Hatteberg's People - Bob Condray

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

On Hatteberg's People, I've seen a lot of collections of stuff' in my years of doing this series, but never have I see a toy collection like Bob Condray's in Clyde, Kansas. I was stunned...and that doesn't often happen.

"You go into a store today and you just don't see toys that I've seen as a kid."

So retired farmer Bob Condray created his 'own' toy collection and built a two story barn to house it.

"Yeah, it's cluttered, it's cluttered."

"I know that if someone else sees it, it's just too large."

There is no way to show you in one picture just how large this collection is, but simply walking down the glass-enclosed shelves of Bob's incredibly well-kept displays, you see toys from farm related to space....all collected by one man over a half century.

"I should have made it bigger when I was at it. The big trouble here, is that I have probably90 percent more stuff than I need in it."

"I started out and there was stuff that was really junk. Then as it got older, it was kind of neat to restore it and to fix it up.

In a workroom, in an adjacent building, he repairs many of the toys....some from scratch...some just a new paint job.

"I can just lose myself when I'm building models and stuff. I can go in there and forget about all the other problems of the world."

"I'm interested in the toys and I pretty well know what they are....and my habit is harmful to me 'physically' like some habits are you know."

Upstairs at the barn....even more.

"It's something, I have to do something and this is what I like to do."

In the rows and rows of shelves, Bob says he had no idea how many toys he has or what the collection is worth. That, he says, isn't important to him. What is, are the toys themselves.

"That's the main thing I would say is I've had a good time. I've got a picture of me over there and I had that toy, probably when I was two or three years old. And they have all be restored, I'll tell you for sure."

"This is one of the hardest pieces I've built, it's a field cultivator. I had on the farm is the reason I wanted to build it. The real one is forty-eight and a half foot. So I built this one to one-sixteenth scale."

"I enjoyed every bit of it."

"(laugh) I mean I've just had a lot of fun. I've enjoyed what I did. I've enjoyed life, I've had problems, but I can move on and have fun."

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