FAIRBANKS — While most of Fairbanks is fixated on turkey, Goldie Southwood has spent the week preoccupied with moose.
Southwood has spent the past 18 years collecting moose of almost every variety — stuffed animals, earrings, candles and paintings. Her knick-knacks include a tic-tac-toe board that uses tiny moose and evergreens as pieces, a carved wooden clock and a wine rack shaped like a moose head.
The 69-year-old North Pole resident spent this week meticulously laying out her collection — all 557 pieces — inside a three-car garage at her son’s home. She plans to sell almost all of them during the next two days, putting a distinctive Alaska spin on a Black Friday sale.
Southwood, who downsized in recent years from a five-bedroom home to a studio apartment, said she’s giving up a collection that she simply no longer has room to keep. Some of the moose have sentimental value, and those she’ll be keeping. But for the most part, Southwood said it’s time to set those moose loose.
“I’m ready to be done with them,” she said. “I’m going to save a few treasures, but it’s time to move on.”
The story of Southwood’s moose collection began in 1994. A previous collection of coffee mugs had grown to about 250 pieces, and the sprawl was starting to get to her. It was time to switch to something more manageable.
She doesn’t remember the specific piece that launched her moose collection but said it a was small stuffed animal. Since then, holiday gifts from relatives and friends have carried a consistent moose theme.
“The mug collection just got out of hand,” she said, before gesturing at her moose-filled garage with a smile. “This is reasonable, here.”
Southwood said collecting always has been a passion. She and her late husband, Bob, first moved to Fairbanks in 1965, working in construction, wood crafting and gold mining. Throughout the years, their Birch Hill home steadily filled with collectibles.
Goldie said she’s been able to find moose trinkets in every state she’s traveled to, even in the moose-less swamps of Florida.
When they were scattered throughout the five-bedroom house, the number of moose didn’t seem quite so imposing. On display in a single large room, the collection becomes more impressive.
“I’m worried she’s going to get put in an institution after everyone sees it,” said Goldie’s granddaughter, Morgen, causing them both to break into laughter.
Bob Southwood died in 2000, but Goldie spent another seven years filling up their large house with goodies.
When she moved out a few years ago to live with her son Scott and his family, its inventory filled three Conex containers.
But when she moved into a newly built studio apartment next to their home a year ago, the need to downsize became clear. Southwood unpacked her 10 boxes of moose and began planning a sale.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, most of it — the throw pillows, candles and posters — will head out the door.
“They all have some kind of personality,” Goldie said.
Will there be another collection to fill the void of the missing moose? Morgen said you can count on it, and her grandmother seems to agree.
“Oh, probably,” Goldie said. “I’m always collecting something.”
Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMbusiness.
If you go
Goldie Southwood’s moose sale will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 1181 Sandusky Court, across from Sandusky Street off Badger Road.