As children, we all probably collected something at one time or another — stamps, rocks, Beanie Babies or stickers. But as we grew up, something happened, and for some reason, we generally stopped collecting things.
There are some collectors, though, who hold on through adulthood. Their collections aren’t compiled for financial gain or to make themselves cooler. They are built on sentimental value and pleasure.
I visited with a few of Salem’s true collectors to find out more about their cherished pieces and the items they most enjoy talking about, and also to learn how it all started for them.
Sarah Fishler Rice has lived in a number of places on this planet, but now calls Salem home. She enjoys riding her bike to Roth’s for doughnuts.
Some people fall into their collections by accident, some collect because it’s just fun, and others, like Ray Youngberg, collect because the memorabilia is part of their identity. For Ray, that identity is cycling.
The 78-year-old South Salem resident was a champion cyclist in his youth, and as an adult, he rode the 785 miles from Portland to Salt Lake City in record time. Even now, in his 70s, he still holds the record: 64 hours, 40 minutes. And the whole time he has been riding, he’s been collecting.
He has numerous cycling club pins, vintage bike plates and license plates. His oldest bicycle is from 1910 (pictured, close-up of handlebar and bell).
Ray Youngberg’s wife, Pat, has a passion for Mr. Peanut. Pat, 74, and her husband have been collecting Mr. Peanut items for about 20 years. The collection began with an antique Mr. Peanut jar (pictured, held by Ray).
Today their curio cabinet holds Mr. Peanut dishes, salt and pepper shakers, toothbrushes, a baseball, toy cars and many other collectibles.
Alice in Wonderland
South Salem resident Tim King’s Alice in Wonderland collection began with the purchase of a single Christmas ornament sometime around 1984. Today, the 48-year-old’s collection has grown to more than 300 pieces, and includes books, mugs, shrunken tea sets, sheet music for a player piano and a cross-stitched pillow. His favorite piece is the Dodo.
Tim has only purchased a few of his collectables. The rest were gifts from friends and family. Do you have some Alice memorabilia you’d like to get rid of? Tim is currently accepting donations.
Salt and Pepper Shakers
Chrissy Ballantyne, 43, of Northeast Salem first came across a set of art deco-style salt and pepper shakers at an Iowa antique store about 20 years ago. Since that purchase, she has sought out other unusual vintage shakers.
Her collection of 88 sets includes a set of bobbling ceramic skulls, a retro naked lady set and a Korean War-era metal ship that her sister picked up for her in Chicago.