My dad was a real Mainer; he never threw anything away. And I got that gene, much to my wife Linda’s dismay.

Last year we decided we really should reduce our stuff, but the first thing Linda asked was, “Do you really need 14 fly rods?” Well, yes I do! So we have made little progress towards our goal.

Mainers save everything because you never know when you might need one of those things. I do wish I’d been able to ask Dad before he died why he needed 14 hammers. I only have eight.

I collected a lot of Dad’s stuff after he died and brought it to our house. For some reason my brother Gordon and sister Edie didn’t get that gene.

Dad was well known for his very opinionated letters to the editor to this newspaper. The editor always knew it was Dad’s letter because three of the keys on his very old manual typewriter did not work. I have that typewriter displayed in my home office. And I discovered that Dad saved every letter he wrote and put them in folders by year. Turns out, I got a lot of my opinions from Dad.

Dad would often go to the Winthrop dump empty and come home with a full load of stuff. When I was a kid, I would go there sometimes with Dad, and in addition to collecting stuff we would shoot rats.

One year a new Winthrop town manager told Dad he couldn’t take stuff from the dump anymore. Dad met with the Town Council, which essentially told the manager not to mess with Ezra Smith. And Dad was back collecting stuff at the dump.

After he filled his large barn with stuff, Dad started building sheds in his backyard. When he died, he had five sheds out there, all filled with stuff.

And Dad’s annual yard sales were famous, drawing Mainers from all over the state, some of whom filled up their vehicles with stuff.

I’m lucky to live in a town that really values stuff. We have a building at the dump — OK, it’s officially the transfer station now, but it will always be the dump to me — where people drop off and pick up stuff. And yes, you can find great stuff in there, although Linda doesn’t allow me into the building very often.

I also love books, which I hate to part with. A few years ago, I bought another bookshelf and Linda said, “George, that’s your last bookshelf.” Alas, it was. And since I started reviewing books for Maine publishers a couple years ago, I’ve been forced to pass them on. Most of them go to our local library. So, yup, I’m getting rid of some stuff.

A story in this newspaper about the New Year’s Day antiques show at the Augusta Armory was interesting. My friend Tom Diplock of Winthrop noted that young adults are not looking for older items, preferring to purchase mass-produced goods from box stores. That’s really sad, because I can tell you Tom has some great stuff, probably some of which was once my dad’s.

When our kids were home for Christmas, I showed them one huge container I have of political buttons and brochures. I have a whole stack of Bill Cohen’s first brochure from his initial run for Congress in 1972. In fact, my photo is in the brochure. So of course, I kept a whole bunch of them. On my desk I have an “I Like Ike” button. I even have a booklet with a hilarious drawing of President and Mrs. Reagan in their underwear.

I also collected political signs and banners, including a huge banner for California’s longtime governor, Jerry Brown, that I got at a Maryland rally when he was running for president. Some of my favorites are Ed Muskie signs and banners.

And of course, I have a massive amount of outdoor gear and things like deer antlers. I have four big buck mounts on my office walls. A few years ago, when our three kids were standing in my office, I pointed to the buck mounts and said, “Good news kids. There are three of you and four big buck mounts so each of you can have one.”

Our youngest daughter Hilary responded, “Oh, I don’t think so, Dad. We’ll put those in your museum.”

And of course, I love the idea of the museum. Maybe someday you can look forward to seeing a lot of my stuff!

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected]. Read more of Smith’s writings at

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