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Old Passions


My Old Passions

For the past twenty years (1996-2016), my wife and I had been operating a little clock museum. The museum contained clocks that my wife and I had collected over the past thirty five years, which was from the first day we met at a garage sale I was having after moving to Eugene. I was selling some old clocks that were left over, from a little Shop I had operated in Coos Bay.

One time I was working on a project and needed a new pair of Vice-Grips so I went to the local Sears store just before closing and the Vice-Grips were on sale for $4.99. I picked up the tool and rushed to the counter, only to discover in my haste to get to Sears before the store closed, I had gone off with out my wallet. I noticed that because I had been working on my car, there was still a little grease on my thumb and I left my thumb print on the tool's package.

I was not able to make it back to Sears until the next morning. There was the package with the Vice-Grips, with my thumb print on the package. However, the sale had ended Saturday night. The tool was now $9.95. Same tool I held the night before and I knew that Sears did not have to pay another $5.00 during the night. If they could afford to sell the tool for $4.99 10 hours earlier, they could still afford to sell the tool for $4.99, but that is not the way it works in the real world. I thought, what a shame.

I did go ahead and buy the Vice-Grips, with my thumb print and paid the $9.95 but I was not happy about it. It was my experience buying the Vice-Grips at Sears that led to my idea for my little clock shop. I check with several other clock shops to see what the best prices were that they ever offered on clocks, and I decided that I would see if I could operate a shop, and always offer the best prices that were offered during sales. Never have a sale, just always have sale prices.

My concept was, instead of trying to make $1,000 on one clock and have one customer, why not make $100 each on 10 customers. You would still end up with the $1,000 but you would now have 10 customers that were happy with their price, instead of 1 customer who might always wonder if he had paid too much, or paid more than someone else might have paid, who might have purchased the same clock when it was on sale.

Well, that idea sorta worked. In 1998, my shop became the Nations Number 1 clock shop for sales for the largest manufacture of clocks in the United States. We sold more clocks, but we made less profit overall. After the shop had been opened for a few years, a competing shop owner, made the statement that I was a Tennessee Hill Billy with a discount mentality, and that I was placing nice clocks in homes that really had no business having them. I think it was meant to be an insult, but I think it was the nicest thing that anyone ever said about me.

Did you ever wonder why, if a grocery store could afford to offer eggs for 99 cents a dozen on Saturday, why they charge $1.99 on Monday.

A few years after opening my little clock shop, I started to display my private collection of clocks and other mechanical items I had collected over the past many years, and this became the little clock museum that was on Conger Street. The little museum displayed clocks, old telephones, trains, old toy cars and trucks, radios and radio equipment, old office equipment, old machines, and other items I had been collecting, for the past sixty years (more or less). It makes me sound old when I say I had been collecting for the last sixty years, so I will leave that part out of "My Story". No, on second thought, I am old, so I am going to leave that part in.

When people would visit, they would often have questions about many of the items in our museum, but they would also have questions about how I got interested in the clocks and other items I had collected, and why I chose those items to collect. So I would try to answer both questions, and both answers had to do with how I grew up. My parents were missionaries to the Apache Indians, so I grew up on an Indian Reservation.

I found it curious that my customers would find it interesting that I grew up on an Indian Reservation and played Cowboys and Indians with Geronimo's grandkids, watched Indian fights in front of the mission, and was also passionate about Flying, Ham Radio, Photography, Raising Horses, Motorcycles, Cars, Antiques, any kind of old or new mechanical devices,

And of course,
I am most passionate of all,
about my beautiful wife, who I met at my garage sale.

Each of my passions had a beginning that started somewhere, and I am going to write about those beginnings as I remember them. I may never finish this book but I will keep adding to it as I think of and remember the events that I considered special in my life. I think the way a book should be written is that you set up a format, a plan, a sketch, and a draft, and then you find someone to write it for you. However, I am not as young as I was at one time, I no longer buy green bananas, and I no longer need to worry about how long something is going to last when I buy it. So, if I did it the way it should be done, most likely, by the time I got it finished, I would have already been dead for five or ten years.

Each day, first thing I do is look in the obituary. If I am not listed in it for that day, I will go ahead and go to work, and then at night, I might add something to my story, that I remembered while I was working, or resting, or taking a nap, at my little shop. It might be to the front, the middle, or the back of the book, depending on where I think it fits. If when I look in the day's obituary, I am listed, I will simply go back to bed. I will not go to work, and I will not add to my story.

I am writing this to try and keep my mind working, or should I say, to try and get it working again? So, it is for my mental health that I write, but if you can allow yourself to enjoy it, even a little bit, that is wonderful and a special bonus for me.

If you are not already bored, read "My Story" and you will be!