Like Father, Like Family?

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I’m often asked if my passion for collecting extends throughout the family or am I an anomaly in that regard (some say I’m an anomaly in a whole different world but that’s another story altogether). My two brothers became interested but more from a passive angle, however they did walk many shows with me and at one point helped manage our own table at memorabilia gatherings. Obviously my two children grew up around the hobby attending many shows, swap meets, flea markets and any outlet that may have uncovered an unknown treasure. They dabbled like most kids with the cards of their era, Pokémon and Barney, progressing to pro sports when they started watching the games. Ryan had a fleeting interest, preferring to play the sports instead and it seemed most of the kids he grew up with preferred an x-box over a box-set of trading cards. Andra exhibited a keen interest from an observation standpoint rather than an accumulation one, preferring to ask a question about the significance of a piece rather than acquire it herself although she developed a love for Disney memorabilia, acquiring some vintage pieces that remain a part of her life today.

Of my children, Andra is probably the closest to me when it comes to real passion for the collection. Our first show together I pushed her stroller around the massive aisle-ways at the National in Cleveland that included Gordie Howe giving us his cab. For good measure he helped us load everything in the trunk of the car; she was sound asleep the whole time.

The most memorable outing we attended was the National Sports Convention in Anaheim, California in July 2000; she was eight at the time. The convention center was a short bus ride to Disneyland so the deal was half a day at each. Now the trader in me had red flags popping up everywhere thinking I was getting snookered into a trip to Disneyland with an appearance at the show.

While she did have an obvious interest in Disneyland I found out very quickly that the sports show held her attention as much, if not even more than the family theme park. I should point out that Ryan who was three years behind Andra would attend shows but the minute we’d arrive he’d seek out his “treat” and then want to leave. Proceeding with caution to Anaheim I was prepared for some pushback attending the show.

Not only did Andra enthusiastically engage in all the surroundings of the huge show room she was an excellent spotter of pieces I was searching out. At one point I was in the process of negotiating a Notre Dame four horsemen rookie card and for the life of me couldn’t remember the aisle one of the few I was examining was located, “Dad, are you looking for that good condition Notre Dame card?” “Yes I am, why?” “I know where it is, c’mon I’ll show you.”

In a state of bewilderment I held her hand and she proceeds to direct me to the exact booth with the best-conditioned card I’d err we’d seen. The card is still in the collection today.

And so it began, she was barely tall enough to see over the top of the tables but nevertheless with superman vision sought out items on our wish list.

Not only did she discover items, Andra made suggestions of pieces that may fit the theme of our collection. When she visits the “Room” nowadays there are many items Andra watched me purchase over the years but it’s the items on display from our trip to Anaheim that resonate with us. That bond will last a lifetime.

It’s very apparent how impressionable our children really are and as parents we really set the foundation for them to carry forward. Andra is now a first time parent herself and will soon leave a lasting impression on her own child. Here’s hoping and praying that if I encouraged anything, is a new Leaf fan!!