Continuation of the last post....
"We went to an old beat up house that was literally on the wrong side of the tracks. He knocked on the door and the "old guy" opened the door. As soon as I saw him I took a couple of steps back and whispered to my friend that I was NOT going in that house."
It turns out the "old guy" wasn't just old, (mid 40s seems old when you're 12) he was the creepy janitor from school. I was facing a major dilemma. Give in to the feeling that I didn't want to be in "old creepy guy's" house or go get some old Topps goodness. Well, obviously I used good judgement and decided that I needed those cards. We went in and again I was amazed. He had four of those large library card catalog cabinets lined up against one wall in his living room. Each one probably had 40-60 of those long drawers and they were full of thousands of Topps cards from the 50s, 60s and 70s. I handed over my binder of priceless 1981 Topps, Donruss and Fleer and started looking through a couple of drawers of cards. At some point it dawned on me how creepy the house was. It had a dank, musty odor and his mother was sitting on a chair watching televison. I would absolutely go crazy if my son went into a house like that today, but that's just me. I found some cards I wanted (ok, I wanted all of them) and he went all goofy over a 1981 Donruss #431 Red Schoendienst MGR card. Red managed the 1980 Cardinals to a stellar 18-19 record in 37 games in 1980, but was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989 and managed the Cards to a World Series title in 1967. Anyway, the guy was a big Cardinals fan and he wanted any Redbird cards we had. Of course I would have handed the whole binder over if I had known what was going to happen.
I was pretty much a big chicken when I was a kid and decided I wasn't going back to that house ever again. My friend made several trips getting 400-500 cards from the man. We traded many of those cards back and forth for the next few months and I still have some of them. We found out later that he was mentally retarded and lived with his mother who was also mentally retarded. I doubt that would have meant anything to us back then or that it would have kept us from screwing him over on the trades. I'll never forget the sight of all those vintage cards. I didn't know much about cards at that time so I can't tell you I saw in '52 Mantles or old tobacco cards. I do know it was the most impressive collection I've ever seen in my life.
And the poor guy didn't know what he had. I recently found the binder I used to store these cards. I'll start posting some pics of the pages soon.