Stacks and stacks and stacks of old mag­a­zines

Mustang Monthly - - HOOFBEATS - Rob Kin­nan

IAM OLD ENOUGH NOW TO HAVE ABOUT 40 YEARS OF AU­TO­MO­TIVE OB­SES­SION BE­HIND ME, AND

THE RE­SUL­TANT LI­BRARY OF

OLD MAG­A­ZINES AND BOOKS TO SHOW FOR IT. The sheer mag­ni­tude of my col­lec­tion was lost on me un­til I re­cently had new car­pet­ing put in my house, which forced me to move all of those books and mag­a­zines onto the back porch to make room for the carpet in­stall­ers.

And damn, I have a lot of books and mag­a­zines!

I have kept all of the mag­a­zine is­sues that I had a hand in pro­duc­ing, but there are boxes and boxes of oth­ers that I had noth­ing to do with, yet I’ve kept them all these years for var­i­ous rea­sons. For in­stance, one is­sue of Hot Rod from 1979 or so res­onated with me and I’ve kept it all these years. Think­ing about it, I’m not sure if it was a spe­cific story, a cool photo, or some­thing one of the ed­i­tors wrote that hooked me on that is­sue, but it’s still there, lan­guish­ing in one of the boxes out there on the porch. I haven’t looked at it in years, but I know if I was to open it up and re­dis­cover the gem that made me keep it all these years that it would trans­port me back to my 14-year-old self. So there it stays; I’m un­able to part with it.

The carpet is all done so it’s time to do some­thing with those old mag­a­zines, but I’m con­flicted. I have done some “mag­a­zine house­clean­ing ” in prior moves, winc­ing as I threw some of them into the trash bin, and I hated it each time. Throw­ing away old books and mag­a­zines, even if you’ve read them all 100 times, is never easy. I’m con­vinced I’m go­ing to re­gret it five min­utes after the garbage truck takes them away, and in some cases I have been cor­rect. But at a cer­tain point, you have to say “un­cle” and purge the col­lec­tion of all that stuff that you haven’t looked at or even thought about for 20 years. Sadly, most of my books and mag­a­zines fall into that cat­e­gory. Yet I can’t bring my­self to throw them out. I have room in a stor­age shed to stack the plas­tic bins full of mag­a­zines, but even­tu­ally I’m go­ing to have to do some­thing with them, and that both­ers me.

I have tried the do­na­tion route, of­fer­ing them up to schools or li­braries, but that’s usu­ally a dead end. I’ve also tried tak­ing them to the swap meet to sell or even give away, but in ev­ery case I’ve had to pack them back in the truck and put ’em back in stor­age.

I’m en­joy­ing the lack of clut­ter that the house has now, with­out the three book­cases full of dog-eared or torn mag­a­zines, greasy books, and dust­cov­ered au­to­mo­tive para­pher­na­lia, but some of them are bound to come back in­side—I’m just torn on which ones.

I can’t be alone on this sub­ject; I’m sure many of you are in the same predica­ment. I’m not mar­ried, so I don’t have a sig­nif­i­cant other rid­ing me about “all those old car mag­a­zines,” which means I’m fully nag­ging my­self about this. I’ve never been or­ga­nized enough to cat­a­log ev­ery story by sub­ject, or pho­to­copy spe­cific sto­ries and put them in binders, or any of that anal-re­ten­tive non­sense. So ac­tu­ally find­ing a story is an all-day or­deal. But that’s okay, be­cause open­ing each one of them trans­ports me back to a sim­pler time. Those old mags are sorted roughly by decade, but that’s where the or­ga­ni­za­tion ends.

The first step in over­com­ing an ad­dic­tion is re­al­iz­ing you have a prob­lem. But in this case, I’m not sure I care that I’m ad­dicted to old books and mag­a­zines. They’re a part of my life and growth, just like any of my past cars have been, and with one ex­cep­tion I’ve re­gret­ted it ev­ery time I sold a car. So I guess that an­swers it: I can’t throw any of the mag­a­zines out.

I know, I have a dis­ease. I just don’t care for the cure.

“They’re a part of my life and growth, just like any of my past cars have been, and with one ex­cep­tion I’ve re­gret­ted it ev­ery time I sold a car. So I guess that an­swers it: I can’t throw any of the mag­a­zines out.”

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