By Henry Salazar aka FL Henry

My wife and I went to high school together so we have known each other for over twenty years. At sixteen years old she won the beauty pageant in our small town. She finished third in her high school class and went on to a 4.0 GPA in college. She also earned the highest academic honors for her master’s degree in accounting and now has a fantastic job in financial management. As one might imagine there are plenty of reasons why I may have been attracted to her way back in the day. I clearly remember the day that I knew she was THE one, however.

 

My wife had just spent countless hours studying for the SAT. She sat through the exam after almost no sleep and then rushed to Southwest High School to join her dance teammates in the high school dance regional finals. After winning the regional finals with her teammates she and I headed back to her place so she could take a shower and change clothes so we could go out and celebrate. While she was in the shower I got a call from my local card shop asking me if I was still interested in trading or selling my 1992 Stadium Club Shaquille O’Neal rookie card. Since this was pre Internet the selling and trading of cards was handled a little differently than it is today. He offered me all of the comics in the Doomsday/Superman battle that eventually led to the death of Superman. The only catch was he needed the card that evening as he was in the process of trading that card to yet another card shop owner for their personal collection. As a side note, that Shaq card does not sell for much today but at the time it came out it was a pretty big deal and very high book value for a while.

 

My future wife emerged from her shower looking fantastic and she was ready to head out and let loose. There was little doubt that she deserved it. That night, however, we spent the next few hours digging through what seemed like an endless amount of cards in my bedroom until I found that Shaq rookie card. Watching her patiently go through my boxes of cards with good humor and endless amounts of patience was a watershed moment for me. I knew right then that she was special and that I would be an idiot not to hold onto her as long as I could.

 

On a side note, that was also the catalyst for me to organize my collection.

 

So here we are twenty years later and I cannot tell you how many card shops, comic book stores, and conventions we have attended together. She has become an expert on the hobbyist lingo and is no stranger to sitting on the floor sorting cards by teams, by serial number, by types, and just about anything else I could think of over the years. I have known a lot of collectors over of the years. Some of them collect sports cards, some comics, some star wars memorabilia; I even knew a guy that collected the movie ticket stubs to every movie he ever watched. This guys collection started when he was seven years old and I attended the party he threw to celebrate his 1,000th ticket stub. The bottom line, though, is that it did not really matter what they were into collecting. The ones with supportive significant others were inevitably ten times happier than the ones without support.

 

My wife has always supported displaying the memorabilia I have collected over the years. When we lived in a studio apartment there were boxes of cards and comics lined up against the walls and as many in the closet as we could manage. We even had comics under the folding table that tripled as a dining room table, a study area, and hobby center. Now we live in a six bedroom house and we still have collectibles in just about every room in the house. Granted, collectibles of any kind are now forbidden from going anywhere near her walk-in closet in the bedroom but at this point I feel like she has more than earned this one small concession. This is literally the least I can do considering what she has put up with over the years.

 

There are many reasons that have always made me feel like I won the spouse lottery. Naturally, these reasons far exceed her tolerance and support of my sports card and memorabilia collecting. With that said, I have always been so thankful that she did not simply step aside and let me collect. Instead, she took an active interest and learned as much as she could about my passion.

 

As I write this I have three autographed jerseys, two autographed baseballs, and several basketball cards in the mail on the way to me. My wife is excited that I am excited and this confirms to me that all those years ago I pulled the spousal equivalent of a 1/1.