The wife says noooooooooooo!

Bell Phone center advert 80s
Bell Phone center advert 80s
a small collection of red phones
a small collection of red phones

How does a telephone collector combine his lifestyle with a spouse? Does your significant other welcome your latest find with open arms or do you have to sneak it into the house?

I suppose with collecting telephones it is no different than with other kinds of collections. Unless you collect pins or battle tanks of course.

It is inevitable that the better half has some influence on your collection. Sometimes they join in with the collecting, adding something according to their own taste or interest. And sometimes the mate in question is a limiting factor. But most of the time it is somewhere in between: a cooperating hindrance standing in the way of unbridled collecting of phones and related items.


Heemaf 1955 in our hallway
Heemaf 1955 in our hallway

No collection starts with a big bang. It usually starts gradually, often subconsciously at first. And slowly it grows. And suddenly you find yourself being a collector.

At some point the other residents of your dwelling start to take notice, as collected items start spreading around the residence.

Inevitably there will be some level of conflict: no, you are not allowed to put one of your coveted collectibles on the side table. You are forbidden to screw them to the wall.

Emotions run especially high, when a new piece of furniture appears with nice flat surfaces. How much of it can be usurped for displaying your showpieces? Will there be any room left for her mother’s Austrian porcelain shepherdess?


Philips Heemaf 1955 ClockIt is not our friend. There is too little of it, and what there is slips through your hands with lightning speed. If you are lucky, your ball and chain will leave you some of it. If you are very lucky your mate will join you in visiting flea markets, junk shops or even conventions.

But when you have to play nice when your in-laws are over for dinner, you really really would rather be in your hobby room and spend your precious time tinkering with your stuff.



Telephone dust
Telephone dust

It gathers. Not only in your dedicated hobby area, but also on the various prides of joy scattered around the house. You may get hints, requests or even complaints from your beloved consort.

So you have to do something about it, but that conflicts with interests regarding the subject of the previous paragraph.

It takes time. You know, that rare commodity you really want to spend on something else. See also the previous paragraph.


Crazy collectors
Crazy collectors

If all goes well, you meet other collectors. Some become your friends. But they are a bit crazy. You have to be, to become a collector. And yes, you are a nutty weirdo yourself.

At some point some of your weirdo collector friends will visit your house or you will visit them. Hopefully your partner will like them.

Fortunately my wife gets along with crazy people quite well. That is why she puts up with me, I guess.

Sneaking one in

Same but different...
Same but different…

So you buy another one, of whatever you are collecting. And you buy a pair of them. And you bring home a slightly different one, because it has this red knob or different shade of grey that the others do not have. And somebody donates you a box full of stuff.

You tell your mate proudly about your latest catch. How it is a great find, you beat the other collectors to it, you didn’t pay too much for it.

And one day you find yourself alone in a junk shop and see yet another one! Ohoh, you already bought 2 this week. But this one is too good to pass up. It’s cheap, or rare, or unknown, or very interesting or all of the above.

So you will go home with that recent prize, wondering how you are going to tell the love of your life. You put it on your work bench unseen and at the end of the day you have completely and totally accidentally forgotten mention it to the old trouble and strife. Have you gotten to that stage yet?

No! Nono! Nononononono

I am very lucky. My wife collects a few things too, she likes flea markets too and appreciates the odd telephone around the house. I have a telephone room and a storage area. I can even have a telephone nerdy friend over every once in a while. So I am quite blessed.

Bikini phone
Bikini phone

But a while ago the inevitable finally happened. I bought this great novelty phone. It was only a couple of euros and it had red accents too! A lucky find in the junk shop, so I bought it in a heartbeat.

When I got it home I showed it to her. I explained that I was going to take the usual pics, put it on facebook and write an article about it for my website. I also wanted to use it as a daily dialler for a while and put it in the living room.

And then the universe caught up with me and karma lashed out at me for no apparent reason. She said: “No! Nono! Nonononono!”.

I contemplated starting a discussion about it, but I decided not to.

Fortunately my daughter, 8 years old at the time, thought it was fantastic. So I gave it to her. She still has it in her room, much to the horror of the lady of the house.
So whenever she looks apprehensively at my latest trophy, I remind her of that nono phone. Then she realises it could be worse, much worse.

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