Keeping her ducks in a row

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By Donald Richie

Sitting quietly on U.S. 62 West is a collection which has caught the eye of the foremost agency for record holding.

Mary Mae Brooks was recently named to the Guinness Book of World Records™ for her astounding collection of Donald Duck-related paraphernalia.

She’s been collecting the Donald Duck items for about 30 years, mostly because of her daughter Teresa’s love for the character.

“My oldest daughter is 33 and when she was three-years-old, Donald Duck was her favorite character,” Brooks said. “So I had a few items of hers from when she was little.”

Brooks’ husband’s name is also Donald, and she found out at one point he had been called ‘Duck.’

She gathered up her daughter’s old things and started a collection.

The idea for a world record came from a niece. Brooks contacted the Guinness™ agency and started the ball rolling.

Of course, there were some steps, and she had to get all her ducks in a row.

Brooks found out for a world record, at least 500 items had to be a collection. She did an initial count, including duplicate items.

“They told me it could only be individual items, no duplicates,” she said.

The count also had to be verified by two witnesses.

Brooks came up with 1,285 items as of May 28. Of course, that number has grown a little since then.

The most time consuming part of the project was the detailed listing of the pieces. She had to describe and categorize each individual piece.

“It took me several months,” Brooks said.

Last week, the work paid off when she received her certificate naming her to the list.

“I didn’t do this for any fortune or fame,” she said. “This is a hobby for me.”

Brooks has several sources from which she culls her collection.

Antique malls and flea markets are frequent stops. Every year, she usually spends three or four days travelling the 654-mile Hwy. 127 Corridor Sale, which stretches from Unity, Ohio to Gasden, Ala.

Family and friends help as well and there’s also the Internet.

“E-Bay’s good, too,” she said. “A lot of these come from E-Bay.”

And of course, there are new items she buys at the Disney Store.

For the really unique items, she relies on her real-life Donald. Her husband works for Toyota and through his job travels to Japan once in a while. When there, he will pick up Donald Duck things which can’t be found stateside.

On one trip, he even made her a Donald Duck dish at a pottery shop.

“That is my most special piece,” Brooks said.

There is no limit to the types of items found in her collection.

There are Christmas ornaments, cups, wall hangings, soda bottles, games, puzzles, books, dolls, plates and even a steering wheel spinner.

If you can put Donald Duck on it, Brooks may just have one.

For now, she isn’t sure whether her name will actually appear in the Guinness™ Book which is sold in stores. The London-based agency collects about 40,000 new records each year, but only includes about 4,000 in the book.

Brooks wasn’t in the 2009 edition, which was just released, but it’s possible she’ll be in next year.

“They keep their database,” she said. “I know I’m in their records.”