couple collects over 1000 mugs
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Cleaning out a closet has inspired an Osgood woman to collect
more than a thousand coffee mugs of every style and description.
Thats exactly how it started, laughed Linda
Ritchie, who said close to four years ago as she cleaned a closet
she found mugs that her children had brought her from their senior
trips. I thought, no one can see them in this closet,
why not set them out?
Set them out she did. The kitchen of the Ritchies modest
farmhouse style home tastefully displays mugs. The mugs proudly
hang on specially designed racks that circle the ceiling of the
kitchen, three and four rows in depth. They are displayed vertically
and horizontally, some in a wooden hutch, many on mug trees, in
the smallest nook or cranny, they brighten the walls of the Osgood
couples home and are great conversation pieces. In the living
room, the mug theme continues with a firemans pole that
reaches from the ceiling to the floor built specifically to display
more of the collection.
These mugs tell a story. The life story of a couple who value
family and friends. Each mug is documented on the bottom saying
who gave it to them. They can at random pick out a mug and tell
the story about its origin. Lindas husband, Merrill, also
enjoys the collection.
The mugs are literally from all over the world, many hand delivered
after friends and family have traveled.
The Ritchies most recent mug is designed with a camel on
the front and has flown in two unmanned flights in the Middle
East. Their oldest grandson, Christopher Roe, 21, hand delivered
the mug recently when he came home from the Airforce. We
were in shock, noted Linda, as she told how a birthday party
was being held for her youngest grandson, Matthew, who turned
3. I didnt know anything about Chris coming home.
He knew what she would like and since he was able to do something
special with the mug, it meant even more. That homecoming will
be memorialized when the Ritchies see the mug sitting in
their home. It will bring joy every time we remember the
The Ritchies are very proud of every branch of the
military. They truly believe in supporting the troops that
are serving now in the war on terror. They have a special section
of mugs that honor each branch of the service.
Linda noted that when someone gives her a mug from another country
or a place she knows shell never go to, its like seeing
that place through someone elses eyes.
This one came from Thailand, Linda smiled as she held
a delicate mug in the shape of an elephant. Her dear friend, and
high school English Literature teacher, Pat Hartwell from Moores
Hill, brought the item to her. Now, its really not
a coffee mug, its a teapot because they dont drink
coffee in Thailand, noted Linda. She keeps the item in her
special collection because it represents another country and the
love of a friend.
But, Linda does have actual coffee mugs from many countries: Newfoundland,
Mexico, Germany, Canada, Puerto Rico, Ireland, France, England,
Barbados, Italy and the Bahamas to name a few. She has mugs from
every state except two - North Dakota and New Jersey. Indiana
is represented by Osgoods sesquicentennial mug that was
designed by Ray Smart, a neighbor. It depicts the history of the
town complete with a train engine, the Brick Street, Willson Dairy,
the high bridge and Damm Theatre.
The mugs are displayed in categories, some of which include, inspirational
ones, humorous, college, sports, newspapers (one has a headline
from when President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated), holidays,
comic characters, company logos, artistic, birthdays, and many
There are big ones, little ones, odd shaped and colored ones.
The smallest one she has is smaller than a thimble and has Lindas
name on it. A friend of hers, Kathy Cavins, brought her the tiny
mug from Arkansas. The largest mug, holds about two gallons, and
is decorated with soft butterflies. It was given to me by
a good friend who lived in Greenfield, Francis Pryor, noted
Linda, who says her friend has since passed away.
While the interview was being conducted for this story, a knock
came on the door of the Osgood couples home. It was Brenda
Warren with four mugs. Shes a big contributor,
laughed the couple. They say Warren has brought them probably
three to four hundred. I just pick them up at yard sales,
noted Warren, who enjoys looking for unique things.
Whats her favorite mug? Well, that was a hard decision,
so finally Linda said, I really have two. The first
one was an inspirational mug that read, A hundred years
from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort
of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but, the world
may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
When it comes to the end, Linda notes that, my life is worth
it if I can just touch the life of a child. She treasures
that mug. The second mug has significant meaning because it was
given to her by her favorite southern gospel music group, Heavenly
Reign. Members of the group had a picture taken of the Ritchies
and themselves. Then they had a transfer of the photo put onto
a mug and presented it to them as a surprise. They are a
wonderful bunch, she noted.
The Ritchies have four children, 16 grandchildren, three great
grandchildren and two more on the way. They say their family has
been instrumental in helping them gather mugs, theyre always
looking for something unique to bring them.
The massive collection expanded from only 400 to over 1000 in
just one year. When will they quit collecting them? Linda says
shell stop when she runs out of room. Youre
getting there, laughed her husband. The mugs fill the kitchen,
have spilled over into the living, utility and bedrooms.
When it comes to mugs...if you can imagine it, the Ritchies
have it. If they dont, they would like to!
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Linda and Merrill Ritchie pose with fireman's pole filled