it; bummer.
Books: I was reading somewhere that people like to judge people by the types of books they see in their living rooms when they visit. If that is indeed the case, then we might be judged as largely illiterate, for there are only about a dozen books on the first floor of our house.
However, in the office on the second floor, there are built-in bookshelves that take up about half the wall space, and they are filled with tomes. To my left and right are my wife’s books teaching guides and classic literature. In front of me as I write this are my reference books for film, music, television, sports, plus my Marvel Masterworks and other comics-related items. Behind me are texts on religion, history, biography; a lot of my Beatles-related books are there. In the attic, more Beatles, TV, and comic book stuff, in bookshelves, not in boxes; this is why the lengthy repair of the attic was so frustrating – lack of access to some of my books.
I’m actually loath to consider my books a “collection,” though I suppose others might think so. I was watching CBS Sunday Morning last month, and I saw that Doris Kearns Goodwin has hundreds of books about Presidents. My ex-girlfriend Susan had several thousands of books, at least for a time. Now THOSE are collections.
Music: as I’ve noted, I started collecting records, i.e., LPs, since about 1966, maybe 1965. When I stopped collecting them in 1989 – last purchase was some Ray Charles album – I had about 1,200 of them. Since then, though, the number has grown as people, switching over to compact discs, dumped their collections on me. I dare say the collection has doubled, with a relatively small number being duplicates.
For a brief time, I was collecting cassette tapes, but I discovered soon that they wore out too quickly. Still, there is music that I only have in that form. BTW, I NEVER owned an 8-track player, so I avoided those altogether.
I got my first CDs in 1987, and I probably still get a half dozen CDs each year, for my birthday and Christmas at least. My CDs number more than 1,500 because I started putting them in new furniture my wife wanted me to get – it wasn’t MY idea – but they didn’t fit. Some of them are on the Amazon Cloud, which doesn’t FEEL like a collection at all.
My rationale for owning that much music involves the notion that I should PLAY that music, and I do have an arcane methodology of listening to at least most of my CDs once a year. I’m sure I’ve even described the process in this blog, though I know not where, but if you REALLY want to know, you can Ask Roger Anything later this month.