Former Manning mayor’s ‘quirky collection’ included in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! book
by Robert Joseph Baker | October 27, 2016 4:44 pm
Last Updated: October 28, 2016 at 10:02 pm
Jerry Robertson has been mayor of Manning and now serves as the president of the Clarendon County Historical Society.
His list of accomplishments include being chairman for the first ever Striped Bass Festival back in 1980.
But his wife, Margaret, tries to hide the thing Jerry Robertson seems most proud of.
“He’s been collecting his toenail and fingernail clippings since 1969,” Margaret Robertson said of her husband’s quirky collecting habits. “You know, when it started, I was grossed out.”
Jerry’s “feat” was recently included in a new book by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, which published a blurb on page 99 of “Unlock Ripley’s World of the Weird!”
The book includes such “luminaries” as Welshman Barry Kirk, who officially changed his name to Captain Beany due to his love of baked beans, and who celebrated his 60th birthday by having 60 images of baked beans tattooed onto his bald head. There is also Georgia Green of South Australia, who sleeps up to 10 days at a time due to a rare neurological disorder that makes her body disregard circadian rhythms and normal wakefulness. There’s also Victor Thompson of New Hampshire, who has an image of Tom Brady’s football helmed tattooed right across his head, along with the Patriots logo and Brady’s number.
“I was excited to see it, but it was a letdown that they didn’t include the pictures,” Jerry said.
“We sent a lot of pictures,” Margaret said. “I sent one of him as a young man with the vase and one of him now.”
For 47 years, Jerry Robertson has added to the collection without fail. He said if he was traveling for work and had to cut his fingernails or toenails, he would put them in a matchbox for safe keeping until he got back home.
“Our son was 6 months old in 1969, and he had just begun to crawl, and he cut his knee on a nail clipping on the floor,” Margaret said. “Jerry got a vase and put his toenail clippings in it, and then he just sort of got obsessed with it.”
No one goes to the Robertson house without finding out about Jerry’s pride and joy.
“We have a dinner party, and he says, ‘I’ve got something to show y’all,'” Margaret said. “I used to be just mortified, but now I’ve gotten used to it.”
Jerry said some people find his hobby a little off-putting, but he isn’t bothered by it.
“I think it’s unique; how many people do you know that have done this?” he said.
Margaret described her husband’s hobby as more of an obsession.
“It’s his favorite thing to do: showing visitors his toenail and fingernail collection,” she said. “And God help us if one goes astray during cutting. You have to go and find it.”
And Jerry is the only one allowed to add to the collection.
“It’s mystifying, but the children and grandchildren want to add theirs, but he won’t allow it,” Margaret said. “It has to be only his.”
And when her husband isn’t “showing off” his collection to company, friends and strangers alike, Margaret has the perfect spot for it.
“I keep the vase behind a picture on a shelf,” she said. “He knows it’s there, but no one else does, at least until he shows it to them.”