Local collector harvests paraphernalia from election
November 5, 2008
For 65-year-old retired cookie salesman Chuck Diets, presidential election years are a time to gather new material, and this year was no exception.
The wide field of candidates this year provided him with lots of material, including signs from Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, Dennis Kucinich and many others.
This year, he said, he had to travel to Republican and Democratic headquarters in Reno to find the best stuff.
“I got a T-shirt for Obama that slams Hillary Clinton,” he said. “I’ve got them all up on the wall. I’ve got a little bit of everything.”
There isn’t a campaign sign in front of Diets’ Foothill Road home. But step inside his garage and the back wall is covered with them and other presidential campaign memorabilia dating back a century.
“I’m drawn to politics, but I’d never run,” he said. “I’d never put up a political sign. There are just too many people out there who would damage it.”
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Diets arrived in Carson Valley in 2004, moving from Southern California where he lived in a small town near the outskirts of Simi Valley for 16 years. He has been married to wife Francine for 43 years, and they have one daughter, Jennifer.
Diets started his collection in the 1950s, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president.
He’s never inventoried his collection, which he estimates amounts to thousands of pieces he’s gathered over the last half century.
The earliest pieces he’s collected date back to the assassination of William McKinley in 1901.
In Southern California, Diets lived in Moorpark, near the Reagan Library, explaining the large amount of material honoring the 40th president.
“That was Reagan country,” he said.