I never intended on becoming a collector. Being a child of the 1980’s I was thrust directly into
the “keep the kids busy era.” A lot of homes across the world were becoming more and more 2-
income households. So with both parents often working the childhood entertainment industry
was about to explode like never before.
My home in Mars Pennsylvania was not one of those homes, my Mother was always with us.
Thankfully so, because my Mom is where Hunting Nostalgia came from. With my childhood
antics I cannot believe she is still sane. My Mom and Grandfather would “garage sale.” They
wouldn’t sell often, but they would buy regularly. So regularly they went bright and early every
single Saturday and Sunday. I wasn’t quite old enough to have the interest to go myself yet but
from a very young age I would see the treasures they would deliver week,after month,after year.
It was their sport. And they were pros.
I grew up next door to my Grandparents who I also happen to share a birthday with, all 3 of us
born on September 1st. . Along with my grandparents lived my 5 uncles. The youngest of them
is only 7 years older than myself. This made for a childhood in hyperdrive. I saw up close all of
the coolest things that the 80’s had to offer. Years before I should have, in many cases that was
part of the fun. Each one of them had something that was interesting to me about them.
My Uncle John was the collector, the first person I ever saw display stuff in a way that was
mesmerizing and inviting. Don’t misunderstand, I wasn’t invited. Not by him, nor by my other 4
uncles. Most of my exploration came after they had left their house, or were at my house. That
way I knew I was safe to creep around in their rooms and sometimes take things. I was caught
many times and paid dearly for it. For preservation purposes only…. My Uncle Anthony is one of
the people responsible for my love of professional wrestling.
There is no one you can watch
wrestling with in the world that makes it feel more real than watching with my Uncle Tony. My
Uncle Joe was into Star Wars and that pretty much changed everything. His figures, almost all
of them. Are now with me, in safe keeping; for eternity. Though they aren’t like your Star Wars
toys they are customized. And for years I never knew it. I thought everyone’s Millennium Falcon
looked like it came off the set of Lucas Films. At least to me they did. My Uncle Jim watched old
comedy teams like Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges and most importantly The Marx
Brothers. Groucho Marx, to me, is the single most genius comedian of all time and he’s held the
title for 100 years. It’s a different humor, a timeless one that has helped form my sense of
humor. I rode the school bus with my Uncle Frank and I almost made him suffocate to death
from laughter with help of my Home Alone Talk Boy.
I should mention I don’t call my uncles-uncle. At least those uncles, It would have been weird
calling them uncle. We lived next door to each other and there were times one would jam a
massive spoonful of bitter blue icing in my mouth and laugh about it. So, I’d repay them by
singing and dancing for them and their girlfriends when they would have them over the house.
Observing treasure hunting at its simplest form was to my immense benefit. My G.I.Joes,
garage sale my Masters of the Universe, garage sale my Star Wars toys garage sale. Each
week I would wait at home to see if it was my “lucky day.” It wasn’t luck, it was skill. An
incredibly addictive skill, “finding the most for the least.” Each year this becomes harder and
harder to do. Mostly because of the use of computer phones and now being able to find
bargains of a lifetime from your couch. But personally that doesn’t duplicate that feeling of
actually finding something. That feeling of Nostalgia that you feel when finding that long lost
treasure you once loved. Of the thousand of items I have acquired and the hundreds of
collections I have, not one has come from online shopping. Simply because I don’t want the
hunt to end.
Finally I was old enough and had the interest enough to start “garage sailing” myself. I
remember specifically one of the first times I went with my Grandfather to “dahn tahn” Pittsburgh
to the strip. We had somewhere to stop before the garage sales on the way home. We went to
pick up super fresh cheese and pepperoni for square thick Pittsburgh pizzas. At a premium
price, I just remember feeling like I was now part of something. I’ve made the team.
My Parents and I lived across the street from Hills Department store. So when my Dad would
go to work my mom would take me to Hills. Before we would go inside she would say “if you
behave yourself, I’ll get you a wrestler.” I was HAVE so very have. Until I got my guy, then I was
dancing down the isles like Steve Urkle, purposely, exactly like Steve Urkle. Pants, suspenders,
voices and all…. It was a wonderful time.
Whenever an opportunity arose for me to take my childhood toys from my parents house I
immediately took it. Because I knew if anything bad ever happened to them it would be
devastating. And it has been, even if you pay extreme attention and you really really intend to.
It’s hard to keep items that you heavily played with for 30+ years. So I myself have lost
collections, though after years of the anger of losing them. I realized that it just adds to the hunt
for me now, and I tell myself the owner now really loves them. They better!
I am constantly searching for nothing. I have primary collections sure. But my hunt is specifically
for that feeling. That feeling that was born from the times spent with my Grandfather and Mom
“garage sailing” or that feeling of being the “lucky” one. Because that is a given. I have been
extremely lucky, in life in general. I have the children that I always wanted to pass along my
passions. And the Wife, much like my Grandmother, who doesn’t love the idea of “bringing
home old junk.” The actual items themselves are only vessels for those feelings of nostalgia.
And that is why, with the help of many friends and family members have created Hunting
Nostalgia the toy sniffing show of my dreams.