The Carlington Summit
by Garry Hogan.

Merry Christmas and ‘hi' again from Pack Rat's Corner.

Well, I found him and his name is Alex Shear. His collection is Americana and he's labeled the King of the Pack Rats. Here's an article about him I came across this summer (Credit to People Magazine).

What do you do with a man who has spent the last 25 years of his life snatching up six stars and stripes, lunch boxes, 400 transistor radios that look like brand name products, 10,000 match books and countless other items of vintage Americana that give visitors to his cramped New York city apartment the feeling of having stumbled onto Uncle Sam's attic?

Divorce him, concluded Alex Shear's ex-wife. Admits Shear, single since 1990: “I know I'm an odd ball. She used to ask me what I was doing and I'd tell her when I figured it out I'd let her know.”

No sooner had Shear recovered from his former spouse's departure than he filled the extra spare room in his apartment with even more model trains, paper weights and Pyrex glass irons, plus 1,000 bars of hotel soap and a pristine Farrah Fawcett make-up centre in its original box. Now Shear, 58, a former product developer for J.C. Penney and his vast collection may soon become the subject of a coffee table book and a proposed TV series on second hand shopping.

That could do for American and Canadian flea market foragers what Bob Vila did for home improvers. It's all a little nuts,says Shear, whose apartment has become so jam-packed that he stores most of his objects in a warehouse near his hometown of Lancaster PA.

Shear says, “I believe this stuff is important. It's a celebration of the regular guy.”

As most pack rats know, the thrill is in the hunt.

Good hunting and see you next month.