I am what is known in polite circles as a collector. I own 16 children's phonographs, 213 Old Maid card games, 47 LPs by Jerry Vale. Although many people see my endless hunting and gathering of useless ephemera -- century-old bars of still-wrapped soap, 1970s breakfast-cereal premiums, thrift-store paintings of prom queens -- as an illness, I see it as a means of defining myself. Visit my home and you'll know instantly that I am a person who reads old books by the light of antique hurricane lamps while leaning against any number of 80-year-old bead-trimmed throw pillows from Niagara... More >>>