Sunday, March 10, 2002

Down the road, a toad or two snuck in

By Marsie Hall Newbold,
Enquirer contributor

        Who: Maureen McKinney, 38, of Highland Heights, a cashier at Kroger in Cold Spring who is a self-professed “frog lover.”

        On display: More than a hundred frog items including: stuffed toys, a cast iron bank, pens, return address labels, wind chimes, a “flying frog” marionette and a tapestry. She also owns a jewelry box, frog jewelry, T-shirts, candles, bathroom accessories and kitchenware. For her interview, she wore huge, plush frog slippers.

[photo] Maureen McKinney and some of her collection of frogs.
(Dick Swaim photo)
| ZOOM |
        Where: Throughout the home she shares with her boyfriend, Jimmy Coleman, and a yellow, tiger striped tabby cat named Taquin.

        Tadpole: “I've been collecting frogs since I was little,” Ms. McKinney says. “My aunt, Margie Sams, is the culprit who started it all.”

        “She was baby sitting me when I was three or four years old,” Ms. McKinney recalls. “It was around Halloween. I wouldn't eat my dinner, and she told me if I didn't, a witch was going to come through the window and turn me into a toad.”

        Flies are tasty! “I didn't eat,” she says, laughing. “Of course, I didn't turn into a frog either. But that Christmas, she bought me a stuffed frog.”

        Soon, the rest of Ms. McKinney's family and friends started adding to her collection.

        Hopalong: “Actually,” she admits, “I hated it when I was a kid. I couldn't understand why everybody was buying me frogs.

        “I guess you could say I got over that. Now green is my favorite color.”

        Croak: Most of Ms. McKinney's amphibians come from gift shops. She especially likes the ones at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Others are souvenirs from vacations. Her favorite is a tiny hand-carved wooden frog that her mother, Lois McKinney, brought back from an African safari.

        Self-control: Even though Ms. McKinney is always on the lookout for new frogs, she has a “self-imposed rule.” She doesn't buy herself anything between October and February.

        “That's because I know that people will be buying them for me for Christmas and my birthday,” she says.

        Though she calls the creatures in her collection “frogs,” Ms. McKinney admits that some of her “frogs” are actually toads.

        Look-alikes: “I know that there's a difference, but I'm not sure what it is,” she giggles.

        “I'll probably always collect frogs,” she says, looking around her living room. “But it looks like I'm running out of space, and I've only lived here a year.”

        Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Cincinnati Enquirer: e-mail



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