Lane Cooper, who recently showed off and expressed a special fondness for two old 1960’s six packs of empty 7 UP bottles… in an earlier post… raced up our road and dashed into the barn to find me and show off a… vintage (“NO ZIP CODE!”) A&W Root Beer syrup jug with its “ORGINAL CAP”. “Nice” I said calmly when asked my opinion.
“YOU’VE GOT TO GO THIS PLACE HE WANTS TO SELL EVERYTHING I’M TAKING YOU RIGHT NOW I TOLD HIM SO YOU HAVE TO COME HE KNOWS WE ARE COMING I TOLD HIM YOU WOULD BUY ALL OF IT”.
“WHAT?” I said NOT so calmly.
“YOU’VE GOT TO GO!”
After stating clearly that I “don’t have to GO ANYWHERE”… I went.
We were greeted by a… long gray bearded barrel bellied gut hanging motorcycle booted torn wool cap (at 86 degrees) and “HARLEY” bedecked forearm tattooed… “collector” who… now found himself between a “my new love” “Susan” OR “my collection” rock and hard place crossroads of life. “Its Susan or Stuff” he stated AFTER looking ME up and down like I was a “great bike”.
It did not look like a fine arts discovery sale to me. I said I buy and sell “fine arts; decorative arts”
“I got some of those.” He said. I said nothing.
“I” he continued after my no response “don’t want to sell yet. Not today. This is my museum.”
“OK FINE” I said delighting in this statement that …got me off ANY HOOK and caused Lane to start stammering something about what was said earlier.
“NOT TODAY” was the final biker arms folded verdict for that. “BUT LET ME SHOW YOU AROUND!” he said.
“Let me get my camera” I didn’t say but did do. I took the photographs on the sly.
We toured the main building housing his “collection” and/or “museum”. As soon as I was stepping into the building through the heavily locked door I knew he is a hoarder. Most of it he’s gathered for free over the past quarter century. He started before that. It is, in total, probably forty years of gathering. Most of the holding cannot be explored for it is buried beneath more recent acquisitions. This later material has been tainted by the once off-the-trash-for-free “collector” expanding to actually buying “things I like” for the past decade at least. I say “tainted” because this newer “buy” impulse has reduced the ranging and roving of his earlier collecting. Instead of finding first hand his treasure these days a lot of his newer finds were found by someone else first and then sold to him.
“Treasure” it is not. It’s highly unlikely there is, for example, an actually good, great or rare oil painting buried in the mounds. He… “things I like” so… with no art background and no art eye combining with road house aesthetics… a quicker hand and eye most probably beat him out on “a good one”. As for what the dealers have sold him… “forget it”.
Lane STILL thinks there’s gold in there. “Not me” and “Good luck” I told him. He persisted. I said “Look: That stupid root beer jug you got out of there is one of the best things I saw in the place”.
He looked at me for a minute and then said “You know… Your right about that.” We were back in the yard. “Hey: Maybe he could go on TV.” he continued.
“No” I said “The stuffs not good enough. He’s got enough of it but there’s nothing there. Its not interesting. He’s not that interesting either. As a hoarder, he’s only sort of good; a middle of the pack hoarder”.
“Who’s he gonna sell all that too?” said Lane.
“He’s not gonna sell that stuff. That woman will listen to him talk about selling for a few more months then figure it out and head for the hills. Anytime… just like today… an actual buyer shows up he’ll close up tighter than a clam. All that stuff will be right there the day after he dies.”
“Except my root beer jug” said Lane and then he grinned at me.