The Hook – For Allen Weissman

Published February 18, 2010 by Larry Fisher

As a kid I liked objects. I collected baseball cards, stamps and comic books. When I was six, I stole my mothers silver dollars and bought baseball cards with it. The guy in the candy store sure was happy to get my silver, and boy was I happy to get those cards.
My mother was not pleased and I was punished. Of course, after that, I received an allowance and the guy in the store took my money but was not as ecstatic to see me coming as he was for a couple of weeks after I gave him the original mint.
The irony of the story is that the cards are worth more than the coins are now. Had my mother not thrown out my Mantle Cards, this would not be a tragic little tale.

I go into people’s homes and buy their entire estate and or collections (whether record or books or whatever) and I sell them at my junkshop. There is a bigger picture. There are other ways I could easily have made money. More money. I could have been a lawyer, or a banker or whatever.
I chose a path that was perfect for me. I have met all kinds of goofy silly and poignant characters in this business. People’s stuff, which then becomes my stuff is just a metaphor for figuring out people’s motives and drives. Once I bring their stuff to the store and go through their lives, I am a Detective figuring out what happened and why.
My job became the perfect metaphor for my writing and truly understanding people and their nature.
Think about it: I have their personal letters and diaries, their financial documents, and their most cherished books,(which often was kept in a box under the bed.) I know things about people that they were not able to understand about themselves. I have the distance, so I am able to read old letters from lovers, that they were only able to wrap string around and keep bundled like a little bird in a nest.

I have been able to release that bird and let it fly away…

Slightly melodramatic I know, still, it is quasi truth.

My own background of being a child of a Holocaust survivors child worked perfectly into my chosen career path.
My grandparents and three children survived. (There were other kids who didn’t make it, who nobody talks about, so, I don’t even know how I know this much information.)
After the war, my Grandfather went back to find a suitcase he buried with gold in it. He couldn’t remember where he buried it.

I have spent my life looking for that suitcase, in other people’s apartments and houses. I have not found it. Perhaps, I need to go back to Lithuania, and start digging there, or maybe it is just my unconscious I need to pick at, or is it that I have an axe to grind.

Tomorrow, I will explain how to find a hundred thousand dollars buried in a house, and still not make any money out of it. It was not easy to do, but believe me, it was doable or should I say not profitable


One comment on “The Hook – For Allen Weissman

  • Larry, I think what you have stated about collecting people’s “stuff” and knowing things about them that their closest relatives and friends don’t know about them is very interesting. I wonder what I should do with all my journals, poems, etc, etc,
    that I have created all these years. What would my children think if they read some of the things I have written. I guess they would really know their mother. I mean really know her. Time for a bonfire.

    Your comments have made me wonder about myself and why I don’t like to collect stuff or why I don’t like clutter. Maybe I don’t like the messiness of “real” life. Maybe it is a way to control my life and keep safe. Ha, Ha. Maybe it means nothing. I think I know what it means, but I don’t want to go that deep or dark. Any way thanks for the thoughts.

    I say thank you to all survivors and their stories. I have studied the Holocaust since I was 13 and not until my son asked why I was always reading stories about rescuers, survivors and the history of that time, did I realize I was studying how to survive in a world where people choose a scapegoat, whether a person or group for not any rational reason, but just to have someone to blame for the bad things in their life and the world. Well, I guess the studying paid off because I am still here.

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