| February 7, 2012 3:47 pm

For his entire life, Grandpa was a collector. He collected coins (gold and silver dollars, pesos, pounds of the British Empire, historical coins of interest, and even a couple of Reichsmark from the Veimar Republic of Germany), guns, stamps, jokes (usually of questionable appropriateness), and baubles of interest. When I was quite small, I remember sitting with him as he would show me some of the items in his collection and talk about where they had come from.

Apparently, the drive to collect things is something that he’s always had. When he was a child, Grandpa was always filling his pockets with things, usually until there was room for nothing else.

These were mostly the harmless sorts of items that all boys bring home – bottle-caps, interesting stones, pretty feathers, bits of colored (and probably broken) glass, and bugs. But though most were harmless, there was one exception: Grandpa also liked to collect matches.

Like any mother, this tendency greatly concerned Great-grandma (especially as the parent of a prankster-prone boy). She was thoroughly convinced that grandpa, either deliberately or by accident, would burn the house down.

(Apparently, there may have been some rationale to these fears. Several times in my life, I’ve hard reference to an “incident with the chicken coup.” No one seems to know the specifics, but the consensus is that it was damaged, and that it was my grandpa’s fault.)

Great-grandma tried, gently, to persuade Grandpa that collecting matches was a Bad Thing. This, however, was less than successful. So, Great-Grandma decided to take bold action. One night, while Grandpa was sleeping, she took all of his clothes and sewed up the pockets.

Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful as well. He still managed to find ways to bring things (including matches) home.


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