In May of 2009 I posted a blog about a new book I had heard about called The Find. A few days later, I received an email from the author, Stan Williams, thanking me for the write up, sharing further that he had a dear friend that lived here in Austin and he would love to see her and make an opportunity to travel from NYC to meet me. Well, the rest, as they say, is history. Stan is fond of giving me the compliment of saying that we are "kindred spirits" - I'm more of the belief that he is a long lost, amputated limb that I wasn't aware I was missing. This darlin' creature and dear friend, also known as The Elegant Thrifter , the blogger/writer of Busy Day Skilett and the maker of the marvelous Hooch Bags, holds a very special place in my heart.
I knew very little of ephemera before meeting Stan. My educated guess as to the meaning of the word fell between one of two definitions. My initial thought was that maybe it was some sort of urban slang for the little dip just above a woman's collar bone. But, then I also thought it sounded possibly like what hookers charge extra for. Turns out neither was correct. After some research I found that ephemera can be described as items designed to be useful or important for only a short time, for example pamphlets, postcards, tickets, etc. This research triggered a kind of greedy madness in me. And, I use the word greedy because to any observer it would seem like I already have more than enough collections. So, to take on another would be like fantasizing about being in love with Robert Downey, Jr. while you're making out with Hugh Jackman, it just seems unbecoming and a little ungrateful. Frankly, the fact that I even considered adding ephemera to the long list of things a collect (clearly a hoarding-obsessive-compulsive tendency) suggests that I am technically beyond help. But, with Stan as my mentor, I have learned the value of collecting only what you truly love and not being greedy. Leaving some for the next treasure-hunter is full of karmic benefits and is only one of the many marvelous traits that I love and admire about this man.
So, without further delay, in today's Thingy Thursday, I would like to introduce you to Stan and his collections and celebrate his undying passion for nostalgia, thrifting, and all things vintage. Below are his answers to a few nosey questions I posed:
What was your first collection?
Dolly Parton memorabilia. I probably started when I was 12. I do not display this collection, but I do haul it out on occasion to have a "Dolly" moment
How did this collections come about?
I saw Dolly Parton perform in 1977 at the American Royal rodeo promoting her "Here Your Come Again" album. I had seen her on TV and listened to her music, but this was when I officially became hooked. I still have the program. Funny enough, my mom was an original member of the Porter Wagoner fan club and has many of the original materials.
What's the history or story of your collection - is it reminiscent of items or times from your childhood - did you inherit a collection from your grandmother, aunt, mother, etc.? What's the draw - do emotions, design or function or something else make these items appealing?
Did I answer above?
How much Dolly ephemera do you have?
Hundreds...I have every album she recorded on RCA (and with Porter Wagoner), as well as her albums with Monument. I am only missing a couple of early, early pieces.
Do you use, display or store them?
No. Like I said, I'll pull a piece out here and there. A couple of years ago I through a party that I called Dolly-Rama, celebrating the launch of Dolly's Backwoods Barbie album, and made it all things Dolly. I do, however, have a signed print of the cast of "9 to 5" that Veli found at a junk shop in Waxaw, NC and gave me as a Christmas gift, but that's about it.
What is the most you've paid for a piece of Dolly ephemera?
I really don't remember. Probably $100.
What is the least you've paid for a piece of Dolly ephemera?
10 cents...for old publicity photos from the '70s
What is your favorite piece of Dolly ephemera?
The "9 to 5" Print
What other collections are you building?
None. If I find something I like, I pick it up. I don't buy a lot. I do like items with a sense of humor, filled with color and charm.
Would you sell or pass on your collections?
Yes, I would pass on my collections, provided anyone wanted them. I probably should have mentioned that I do, on occasion, pick up a vintage handbag to make a Hooch Bag with. I make hostess gifts out of vintage bags, fill them with funny money, a vintage surprise, a pack of candy cigarettes and a nip of booze..sort of a naughty but nice little gift that is popular for Mother's Day, wedding parties, special birthdays, or any time gals get together to have fun! I also like to pick up old pieces of china that I use to give people to take home goodies after a party, or use to give baked goods as gifts, and just let the recipient keep the plate.
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