I’ll start off with an excerpt from a recently re-blogged old post.
I’ve been interested in collecting things ever since I read “Herbert”, by Hazel Wilson. The first chapter was called “Herbert’s Can Collection”. That story got me started on my first collection: the LABELS from cans.
As a child, I thought that “Herbert’s Can Collection” was just a very funny story,
but now I think there may have been more to it than that.
Herbert’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Yadon have read or heard that a child should not be discouraged in his hobbies. Therefore, in order to encourage Herbert, they begin buying nothing but canned products. They become very tired of eating only canned foods, but the important thing is not to discourage Herbert.
Eventually, inevitably, the house becomes too crowded with all these cans, so Mr. Yadon builds an addition to the house. But before long, even that isn’t enough to accommodate all those cans, but his parents can’t afford to build another addition, And Herbert is spending so much time on his collection that he is neglecting in school work, and is in danger of being
put back a grade.
Herbert’s parents consult Herbert’s Uncle Horace, who always knows what to do about everything.
Uncle Horace praises Herbert’s collection, and tells him that it is complete. Nothing more can be added to it. He then advises Herbert to dispose of his collection.
With his can collection, which had absorbed him for so long, gone, Herbert is discouraged, to the dismay of his parents. But a few minutes later, Uncle Horace steers him towards a new hobby…. stamp collecting!
As I said, I used to think that this was just a funny story, but now I think Hazel Wilson may have written it to subtly lampoon overly-indulgent parents, and perhaps, people who spend too much time on their collections.
And I’m afraid I have, at some times, belonged to the latter group!