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Chapter 45

Treasure or Trash

Me Again. Treasure or Trash. Pack Rat or Bona Fide Art Collector. In the words of the Bard, "That is the question." Nonie, Present Wife, and I both decided that if we want to put anything else in the garage, we must first get rid of some of the goodies we have collected over the past twenty-six years. The large stuff is easy, just look around. Two refrigerators, a Montgomery Ward upright freezer that Nonie purchased in 1980 for a hundred bucks and it was full of meat! Good meat! I told her at the time, she would be lucky if the thing lasted a month. Shows you how much I know about old freezers. Still ties every bundle, quiet as a mouse and have never had it serviced except to defrost it every six months.

Then, the polyurethane storage boxes full of "arts and crafts." Actually, they are full of cardboard baskets Nonie learned to make while on vacation in Detroit. She planned to corner the market with this product. We took the first one hundred we had constructed to first Monday Trades Day in Weatherford, Texas where we paid eight dollars for a booth, ten dollars for lunch and sold one basket for three dollars. Pretty little "All Occasion" baskets, each one handcrafted from cardboard and crepe paper. I didn't even count the money we spent for supplies such as glue, paper and a paper cutter. We have tried giving them away at previous garage sales but no takers.

Now Nonie is not the only one who has a habit of collecting. I will have to share some of the blame for the mess. My hang-up is tools and electronics. We must have at least six VCRs...some work, some used to work. Mobile phones, old house phones, a few books, lots of photographs. I trashed picked an eight track, AM-FM stereo this past summer to play my collection of tapes from another era. I don't think I will part with that as I have not listened to all my tapes as yet.

I was looking for some foreign coins I had put in a safe place the other night and that is what gave me the idea for this chapter. I found the coins stashed behind a jewelry box [Yes, real men have jewelry boxes.] in my dresser. That was a trip back through time. There are some Deutchmark from my first trip to Germany in 1955. Some Dutch Guilder from 1980, French Francs, Belgian Francs, Mexican Pesos, Japanese Yen, those funny little brass coins with the square hole in the middle. Wonder why the Japanese do that? British coins featuring the Queen. The wheat pennies I thought I had lost including one of the zinc pennies from World War Two. That is a treasure worth about fifty cents to a collector if you can find a collector who doesn't know much about coins. The Pesos are beautiful coins, especially those Fifty Peso denominations. Heavy, with wonderful designs. Egyptians Pounds and some piaster coins. Egyptian use the decimal system. One pound equals one hundred piaster. Some of the English pennies are as large as our half dollar. Don't want to leave out the Canadian coins. They have a habit of showing up in your change in Michigan, worth about seventy cents on the dollar. Hard to catch the way some cashiers make change nowadays. Really ticks me off when they hand you bills, a receipt and coins on top of the paper and invariably, the coins wind up on the floor. It even upsets them when I ask for my coins in one hand, and the paper in the other. But I stray.

Remember when men, real men, wore shirts with cuff links instead of buttons? All the years in the automobile business I don't think I owned a shirt that had button sleeves. I knew I had a fair collection of cuff links and opened the box to reminisce. At the top of the box, are my military memorabilia. The artillery brass, my service ribbons, the first medal from National Guard days in the fifties. Expert tank weapons, carbine, pistol and rifle. My Marksman medal from 1954 when I qualified with the M-1 Garand. I was lucky to have qualified. The rifle I was using must have been one of the first manufactured, no lans or grooves left. I could have thrown a bullet further than that thing would shoot. In Germany, I fired expert with carbine and rifle which made me feel much better. My battalion crests from the 148th FA, 105 Howitzer, Battery C., Fort Bliss, Texas, 1954. My first duty station in a line outfit. The crest features a scorpion, palm tree, fleur de lis and the motto, "Whenever, Wherever." My battalion crest from the 443AAA, Skysweeper, Hq&Hq Battalion, Wiesbaden, Germany. Red and yellow vertical pointed bars and the motto, "Forever Conquer Tyranny." I also have cuff links with the crest. About the size of a dime.

A lone silver cuff link in the shape of Texas. Don't know what happened to the other one. I had a gold pair just like it but I know what happened to that set. The chief of security at the Sheraton Hotel in Cairo, saved me from an attack by an angry Arab. I was so relieved I gave him the gold Texas cuff links and my Parker County Sheriff's Posse badge! Regretted it very much the next day but an Indian giver I am not. One Pontiac gold cuff link. I won a pair in a Service Manager's contest but don't know what happened to it's mate. A single beautiful mother of pearl link. I do have the matching tie bar that was part of the set. The set I am very proud of are a seven cylinder radial engine cast in silver. A gold pair with the initial W, at least a dozen tie tacks and one silver collar bar. That thing was a pain to put on. The bar is about two inches long and the diameter of a sewing machine needle. One end is threaded and the trick is to unscrew this end, push it through a hole in the collar through a matching hole in the other side and replace the nut. It goes behind the tie to make it stand up behind a four in hand knot. My gold Honda motorcycle chain bracelet with FROGGY engraved on it. Ca. 1975. Two Worden Baby bracelets from 1958 and 1962. My son David and daughter Dianne. I have had this box since 1957, a gift from my ex at Christmas.

Memories are wonderful, even some of the bad ones. They make you stronger.

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