Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eclectic collection reveals many interests |

Eclectic collection reveals many interests |
The Yankee duo reunited Lou Gehrig and Babe Ru...Image via Wikipedia

"He struggles to explain his drive to collect so many objects — and experiences. His passion for more than a decade has been mission work abroad.

“I think it’s looking for something that I don’t know what I’m looking for,” he says, “but I know when I’ve found it.”

A number of treasures

He found a record player Elvis Presley gave to a friend. He collected Margaret Mitchell’s letters, Lou Gehrig’s wedding band, Joe Frazier’s corner robe, Joe Louis’ boxing permit and gloves, Jim Thorpe’s worn leather scrimmage shoe, Joe Namath’s jersey and Larry Bird’s too."

How can it be, when he owns signatures of the Beatles, Buffalo Bill, Harry Houdini, Greta Garbo, Knute Rockne, Babe Ruth, George Custer and — this seems so unlikely — but there it is on the wall in a guest bedroom — Sitting Bull? The leader of the Lakota reportedly was illiterate but could write his own name.
Espy also has letters from Albert Einstein, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., John Belushi, Amelia Earhart, George Patton and, because he is a Southern boy from Alabama, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

“I think a lot of my ambition came from watching my parents work so hard to give us relatively little,” he explains. “Most things that are worthwhile are gotten through sweat and toil.”
Finally, during an exhaustive tour of his home, Espy and a visitor come across something different: a pea green wooden wagon the size of a loaf of bread. The wood is roughhewn, cobbled together with nails. There is an old note inside: “Made for Basil by Pa Pugh in 1938.” Espy remembers back to when he was 3, sitting on a swing while his grandfather built the wagon for him. He picks it up. This, he decides, is his most cherished possession.

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