Two stories on collecting in general caught my eye recently. The first is from a New York Times interview with actor Tom Hanks for his current film about Mister Rogers.
So Tom Hanks is as nice as you think he is and exactly what you hope him to be, which is great unless you are someone trying to tell a good story about him, with elements like an arc and narrative tension. “Saintly Actor Playing Saintly Public Television Children’s Host Mister Rogers Is Saintly” is not a great story.
Tom Hanks got his first typewriter when he was 19. He told me this at our second meeting, which was in Santa Fe, where he’s shooting “News of the World.” It was a Sunday, and he’d just come from seeing “Ad Astra” with his youngest son, Truman.
Hanks grew up in Northern California, in the era of the Zodiac Killer and Patty Hearst and the Black Panthers and the People’s Park riots. He was 5 when his parents divorced and he and his older brother and sister went to live with his father, while another brother lived with their mother. Both parents were in rough shape, just trying to survive. His father worked in a variety of small restaurants, remarrying again and again and moving every few months.
He and his siblings had the run of the house while their father worked long hours. They didn’t eat the frozen vegetables he brought home, and they mostly knew what time it was because of what was on television. “No one told me how to brush my teeth,” he said. “I never flossed until I was out of high school, because dental hygiene was handled by a filmstrip that we saw in second grade that said, really, try to eat an apple, and that cleans your teeth. So, hey, I had an apple last week, so my teeth are kind of clean.”
He remembers Oprah once asked him on her show about his dysfunctional family growing up, and he thought, “What’s that? Oh, that’s us.” He’d never thought of himself that way. But somewhere underneath he must have known that something was off because he had started accumulating a lot of typewriters. Hundreds of them. It was something about how he never got to keep the things he loved through all of his family’s moves. Now that he’s 63 and he’s thought a lot about it, he realizes that when he was young, he’d often have to move on a moment’s notice and was not in charge of packing, so he often lost things that were important to him. “I had nothing, actually, that stayed with me all through my life. I don’t have anything from when I was 5 years old. I don’t have anything from when I was 3.”
Like I said, he was 19 when he got his first typewriter. A friend gave it to him — “it was a hunk of junk — a toy,” he said. He went to get it serviced, and the repairman said to him, “This is a toy. Why are you using a toy?” The man sold him a Hermes 2000, which is now lost. So he invested in another. “I said, oh yeah, this is going to stay with me for a while, and I am soothed by it. I’m soothed by having it. I’m soothed by knowing that I can take it anywhere with me.”
To read the complete article, see:
This Tom Hanks Story Will Help You Feel Less Bad
This piece from Yahoo! Lifestyle profiles a Mickey Mouse collector.
Paul Bottos didn’t have much of a childhood. He grew up in what he calls a “dysfunctional” family — constantly moving around, attending 17 different schools before even starting high school — and then wound up in group homes and foster care by the time he was 13. As a teen, he took part in a riot at his school and wound up spending six months in prison.
It wasn’t until connecting with Mickey Mouse that Bottos, of Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada, found himself “able to live a childhood I never had.” He was in his 20s at the time.
“My wife was collecting Beanie Babies, and I picked up this Mickey Mouse and thought, ‘Oh, it would be nice to have some more of these. I could start doing that,’” the recently retired manager of a psychiatric hospital for troubled youth tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
So Bottos started collecting and hasn’t stopped, now sharing space with nearly 10,000 items, from the 1930s through today — Funko Pops, tiny figurines, and a room full of hundreds of plush Mickey dolls. “I’ve probably spent $60,000 to $100,000 over my lifetime,” he says, also pointing out three Mickey Mouse-themed tattoos on his arms. “For me, this is my focus in life.”
When it was time to turn his life around, Bottos explains, that’s when he found the classic Disney character. “Mickey saved my life. I know he saved my life,” he says. “He’s made me a better person. I think a lot of times he gave me focus and something to look forward to, and it was always an adventure.”
To read the complete article, see:
'Mickey saved my life': Why this man can't stop collecting the Disney character
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