Super Senior: Jim Lovely

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 4:13 PM EST
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WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - Jim Lovely is brutally honest about his life. The Waterbury Super Senior is a serious collector of toys that brings him joy, something he needed to get him through his struggles.

Jim Lovely loves harmonicas, But he doesn’t just harp about the music. His main interest, you could say, is child’s play. “You can never have enough toys,” Lovely said. “All kinds of little cars and trucks.”

He has room after room of antique toys in his Waterbury home. To understand Lovely’s obsession, you need to know his past. He went to work at age 11 after his dad died suddenly. “My childhood wasn’t a childhood, it was a manhood thing, because I had to take over,” Lovely said. “I went to work in a few days shoveling snow, worked all my life.”

Once he had his own family, Lovely worked in the post office during the day and a milk route in the early mornings. He and his wife Edna had five children to feed. “I always want to have an extra few bucks if they want money, for allowances or to buy something. I had it to give ‘em,” he said.

At 88, Lovely has time to reflect. “What do I regret? Not spending more time with family,” he said.

Lovely has also had to endure tremendous loss, a topic that stirs strong emotions. He lost Edna and his daughter, Debra, to cancer. His young son Mike died in a car crash. “I got to drinking and so on, just to keep going, which is the worst thing you can ever do,” Lovely said. He gave up the bottle years ago. “I knew I had to change my ways.” His passion for collecting took off when Mike died.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You needed something to do, to get your mind off it.

Jim Lovely: Exactly... A lot of wind-up toys.

He’s sold off much of his collection. “You couldn’t even stand anywhere, you couldn’t get through here,” Lovely said.

The last year has been especially difficult for this Super Senior. With his remaining children living out of state, they haven’t visited their dad because of COVID restrictions. “Some nights I’m in bed at 5:30, not so much in the summer, but in the wintertime it’s terrible. The minute it gets dark, I’m ready to head in,” he said.

Lovely’s life has had its share of sorrows. I wasn’t expecting him to be so open in our interview. The next day I gave him a call and asked if he regretted anything he told me. “No, I have nothing to hide,” was his reply.

Looking forward to brighter days and his upcoming second COVID shot that will allow him to meet up with family and friends again. “You got to look ahead, not back,” Lovely said.

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