I think it is safe to say that almost everyone collects something. Some people collect more than one thing. I myself have an affinity for peacocks. and have a nice collection that always brings a smile to my face. I also have more than one ceramic turtle in my house. I think the turtle thing comes from our moving around so much. Wherever we are stationed is our home, and a turtle always has its home with it so, it kind of makes sense to me. There was one thing that I collected several years ago that got way out of hand. I am almost ashamed to admit it but, I got in on the Beanie baby craze. Oh I did not start out liking them, as a matter of fact, when they first came out I could not figure out what all of the fuss was about. Then one day I saw one that I just had to have. It was a bear. Not just any bear it was a sit on its bottom bear. This was a term I used for the bears that did just that. That one little bear soon lead me to another and another.
To make matters worse the manufactures could not stop at beanie baby bears. No, they had to introduce its cousin, the beanie buddy, a larger version of the beanie baby. Then they made them so enticing with cute names and vast array of colors. I couldn’t resist. I had to have them all.
Just when you didn’t think it could get any worse McDonalds of all places had to come out with a mini version for its happy meals. I cannot tell you how many Fridays the kids at my daycare had happy meals just so I could collect those tiny little bears.
I was quite obsessed, even going so far as stalking the UPS truck in order to find out exactly what time he made his delivery to the local store that sold the beanie babies. The lady never bothered to put them on the shelf as she knew they would not be in the store long enough to make it worth the effort. Instead, she simply opened the box and let everyone fend for themselves.
I would buy them at the stores, on e-bay and even the flea market. I never was lucky enough to get the one I really wanted, even though I crossed the border once just for that reason. That was Maple, the Canadian bear. He was a handsome thing with a bright red maple leaf on his chest. As a matter of fact, it was my yearning for that bear that made me realize my hobby had become an addiction. It was on a Saturday afternoon and I was at the flea market with my family when I saw him. He was sitting right there on the counter and his price had been elevated to an obscene amount that I certainly could not afford, still, I wanted him. I wanted him bad. For a second, as I stared at that small white bear, I asked myself if I thought it was possible for me to grab that bear and make it to the door before I got caught. I have never stolen anything in my life and yet there I was, right there next to my family, contemplating the logistics of getting a bear; which I could not afford. I told my husband it was time for us to go, that the hunt for bears was over and that day I quit my addiction cold turkey. I never bought another beanie baby. I still have my collection. They have made me smile more than once over the years mostly because I can’t believe I spent so much money on stuffed animals. The irony is that now they are in a box in the attic because I have no place to display them. Who knows, maybe someday they will be worth their weight in gold yet again or maybe they will just continue to be a cute reminder of a addiction that nearly spiraled out of control. One thing is for sure, I am glad I came to my senses when I did as the consequences would have been unbearable…