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Cathy started collecting Garfield in 1985 when her brother gave her 6 Garfield plush toys when he left home. Those 6 stuffed animals turned into thousands of Garfield Items.
Like most “normal” people, I always enjoyed reading the Garfield comics and probably had a Garfield mug or two. Prior to dating (and marrying Cathy) I had no idea what I was in for.
I married into Cathy’s obsession in 1994. I would tell everyone that Cathy was a fanatical collector of Garfield. I always supported her Garfield collection and celebrated it as something that makes her distinctive. I would always refer to the collection as Cathy’s. It was in 2006, at the Garfield Gathering after I fought Cathy for her new Garfield robe that she recently acquired from Doc Davis, Jim Davis’ brother that I realized maybe I was deeper into the lifestyle than I realized.
So here I am at the 2006 Garfield Gathering during the “Garfield Pajama Party” wearing Garfield lounge pants, a Garfield shirt, Garfield slippers, and the new Garfield robe, and I suddenly realized that maybe I was “one of them”.
In November 2002 Cathy and I went on a cruise in the Western Caribbean. No sooner did we get back from the cruise we found out that Paws Inc. was organizing a Garfield 25th birthday cruise. Despite the fact that we just went to the exact itinerary cruise we signed up and went on the Garfield cruise.
Today we have thousands of items and have met many more people like us. One woman we met at the Garfield gathering explained that the reason she always goes to the Garfield Gathering was that it was the only weekend that she feels “normal”. There is no ribbing from friends about the obsessive collection.
Like in the Blind Melon rock video where the main character, “Bee Girl”, (a young girl wearing a bee suit), finally discovered there were other “oddballs” like her, it is nice to see that we are not the only people bitten by the Garfield bug.
In 2011 Cathy and I hosted the Garfield collector’s convention known as the “Garfield Gathering”. We decided to raise the bar an try to make one of the best conventions ever. If in the past the table centerpiece was given away at the end of the event, we had a centerpiece given away every dinner.
If in the past there was free time between events, we came up with more things to do with the group.
We bartered and begged but managed to get the official Garfield costume as well as a pretty amazing auctioneer, Rudy.
We even had an official licensee, “Catch the Moment” who set up a photo booth that printed pictures of the attendees in scenes with Garfield.
I know we inspired future years to think out side the box and the event continues to always get better.
In 2013 we were contacted by the world record people and asked if we can beat 3000 items. We said, “in our living room alone” and they asked if we are willing to break the current record. It took over 2 years to document everything we had and in 2015 Cathy was added to the “stop the presses” section of the Guinness Book.
You might be wondering why they contacted us. My guess is that the old record was tainted. The old record of just over 3,000 pieces listed two names. A real record should only have one name in it. Cathy is the world record holder and I am listed as the “Cataloger”.
For years Cathy and I would work on a book about Garfield collectables and the Garfield collectors community. In 2018 the book was finished and published. It is available in full-color printed or by download. Click her to go to the www.lovesGarfieldBook.com website to learn more.
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