By Wayne Rogers aka redskinfanva

When I was a kid in elementary school we would walk to school every day. Riding a bus was uncommon back then. There was a 7-eleven close to our school so myself and usually 2 of my buddies would walk there before and after class just about every day. My buddies went to buy gum and sell it when they got to school. I used my money to purchase Topps football cards because I liked football and as a bonus I got that nice tasty powdered brick-like gum. Once you got the gum to soften up then it became tolerable but only for a short time. So as the year went by I noticed that I had accumulated quite a few cards. Not realizing then what I was doing I neatly put them away in old Converse and other shoe boxes. I believe I had 7 or 8 of them stuffed quite full. My dad did some work on the house and also remodeled my room. So I packed those shoe boxes away at the top of my closet and never touched them again until one day I was looking for something I had lost (I believe it was an old wiffle bat). Completely forgetting the fact that there were kids waiting on me to continue our game, I started to pull the shoe boxes out. I began to smile and get excited because I had forgotten that I had them. I briefly looked at a couple but this time I put them on my bookshelf to look at later.

Well a couple more years passed and I was now a senior in high school. Prom was around the corner and I wanted to go more than anything but we didn’t have a lot of money so I was trying to figure out a way to go, rent a tuxedo ,etc. The next day I went out to our local flea market with my father because he loved to go out there on the weekends to grab that great deal. I noticed that there was a card shop in the inside and I went in and started to look at all the single cards that were in his case. Behold I look down and there it was , a 1981 Topps Joe Montana RC. The Price on it was $250.00. My dad walked up beside me and looked up at him. He said, “wow that’s an expensive card I didn’t know cards brought that kind of money”. I agreed but then the light bulbs went off in my head.

I then looked at my dad and told him that I had a ton of those cards and a lot more, 8 shoe boxes to be exact. We immediately went home and to be sure I asked my dad to come to my room so I could confirm that my cards were just like the one I had seen in the card shop. My dad had asked me where I had got them and I began to briefly tell him the story. He then looked at me and his jaws just dropped like they were being held down by weights. Sure enough the cards I had been buying all along were 1981 Topps football. My dad looked at me and said; “I believe you can go to your prom now and laughed”. In the end I had counted over 25 or more Joe Montana RCs, and numerous others. I cashed in just about all of them and in the end I had enough money to go to prom, buy the tux, the dinner and even rented a limousine. I was then able to purchase my first apartment ,and pre-pay my first born son just from cashing in the rest of my 1981 cards.

From that day until now I still buy cards every chance I get. I lost my father 14 months ago and the one thing that I treasure the most is a 1959 Topps Mickey Mantle that my dad had purchased many years before his death. My mom gave me this card told me that I was the reason he had purchased the card in the first place along with some others that included a Johnny Unitas 2nd year card, a Franco Harris RC , and a Dave Winfield RC and a few more. Some children lose their parents at a young age and never have a chance to develop a relationship with them. Card collecting is still a big part of my life and that 1 experience with my father definitely changed the way I looked at the hobby. I have a son who will be 20 in October and attends Florida State University and I have been collecting cards with him since he was old enough to hold a football card.

When the day comes that I join my father in heaven that 1959 Mickey Mantle will be passed down to my son. I guess my dad found a couple of his great deals at the flea market after all……..To everyone out there that has children, the future of card collecting depends on us. Encourage our children to put the X-boxes and ps3s down and pursue the hobby of sports card collecting..It’s a great way to spend some quality time with your children as well as teaching them quite a few of life’s little lessons along the way.