Showing a weakness for antiques |

Showing a weakness for antiques

John Hefner
A first aid kit from the days preceding area codes in phone number.
John Hefner

They say the first step in dealing with a problem is to recognize it. I have an affliction. I have begun collecting odd items from the past. Perhaps this is because I have always felt older than I am. I have an old toaster that may work but frankly I am scared to plug the thing in. One day I will try it on a GFI circuit so I don’t burn my house down. I have several old Underwood typewriters. Along with two old crank telephones and some old kerosene railroad lanterns. Old technology fascinates me.

Recently, when looking for stuff for the shop I came across some old First-Aid kit cases. The first one was completely stocked including the old mercurochrome that mom would patch me up with. This kit included an old metal sign that was in decent shape and the case. I just had to have the pair.

My recent acquisition is from Facebook Marketplace, that is another addiction to be addressed later in my life. A seller in Carson posted this old first aid case from Nevada Fire Extinguisher Service. The selling point was it had a saying printed on it that says “Don’t be an Ash.” The phone number was FA 22441 and they were located in Reno. According to my research this case must predate 1947 since that is when Nevada began using area codes.

My wife thinks I am nuts collecting all these old things, until I remind her, she collected me and I am old. I just have yearning for a time when life was simpler, I guess. I wasn’t constantly looking for treasures but the treasures bring back my youth. I picked up one of those old salesman mini stoves. I am sure it is a replicant since it was made in Taiwan. But every time I look at it, I am reminded of the one my mom had up on the shelf. I would pull it down and play with it sometimes without her knowledge.

There will be a time in the future when these things are stuffed in a museum. Generations will wonder how we used smartphones and have no concept how to dial a rotary phone. I can honestly say I am not collecting these to fund my retirement since the only value they have is sentimental to me.

I have boxes and boxes of military awards and documents that sit hidden. I have a big tote of bowling trophies that sit on the shelf. While those things have meaning to me for things I have done, they still do not come out of there box and I can’t explain why.

Sometimes I will find something at an estate sale. I find that very sad that there isn’t a family museum that will tell the families stories like the Dangberg Estate. If in the next 50 years if there is ever a Hefner museum this one will be filled with old technology and not old Playboys. “Too distant to matter” if the question pops in your head!

I thought the best way to capture my reasoning was here in the journal. Lord knows people in my family don’t get it! They just hate dusting the things but to me they bring back great memories. Perhaps one day when I am gone, they will look back at those things and have fond memories too.

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