When I was pastoring Madison Baptist Church, I read in a magazine a list of the top 100 Sunday Schools in America. I had this idea of writing these churches to ask for some of their material. I wrote over 100 churches, and you know, over 85 churches sent me their church weekly or monthly papers. They kept on doing this for years. I carefully alphabetized and categorized all these papers. Over the next five years, there were over 16,000 papers. When we moved to Cedar Lake, Indiana, Charity had just had enough of this, and she set all these papers outside for the garbage collector. And in a day they were all gone. That was the end of all those church papers.
If I was not collecting papers, I was collecting books. Yes, I carefully alphabetized and categorized all of them, at FBC in Altoona, I had over 3000 books. When we were newlyweds, our earthly possessions consisted of our clothes, dishes and pots and pans and thirty-two boxes of books! I also kept just about every piece of paper that I printed in Altoona, and kept them in file folders. Did I think there was going to be a Whisnant Library someday? I had over 200 folders each containing material of Sunday School and Church programs. I left almost all of those books in Altoona. I did keep my technical and references books.
When I left Altoona, I had 100 plus three ring 1" & 1 ½ " binders with Bible and study lessons. All carefully arranged and identified.
In 1995, I rediscovered collecting Baseball and Basketball cards. In one of my earlier posts I tell the story of my trip with Chad to the auction where I bought a mint of baseball cards. And I believe the story mentions why I re-entered the collecting of cards. I was hooked on collecting. Kansas City at this time had a lot of great Sport Card Shops. Eric, Chad, and Kyle liked going to these places to seek out the latest cards. For the first time I discovered what was inside a Wal- Mart or K Mart. Prior to this I would usually sit in the car while Charity would go into the stores. Now I checked out the Baseball Cards.. We couldn’t take a trip without looking for a place that sold sports cards. We looked for Flea Markets. Every time we would come to Portsmouth to visit Charity’s mom and dad, on the way out of town, we would stop and buy a box of baseball cards.
My friend Allen Barnhart, who was a member of our church in Altoona, Kansas, had a hobby of racing cars on a dirt track. Allen also was a big Dale Earnhardt, Sr. fan. Thus began my enjoyment of NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt, Sr., and my collection of NASCAR.
If I remember correctly, I was in a grocery store in Fredonia Kansas, and I saw a Wheaties Box that had Dale Earnhardt, Sr. picture on the box.or it might have been Michael Jordan..... the beginning of collecting Wheaties Boxes. I collected a few while in Altoona, but it was when I arrived in Lexington, Kentucky that the collecting of NASCAR and WHEATIES BOXES really began.
What started out as a very small collection of memorabilia, a few Wheaties Boxes, several 1000 baseball cards, which could be stored in our apartment’s closet grew when we moved to our house on Ashland Avenue, I was able to have my own Sport’s Memorabilia Room. (I wish I had the ability to put some of the pictures I have on these posts, but I don’t.)
During this period of time, ( which I will at a later time write about) , I started collecting memorabillia. Mostly NASCAR 1/64 or 1/24 die cast cars. Wheaties Boxes, and Starting Lineup Sports Figures, and Sports Cards, and Hot Wheels, and Sports Magazines. (I did have two part- time jobs to fund my little habit.... along with my full time job.)
By late 1999 I had over 300 Wheaties Boxes. Truth. All carefully cataloged. I had collected 100's of 1/64, 1/24 NASCAR’S cars. Many Starting Lineup and Headliners Action Figures. My room was filled from ceiling to floor. Products that have NASCAR drivers on them I collected. Also, Kellogg Cerael Boxes with Sports people on them I collect.
I guess I should tell the WHEATIES BOX story. In Dec 1999 Charity had gone to Kroger’s and while she was checking out, she saw a lady who was Lexington Herald-Leader staff writer. She was buying a box Wheaties. Charity mentioned to her that I collected Wheaties boxes. Beverly Fortune said, "I am doing a story about hobbyists collecting, could I make an appointment to visit with your husband about his collecting?" Would you ever believe Beverly came and spent the next two hours visiting with me about my collection.
On Saturday, January 15, 2000, in the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Home & Garden Section of the newspaper was a full page picture and article about my WHEATIES boxes and NASCAR model cars and memorabillia. Lexington Herald-Leader has a circluation of over 500,000.
Would you believe that in the next six months, this story had gone out over the AP wire all over the United States. Yep. I received phone calls from all over the United States. Letters and pictures from people who collected Wheaties.
In our move to Portsmouth, I had to rent a rental truck just for the memorabilia., and a library of books, papers and three ring binders.
What really caught my attention about this collecting was these posts I am writing. I was telling Charity, "I have the church paper from FBC in Haltom City, Texas (Ft. Worth) where I was mentioned as the Minister of Education in 1975. And I have the papers from Mansfield Baptist Temple where I was Camp Director at Pleasant Valley Ranch.
A few years back, I mentioned to my sister Ellen Samples, that I would like to get my Master’s, she said that Dallas College would give credit for service rendered in ministry. Ellen suggested that I put together a binder that substantiated the places that I had worked. So I went to work on this project and was really able to do that. From when I was Youth Pastor at Roanoke Baptist Temple in Virginia in 1964 thru today, I can validate churches where I have worked.
So, just in case there is a Whisnant’s Library, I will have some papers to furnish at least one room. Well, I could have all my binders of church and Bible study work. The collecting of sermons on cassette tapes. My stamp collection. My library books. My binders of Sports cards, etc. and my historical Scofield, and Dickson Bibles. And the 1986 .IBM computer.