Saturday, February 21, 2009

Junk Collecting On The Big Screen

Oy vey, tell me honesty that when you watched Pixar's newest computer animated film “Wall-E” that you didn't secretly wish that you could comb through some of those junk piles hunting for treasures of your own. Wall-E, the main character is a charming trash compactor with human characteristics who saves everything he finds after the earth is destroyed by generations of neglect and materialism. Despite the movies gloomy apocalyptic theme. Wall-E is a lovable hoarder that many of us who are passionate collectors can easily relate to.

Too Much Collecting: Collectors "Boxed-In"

I must confess, I wasn't too alarmed after seeing all those stockpiles of rubbish because I'm used to climbing through my own mounds of odds and ends.As a bona fide collector and dealer of kitchen kitsch I too have quite a stash of stuff... In fact, Pixar could have shut their computer off and saved a ton of money shooting many of their junk scenes right in my garage.At this very moment I have a pile of old wooden boxes purchased last week at a tag sale which is almost as tall as the Eifel tower. In fact I almost had to cut a hole in my garage roof to accommodate these fabulous dirty vintage boxes. The musty smell in that garage was overwhelming until I was able to spare some time to give these dusty fellas a good soapy bath.
Now I have a pile of clean boxes which still smell awful. But I'm hoping the crisp breeze coming through the back door of the garage will help air them out. .Believe it or not Wall-E and I have a lot in common. Wall-E is OCD just like me. He has everything organized in cubbies and old tins Game parts, wheels, vintage postcards, broken jewelry pieces, orphaned lid covers, bent flatware etc. are all stored away in individual compartments. And just like Wall-E, I too have seventy-five screw drivers and dozens of tape measures.

Junk Collecting and Dating
I kid you not, one Saturday night when most sane couples are out to the movies or dinner, my husband and I spent a romantic evening merging his tool workbench with my art supplies. At first he was in shock to learn that I had taken over yet another one of his sacred spaces. But when the dust settled I convinced him that there was no need for two distinct areas in the basement for his building tools and my art tools.So, we made a date and disappeared into the basement where we spent hours sorting through thirty years of hardware as well as decades of useless junk. . We now have plastic stacking drawers which hold such essential items as rusted outlet covers, parts to my daughter’s baby crib (she turns thirty this year and the crib is long gone) and other household “necessities”. I mean every home should have fourteen screw driver and eleven hammers.

Collectors Getting "Hammered"
I guess in my husband’s mind he is keeping so many hammers and screw drivers as back up inventory. Like a hammer or screw driver ever breaks? And the biggest laugh is that he is not the handyman type so that I can’t tell you the last time he even held a hammer in his hands.Screw drivers are another matter. He actually keeps a second supply of screw drivers in his desk on the main level of our house. Although I have never seen him use the screw driver for “real jobs”. I have seen him grab a screwdriver to pull apart ice cubes. He takes great pride in his tool collection. We also own an assortment of steel vices which are so heavy that they have never been moved from the spot his father left them in.
His dad, almost ninety years old has an enormous collection of tools and hardware which would make any collector envious. But the question is... could you find these gems? I am not exaggerating when I tell you that his dad’s basement is filled with every tin coffee can he ever opened as well as every premium given away since WWII ended.I have already let my mother-in-law know that it is not the tools I want when they summon the “kids” to clean out the basement, but it is the collection of board games that she has that I would love to have first dibs on.

Well let me get back to that Saturday night I was telling you about when my husband and I spent an intimate evening sorting out nails, tacks and fasteners. By the wee hours of the morning we had whipped that workbench into a model work space. My husband even found his handmade lanyard (which held his swimming pool whistle) a cherished item from his sleep-a-way camp days. And I found my pig dissection kit from High School biology. I have no idea why I am still saving it. The thought of where those implements have been is still grossing me out. I still remember as clear as if it was yesterday, asking my friend Neal to keep my fetal pig in his mother’s refrigerator. I told Neal “I was kosher” and couldn’t have a pig in my house. But now the truth is out, I couldn’t stomach the thought of having a pig in the same kitchen where my Twinkies were hidden. I’m not big on aliens “exotic” animals, dead animals, creatures etc. so it was really unusual for me to agree to see the movie Wall-E..But Wall-E will remind you of ET. This cute little robot Wall-E buzzes around accompanied by a loyal cockroach, the only vestige of life left on planet earth. I adored Wall-E and never knew his sidekick was a roach...I thought he was a cricket. How could you not fall in love with a trash compactor and cockroach who own a Rubik’s cube? These animated stars warmed my heart. Us collectors have to stick together.

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro café.

To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link:
C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff

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Dianne is a member of:
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