Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Collection #2

I disposed of my Dad’s possessions after he died in 2001. He had many collections. Coins, stamps, decorative plates and about 75 toy cars. Overwhelmed by the fact that I had to unload two apartments in a state 3,000 miles away and handle the estate with attorneys and accountants at the same time, I just motored through it blindly. I had no one to help me as my only sister couldn’t have been bothered. Eventually it took me three years to get it all done. It nearly did me in. I was still drinking in those days and looking back, it both saved me and ruined me.

For some reason I couldn’t wait to get rid of the toy cars. I would look at them and think, “Who is going to love these cars now that my Dad is gone?” That is one thing you learn when someone dies. The things that they loved become the stuff that you can’t wait to unload. You know you shouldn’t feel that way but you do. And then you look around your own house and know that some day, someone will be combing through your prized crap thinking the same thing.

I gave the bigger cars that were still in their original boxes to all of the doormen in my Dad's building, most of whom had children. Some cars I sold through a local thrift shop. The only two that I kept were the Jeep and the little green and white car that are in this picture. I kept the Jeep because Dad was in the Army and that replica cost $55.00. (He kept all his receipts) The Army replaced Jeeps with Humvees long ago so it’s a memory of times past, when we were the good guys in the fight and the world loved us.

One day about two months ago I decided to just look at EBay to see if they had any cool toy cars. I found some and then found some more at the Melrose Flea Market. I paid money to start a collection that I couldn't wait to get rid of six years ago.

End of chat.


  1. My dad collects coins, Charles Bukowski novels, and stuff he finds at a local flea market-type place. He's also journaled daily, detailing things his family has said and done. There must be hundreds of those books...I look to the day when we have to read through those journals with something like a rock in my stomach.

  2. Jess, reading through my dad's old letters to all his wives (he had 4) was hard enough. I recently found a poem he wrote in the 8th grade. He was a writer and a funny guy and never pursued what he loved.

    He always encouraged me because he couldn't do it himself. He taught me to never settle. And I never have.

  3. S- I have recently been overwhelmed at the thought of one day relatively soon having to go through my dad's house and I am petrified. Our family has been in the house since 1961 (LONG before I was born, p.s.)so it is loaded with stuff and emotion. Plus, my brother moved HIS whole life into that house before he died. Crap -- I'm crying just thinking about it.

  4. Anonymous4:01 PM

    My mother is 88. The last time I was at her house, I noticed that she had saved (in a spare room) her collection of years and years of "Architectural Digest." It wasn't that she was waiting to use one as a reference tool so she could duplicate Princess Radziwill's dining room, but she thought they would be incredibly valuable. Later that day, I was helping her clear out a drawer and found that she had not taken care of very valuable Canadian silver coins from the 1800s. They had oxidized. Yet the magazines were in pristine condition and worth very little. It is always interesting to see what people value. Thanks again, Suzy, for letting us into your life.
    Martha Jane

  5. Denise, believe me, it was such a nightmare because I did it all myself. It was beyond overwhelming going back and forth from LA to Florida. I found out what I was made of going through that.

    Martha, Dad had magazines with the JFK's, LBJ's and all that poltical stuff. I kept having walk-thru sales in the apt over 3 years and it was the one thing people didn't even pick up. In the end I donated them all to charity.

    As they say, one man's trash....

  6. that's weird- my dad drank a lot of beer and I never did- hate it still- but in college we got into collecting beer cans from all over the world- when i graduated i let my friends open them all and drink them-

    at one point I loved old maps- of the west indies only- i had enough to wallpaper a bathroom with them which i wanted to do until i wondered why the hell i needed so many maps around me- was i lost? chucked them all- framed one

  7. surcie8:26 PM

    I'm fascinated by the fact that you're buying these cars. Does it make you feel like you and your dad share a hobby?

    I can't ebay. It sucks me in and I'm immediately addicted.

  8. Surcie, I have no idea why I started buying those cars. I think he would laugh if he knew I got rid of all of his and bought new ones.

    EBay is beyond addictive. Ask anyone who knows me.