Posted by: deadmousediaries | September 3, 2014

Trash Today, Treasure Tomorrow – collecting more than dust with Mitchell Kyd

I spent the last long weekend of summer strolling through my childhood. That didn’t mean a trip to the beach, or the amusement park or even going through my photos. Nope. My childhood memories flashed back with price tags attached at the antiques store.

I’m not sure when my life stories crossed that line from recent to classic but they have already finished their free-fall past vintage and have plummeted straight on to antique. (And that of course makes me ask: what does that say about me?)

I have been quite proud of myself in finding a way to display my mother’s 1930’s high chair in my dining room and stylishly topping my book case with my great-grandmother’s laundry basket without realizing my life experiences, too, have now crossed the line into collectibles. Things I tossed to the bottom of my toy box in a frantic search to find Buzzy, my bumble bee pull toy, are suddenly resurfacing as hot tickets in antique malls everywhere. There are apparently other families who find the trappings of my childhood years as kitschy as the promise of ordering a Harvest Gold fridge from the Sears catalog.

It’s a given that books are a good bet for long-term collecting. I recently found a copy of Dr. Dan the Band-Aid Man among the Little Golden Books on a vendor’s shelf. Sadly, the supply of real Band-Aids that had originally been included in the back had all been used. A hanging basket suspended by strands of macrame held issues of Mad Magazine and a paperback copy of Love Story. But how can that be?? That stuff is classic, man, but certainly not antique.

I stumbled onto the technology section of the store and found a rotary phone and a stack of eight-tracks sitting on a little vinyl suitcase. The suitcase was a great disguise for the portable record player inside that was just like the one Mrs. Shatzer let me drag to class in second grade for our celebration on the last day of school. 

On the shelf above that, two fat metal boxes sat disconnected from their wiring and their support poles to remind me of nights driving from space to space trying to find working speakers at Sunset Drive-In Theater. There will be a buyer for defunct drive-in speakers, really?? That’s a warning to me that maybe we’ve gone a little too far in embracing the new industrial look in decorating.

It’s not surprising that in the same way metal toys replaced wooden ones decades ago, plastic has become the metal of the new millennium. Models of flashy red Thunderbirds sat in locked cases along with plastic Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner cups. Pop-bead necklaces, the poor girl’s pearls, shared space with mood rings in the jewelry trays.

If I had only known. I put my plastic Ringo figurine with human-like hair out for yard sale fodder 30 years ago. Ditto for my love beads and framed photo of  the hunky but always distressed Dr. Ben Casey.

So what should we be saving today to ensure we are collecting tomorrow’s guaranteed antiques? I’ve given this some serious thought and here are some Kyd picks:

Plastic laundry detergent bottles. They’re colorful, sturdy, smell good and are excellent examples of elaborate packaging that will hopefully reflect our antique attitude about taking care of our planet in the years ahead.

Styrofoam egg cartons. Of course Wall-E will still be digging up styrofoam everything a thousand years from now but pristine egg cartons will be a thing of the past if my predictions are correct. Given our continued penchant for processed food that remove it from its natural state to extend the shelf life, I contend that fresh eggs will disappear from grocer’s shelves. Instead you’ll find only some canned or frozen version of their former selves. Unless you plan to get eggs from the chick next door, you won’t be seeing egg shells — or their styrofoam containers. 

Gas caps. In order to explain why a vehicle needed a gas cap, someone will first need to explain to visitors in the antique mall why cars ever needed gas.

Vegetable seed packets. As the mega-growers become more and more dominant in our food chain, chemically-engineered vegetables will grow bigger, faster, and more immune to pests. They will also come to us without seeds and their reproductive rights will be owned and not available for sale in little paper envelopes.

Cell phones. The great thing about this item is that has it’s own complete line of accessory items just liked Barbie had cars and wigs. Dick Tracy was using a wrist-watch phone 50 years ago. Why do we think we will be lugging around a separate communications device much longer?

House keys. With thumb print security systems and retinal scanners already in place, how much longer will it be before that technology becomes affordable at home?

Slim Jims. I’m not talking about those thin metal gadgets that slide inside door panels to unlock car doors. I mean that narrow spindle of adult chew-toy that sits upright in bright yellow boxes at the grocery check-out. Anything that includes the words mechanically separated chicken on the ingredients list must surely be doomed to extinction. The great thing about hoarding this item for future sale is that it requires no special handling. You can toss it in the trunk of your car or stash it in your attic for a decade with no discernible affect on its quality.

So there you have it, my predictions for the antiques of the future. Laugh if you will but remember, when you read about this in 2039 in the Journal’s 25 Years Ago Today column, you’ll wish you had held on to that stuff. Happy collecting!



  1. Wow, you’ve given me a great deal to think about for the future. Thank you for sharing your delightful writing ability with the world!

    • The good news is: I think your farm will still qualify to be a chick next door!

  2. Loved reading this……food for thought and a few giggles……good things to brighten my day.

    • I should have added:”Food packaging labels containing the words: high fructose corn syrup and trans fatty acids”!!)

  3. I am so happy to be reading you…I hope that this year is when we meet. I am back on the road as a gypsy and may be up your way and will send and email. Fill me in on what your life is brewing. Maya Christobel

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