But one of Richard’s most endearing qualities was his ability to converse, on just about any subject. He loved to be stopped by people while on his daily routes, to stop, chat, and pass the time. When Richard first started mowing my lawn many years ago, my office was in my small basement/root-cellar. It has a small window, and when the lawn was being mowed, you couldn’t hear yourself think down there, with all of the racket coming through the window. So I would stop, grab Richard a bottle of cold water, and we would chat for awhile. As the years passed (and my office was no longer in the basement) we would sit on the front porch and discuss the world’s problems for an hour or so, often joined by a neighbor or two -- it gave Richard a little reprieve and was always an interesting time. We didn’t always agree on everything -- Richard would often complain about the “new world” and he wasn’t having any of it! No cellphone (he had a rotary dial phone/landline for quite awhile -- he finally upgraded to an old push-button landline phone), no computer, no internet, no TV after digital signals became the norm. I think he would have been quite content if the world had just stopped in time in the 1950s. And of course we discussed/argued about politics and religion, often simply agreeing to disagree, ha ha!
To my knowledge, Richard lived in Minnesota as a small boy, and learned about collecting “stuff” from a guy who drove a horse-drawn cart through the neighborhood selling used wares. At some point they moved to Salem, Oregon, and eventually settled in Orange. Richard’s brother would become disabled at a young age, and Richard tended to him until his brother died in his early 40’s. Likewise, as his mother and father got older, he took care of them in the family home as well until they passed. He had a sister that died in a car accident years ago, and has two other sisters who still live in Southern California.
It seemed like everyone in the neighborhood knew Richard -- many would stop, or wave when passing his house. All were kind of keeping an eye on him, I suppose, especially as he got older. Some would bring food, or a cold drink. Or on occasion would help him up if he fell down in the yard and couldn’t get back up again on his own. Richard was fiercely independent and proud of his accomplishments, and often just wanted to be left alone, not wanting to accept any form of help or assistance. He was a master of stretching a dollar -- and should have written a book on his methods and thought processes when it came to getting the most from nothing (or next-to-nothing).
Rest in peace, Richard.