Sunday, January 27, 2002

Prize Possessions

Hundreds crowd Noah's Ark collection

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer contributor

        Who: Sharyn Albright of Hartwell, a retired supervisor of the Hearing Impaired Program for Cincinnati Public Schools, former principal of Clifton School and self-described Noah's Ark “affectionado.”

        On display: Hundreds of Noah's Ark items, including bed linens, puzzles, books, clocks, china, Christmas ornaments and pottery. In addition, she owns 95 Noah's Ark books, clothing, jewelry, stationery, wallpaper and framed prints. She also has many one-of-a kind items such as a handmade quilt and tote bag.

        In the beginning: Ms. Albright's interest in Noah's Ark began in October of 1994.

        “My mother was the veteran shopper of the world,” she says with a grin. “We used to joke that she had a personal relationship with the UPS man.”

        Two by two: “She was the kind of person who began shopping for Christmas in January,” Ms. Albright explains. “After she died and I was going through her things, I found a Noah's Ark door topper that she had bought for me. It's a little wooden plaque that is about 18 inches long. It was just something I had seen in a catalog and had mentioned to her.”

        “Needless to say,” she adds, “It means a great deal to me.”

        Forty days and forty nights: Ms. Albright had never had a hobby or collected anything before.

        “I had always been too busy working,” she says, “But I made up for lost time. It was like I developed radar. I couldn't pass a store without going in and looking for a Noah item. Now, I spend a lot of time going to craft shows and searching on eBay.”

        The great flood: “It's to the point where you can't see the white on my walls,” she jokes. “But seriously, I have doubles and triplicates of so many things that I have asked people not to buy me anything with Noah's Ark on it unless they are sure I don't have it.”

        Spiritual message: “My interest in Noah,” Ms. Albright says, “Is really about my personal relationship with God. He knows my personality and that I like to hunt for things. I believe that he is the author of all of this.”

        “So,” she continues, “I went to the Bible and read the story of Noah and found myself understanding life lessons and Biblical principles. I've found that God tends to use simple things in order to have you understand your relationship with him and to draw you closer. In my case it was Noah's Ark collectibles.”

        Spreading the word: Ms. Albright has developed a presentation called “Be Prepared, Build Yourself an Ark” and has shared it with several church groups.

        “I have learned that God talks to people,” she says. “He gives us everything we need to live this life. We just have to follow and be obedient. Just like Noah.”

        Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 or e-mail:


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