Laine Collection Pondering

Blessings

I always find myself reflecting upon my life at this time of the festive year. Perhaps it is the joy of the season that causes me to go into observation over dive. I am very blessed to have such a wonderful life. The key to a great life is to always keep love in your heart. I have great love for my family and friends. I never take this love for granted. Music inspires love. I am so grateful I have allowed great music to become part of my life. There has always been a song in my heart. Sometimes, songs will even spin around in my head and I can’t rid myself of the melody. I guess this is the ultimate praise one can bestow on the songwriters and performing artists!

There have been many songs by Frankie Laine that, after hearing them again, have left me crazily humming to myself all day. Of course, with Frankie, there are several genres of music to with which to choose.

A Laine Compilation

I have written quite a bit over the years regarding my Frankie Laine collection. I think it is extremely neat that Frankie also knew that I was assembling a collection of his career works.

Lately, I have been updating my Frankie Laine collection library and library catalog. I have everything stored in cabinets inside of a special room. My Laine collection consists of photos, collectibles, printed publications, correspondences, records (all types), tapes (audio and video), film, and digital discs. Sometimes, I will think about a specific item I know I have, but cannot recall where it is located within the collection.

I have been fine-tuning my collection catalog. I have my entire collection carefully listed. Each item is listed under categorized headings. Since I have amassed so much of Frankie Laine’s career work over the years, I started wondering what will become of it after I am gone.

As a young man, my goal was to obtain everything that Frankie Laine ever recorded on audiotape. I wasn’t interested in the actual records. I only wanted the recordings. This, I would leave one day to my daughter, Latisha. I considered that these tapes would have significant meaning because I actually was able to meet and get to know Frankie.

Eventually, my collection grew beyond the boundaries of just collecting audiotapes of Frankie Laine songs. I started collecting records and various VHS tapes related to Frankie. Even though Latisha liked Frankie’s music, when she became a teenager, she made it clear that she didn’t particularly want to inherit my collection. We collectors are a breed unto our own. A collector has to have a passion for something in order to seek out items pertaining to it. This intense interest has to be there before the gathering and storing begins!

I have discovered something unique: In reality, a collector’s collection is for the collector alone.

I used to envision how excited someone would be after I showed off my latest acquired collectible piece. In reality, to my dismay, no one is enthralled. While someone may think your collecting effort is neat, and appreciate all the work it took to assemble, and may even find a temporary interest in an item, it is the collector alone, with excited eyes that gleam, who is the proud holder of the assemblage.

Of course, my beautiful wife, Marlene, loves Frankie Laine’s music, too. She is very appreciative of my Laine collection and understands my reasons for building it and maintaining it. I love sharing things with her. She thinks it’s neat!

While it’s true that I have a few friends who are fellow Laine collectors, unfortunately, they all live far, far away. It has always been my desire to have a fellow Frankie Laine enthusiast or collector live close by, but that has never happened–yet. I would even settle for a collector of any pop singer. At least we would have something in common and could compare notes.

With all of this, I wonder where my collection will end up after me. I can’t think of any area museums that would be interested in exhibiting it. While Frankie Laine is, indeed, a true legend of music, unless it is a piece of personal memorabilia (like his gold records, for example) I doubt there would be an interest in displaying personally collected items. Unfortunately, I do not think museums of popular music artists even exist—especially in my area. There are blues, rock, and country museums, but nothing that I know of regarding popular music of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

Perhaps one day it will be clear to me where my collection of Frankie Laine career items will eventually reside. For now, and I hope for many years to come, I can call it mine and visit it each day in my Frankie Laine room within the library of his works, comprised of a collection that this collector has collected.

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About the Author:

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Craig Cronbaugh, Director of the Legislative Information Office with the Legislative Services Agency at the Iowa State Capitol. As famed singer Frankie Laine’s special friend and a collector of Laine’s recordings and career memorabilia, Craig has written articles; has written, produced, directed, and hosted a distinctive radio program; and has appeared on Iowa statewide television regarding his Frankie Laine avocation. Craig has been highlighted briefly and has been given a research screen credit in the 2003 internationally distributed documentary Frankie Laine: An American Dreamer. Craig’s book, a memoir, Reaching for a Star, featuring his friendship with Laine, was published in 2005.