C. Stroup – He’s Got The Fever!

My husband has the fever.  Don’t worry it’s not contagious and there are few side effects.  Unfortunately there’s no cure for this malady, at least none that I’m aware of.  It all started when he began selling refurbished tape decks.

This was a great hobby and he was making a few bucks from the sales on eBay.  And he was having a ball working on the equipment.  Kept him busy in his workshop and out of my hair.  He sold one and then a couple more and a few after that.  And they were selling about one per week.  He’d get so excited with each sale.  Then a few dry spells came his way and he’d get antsy.  “What’s the matter here, things were going so well?” he’d proclaim.

I must digress to a time when I was part of a garage sale and saw the fever in action for the first time.  One of the contributing ladies in the sale starting seeing her old towels sell out.  Kitchen towels and bath towels went by the dozens.  Excited to put a few dollars in her pocket she went inside and brought out brand new towels to sell.  And a couple other gals went home and dove into their stash to bring back for cash.  It was crazy but they all sold towels and not much else.  

Ken decided that since his tape decks weren’t selling like hotcakes that other things might take their place.  He would see all kinds of things listed on eBay and they were selling.  So his fever began.  He started in the garage, looking through boxes and on shelves to see if there were items begging to be sold.  He also scoured his workshop for stuff and next his office.  Ken found mostly junk in all cases but the fever had a hold on him.  So he continued his search and surenuf found a couple of rare items he could hawk.

One article he found was an old solid brass ship’s telegraph used by seamen.  (FYI a telegraph was a means of communication between the helmsman at the bridge and the engineer in the engine room.)  In 1988 we’d purchased this thing at a marine salvage yard in Corpus Christi, Texas.  (At the time its purpose for us was a whole other story.)

Anyway, after Ken listed it he watched with fervor to see how many people were paying attention to it.  He was delighted when a fellow from Italy emailed to ask specifics about the telegraph.  Oddly enough another man in London who just wanted to share his story emailed Ken.  His great, great, great grandfather, William Chadburn, invented the ship’s telegraph which became Chadburn’s Liverpool and London Telegraphs.  He explained how you could tell whether you had an original or a replica.  Ken then informed the guy from Italy that what he was offering was a detailed replica manufactured by Chadburn’s of London.  The guy from Italy passed (I don’t mean he died) but soon after we did sell the telegraph to someone else and once again Ken was happy having made a sale.

His repaired reel-to-reel tape decks continue to sell at a satisfactory rate.  This is a good thing because it keeps his fever under control instead of rummaging through the house for other things to sell!


Originally published in the July 2011 issue of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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