User or Preserver?

Book fans, I will return to author interviews and book giveaways at some point in the near future. Sorry. I’ve been a bit frazzled lately, and haven’t yet reached out to the many people I know whose books have debuted in recent months. I will though! For now, I’ll continue to unspool my mental floss.

Were you that prescient kind of kid (or adult) who kept your Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the old ones), He-Man, Transformers, or Strawberry Shortcake figures in their original boxes, or your comic books hermetically sealed, knowing that someday you would sell them? If so, good for you! A friend of mine has a Boba Fett action figure from back in the day, still in its original box. (Off to eBay he goes!)


The new Strawberry Shortcake. Just sayin’.

Unfortunately, I was not that kind of kid. And yes, I have had moments of regret about that.

See this?


And this?


And these?

032    030

I’m totally dating myself by revealing some of my comic book stash. (All of my Archie comic books and other non-superhero comic books have disappeared for some reason.) But surely you noticed that they’re not in great condition. Some (like the Avengers issue above) are better than others.


Well, not this one. This represents my sad attempt at preservation many years after purchase.

Take a look at these. I couldn’t even tell you where the cover for the one on the right might be. It also is a Superboy comic book.

023    025

Yes, Superboy, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen comic books existed at one point. And that was back when Lois Lane, the intrepid reporter, was mostly known as Superman’s girlfriend (or girl friend as you can see below), as well as someone constantly in need of a rescue.

015   036

Wait. Not much has changed in that department. 😦 (Now there’s a blog post waiting to be written.) But the point is, I enjoyed reading these comic books back in the day, never once thinking that someday I could sell them. (I used to spend my allowance money on them.)


This is old, but it is younger than the others in this post.

I also was not much for taking photos to preserve life’s special moments, though I used to own a good Nikon camera. Unfortunately, I’m no Dorothea Lange or Ansel Adams. Invariably, I would either cut off someone’s head or I would take a “red-eye” photo, where everyone looked like an alien from another galaxy. (Maybe that’s why I write fantasy and sci-fi novels.)

dorothea_lange1  Ansel_Adams_and_camera

As for other ways of capturing the moments, I was faithful for a short while at preserving my thoughts and angsty poetry in journals. Ha ha. I quit doing that too.

I’m more of a user than a preserver. That sounds negative, doesn’t it? In a different context, it would. But you see, I played with the toys that were given to me. Like this tiger I’ve had since I was eleven years old.


I enjoyed reading comic books in the backyard with my bare feet on warm green grass, while occasionally admiring the fleecy clouds swirl by overhead. Sounds like a photo op, right? But those pictures are memories in my head, rather than in a scrapbook.

I take more photos now than I used to, mainly because of this blog. But when I’m outside enjoying a silky breeze or watching the war between the robins and grackles for supremacy in the yard, sometimes I forget to capture the moment on my phone. Rest assured, though. Those moments are preserved where they need to be—in my heart.

What about you? User or preserver?


An example of the kind of photo I take. Note the toy dog’s butt sticking up at the bottom of the photo. This is Pupcake, Strawberry Shortcake’s dog. Not his best side.

Ansel Adams from Dorothea Lange from Other photos by L. Marie. (Sigh.)

40 thoughts on “User or Preserver?

  1. Definitely user. I don’t have the patience for collecting things. Like being orderly about it and getting plastic sheets and stuff. That’s quite a nice comic collection you got going on. Love to see them used!

  2. Definitely a user. I still have a biscuit tin full of my old Star Wars figures. I know they would be worth something if they were still in their packaging, unopened, but they were worth so much more to me back then. The stories I created, the battles that went on. And Han Solo NEVER died!
    I’m going to pass them in to my son, James. He is six in August-approaching the age where he wil, use re-employ them in a quest to save the universe, without pulling their heads off.

    • I hear you Andy!
      Um, I take it you saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I have it on blu-ray and DVD. 🙂
      James is six already??? Seems like only yesterday he was just a small tot looking for boons. (I think that’s what he called balloons.)

      • It’s worth having! I’m enjoying my third view of the movie.
        James is at a fun age. Kids learn so much at six. Still, I miss his boon searches.

  3. Nostajgie of old comics .When I was a child there was not wo many cartons papers for children in FrANCE AND IT WAS THE WAR ;BETWEEN 1940 AND 1944 ;
    However I had some but all has beeen thrown by my parents when they moved . I remember of Flash Gordon who was called “gordon the intrepid ” at this time in France ..
    i had no chocie :preserve or not.
    In friendship

    • I can understand! So many terrible things were happening then.
      Would you believe I’ve never seen Flash Gordon? I’ve heard of it though. My parents know about it.

  4. Toys were played with and preservation wasn’t even considered. My dad was more into keeping things in packages, but I just wasn’t having any of it. I was better with comics though. Kept them in bags and read them only once or twice. Was really careful not to eat or drink around them. Still accidents happened. There are a few that I never read because they were bought as collectibles and I had the associated graphic novel.

    • I wish I’d had the mindset to keep a few as collectibles. The guy I used to trade comic books had some, and a friend of mine has X-Men as collectibles. But I was too busy reading them.
      The Millennium Falcon we had around the house broke decades ago!

      • It never crossed mine. My thoughts were always on the now, now, now! We wanted to play with the Star Wars stuff, because we were so into the movies!

        I remember ripping up an Archie comic book, because I was mad about something. So glad that frontal lobe finally kicked in!

  5. I wish I had saved some of my toys, but sadly, my mother wasn’t a preserver. Each time we had a neighborhood garage sale, I’d see my Barbies or Little Kiddles on the table for sale. 😦 I’m definitely a preserver when it comes to photographs.

  6. I DO have some of my toys, but, they were, indeed used. I think I’m a crossover. A preserver-user?:) I have a large, early plastic wind-up walking doll that is a treasure. Family legend has it that I learned to walk with it, which explains my, er, clumsiness. My granddaughter loves to play with my storybook dolls (gosh, I’m showing my age) and they are now hers, to use when she visits here. She calls them my fairies, and I’m fine with that – and have tons of photos of her playing with them.
    I do use my camera an awful lot – but, I am also wont to sit on a bench in a park and just soak it all in as well. Oh, wait, there is the sun casting a glow in a petal . . . of I go!
    Loved this post, L. Marie.

    • Aw, thank you, Penny. I’m glad your granddaughter finds such joy in your toys. When I used to visit one of my grandmas (one who lived in Michigan), I used to play with the toys she had lying around. She always had interesting puzzles.

      I’m glad you use your camera. I enjoy the photos on your blog!

  7. Although I hung on to lots of “stuff” as a kid . . . I never viewed my “stuff” as an investment. So I used it. And enjoyed it.

    Good luck getting unfrazzled.

  8. I never preserved or saved things, but I do have an untouched Doctor Barbie in its original packaging. It was given to me by my niece when I went to med school years ago. Doubt it’s worth much though, beyond the sentimental of course. 🙂

  9. I’m definitely a user! Even my bookshelves are stuffed with broken-backed paperbacks rather than the beautiful pristine hardbacks I probably should have acquired and treasured over the years! The only decent looking books I have are ones I’ve been given as presents (and never got around to reading… 😉 )

    • I’ve got those too. That’s why I’m grateful for duct tape. I have had to tape the spines of many a book to keep the pages from falling out! I finally bought a new copy of Fellowship of the Ring, because of the falling pages issue. Now that copy has had to be taped up!

  10. User for sure! If not, all my LEGO sets would be new in their boxes, waiting for the value to spike so I could sell them. I don’t even have half the boxes, and it wouldn’t matter anyway because I’ve modified the sets over the years and don’t have the original parts. They’re probably in another building.

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