For more than 20 years, Pulaski native Jay Turner has been collecting Pulaski County memorabilia ranging from matchbooks to bottles, and postcards to clocks.
Starting Tuesday, others will be able to share in Turner’s collection through a 200-page book containing color photos and descriptions of the items. “Fading Memories of Pulaski Virginia” goes on sale 4:30-7 p.m. that day during a book signing at Pulaski Library. The $52.50 price includes tax.
Turner said the first 300 books are numbered first edition copies. When the second edition is printed the book will also be available at Wilderness Road Regional Museum and Valley Auctions in Newbern (Turner’s employer). He hopes to also make it available at Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum in Pulaski.
The 1976 graduate of Pulaski County High School said he wanted to put his collection in book form to document the items for future collectors. A partnership between Turner and Friends of the Pulaski County Library System made the book possible.
The idea to do a book arose about four years ago when a woman from Sullivan County Archives and Tourism in Tennessee suggested it to Turner. It really started to take shape in February when Pulaski Library employee Carol Smith was digitally archiving local school yearbooks and called Turner to locate several she didn’t have.
He first developed an interest in collecting local memorabilia when Leo Cecil of Leo’s Antique Store in Draper was attending a large estate auction in 1990 and Turner’s father-in-law got Turner and his wife some tickets to it. Cecil is a friend of Turner’s father-in-law.
Although he didn’t make any purchases at that auction, Turner said he developed an interest in local memorabilia and started picking up items at flea markets and yard sales. Twenty-three years later, he has no idea how many items he has in the collection.
Although it is extensive, he says there are still hundreds of items he doesn’t have. For example, Turner has about 200 Pulaski County postcards, but he has seen about 50 others he doesn’t have.
Turner said he already has a waiting list of people wanting a copy of the book. “I’m a real grounded person and it’s just blowing my mind that it’s that well received,” he said, noting that a friend pointed out he has accomplished what some people spend a lifetime trying to complete.
The book was published by Turner and printed by Smith Printing in Minnesota. He sketched out what he wanted on the pages in a composition book and a secretary at his work compiled it in digital form.
“We sat down together one time for two hours. The rest of it was just passing notes back and forth,” said Turner. Nonetheless, he added, “When we got the proof back, we only had to change four pages.”
Those wishing to purchase a book via mail should call Turner at 540-239-6204, preferably after 4 p.m.
Items from Turner’s collection also are on display at Pulaski Library and Charles and Ona B. Free Memorial Library in Dublin.