Collections often tied to family past

On this steamy, summer Sunday, I suggest you go by the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society Museum.

Today is Collectors' Day at the museum, and from 2 to 5 p.m. local folks will display a wide variety of collections in air-conditioned comfort.

Roger Allman will display Civil War and Native American artifacts. He grew up on a farm along Cold Water Creek, and he and his grandfather used to go looking for arrowheads and pottery together. That time spent with his grandfather made him a lifelong seeker, and he has continued to add to his collection over the years.

Now he likes to go out with his metal detector. That's how he's expanded his collection of Civil War memorabilia, such as artillery shells. Some of Allman's Civil War items are on permanent display at the museum, and he shows the rest of his collection often in different venues.

Lisle Crayton's collection of vintage ladies' handkerchiefs and perfume bottles also is rooted in her family tree. Most of the handkerchiefs belonged to her mother, who collected them and always carried one. So friends were always giving her handkerchiefs from everywhere.

Crayton's perfume bottle collection makes her think of her grandmother, playing dress-up and being fascinated by the fancy, empty perfume bottles her grandmother kept.

Bobby Almon's collections are also tied to his past. He grew up in Concord and loves to collect anything with "Concord" on it.

He'll display antique thermometers, among other things. It's fascinating, he said, to see what people used to write on the backs of thermometers. He also has milk bottles, granite kitchenware and antique lightning rods.

Almon told me people used to rely heavily on lightning rods and weather vanes in the days before television alerted us to approaching bad weather. He likes to collect home items that testify to how people used to live and survive tough times.

Donald Cline grew up on a chicken farm, so "chicken collectibles" remind him of his youth. At the museum he will show antique "chicken waterers," a sort of pottery jug used to water chickens before machines did it.

His wife, Vickey Cline, will show her collection of antique dog-related items: doorstops, a bank, a 1920s pottery dog bowl, a calendar and basically anything with a dog on it. The collection is her way to own even more dogs.

Other collectors will have items on display. If you'd like to show your collection, give the museum a call.

Collectors' Day is free, and everyone is invited. The rest of the museum will be open, too, so you can learn a lot about eastern Cabarrus history.