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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Alton woman sends cherished pigs to market

Monday, December 19, 2011

For most of her 90 years, Gertrude Thomason has collected pigs -- long enough that she can't recall when or why she started.

"Pigs just fascinated me," Thomason said Friday, Dec. 9, from her home in Thayer. "I've been doing it for centuries."

Inside and out, Thomason's home is adorned with every sort of pig, including metal, glass, ceramic, plastic, paper and cloth pigs. There are pig tea kettles, pig watering cans, pig clocks, pig knick knacks, pig dishes, all sorts of piggy banks, even a flying pig planter on the front porch.

Thomason said she didn't buy many of the pigs, which were gifts from her eight children.

"For my birthday or what have you, if they couldn't think of something to get me, they'd get a pig," Thomason said. "Or, we'd be traveling and I'd see one. Well, there it goes again."

Thomason's parents immigrated from Austria where they were farmers before Thomason was born. For a time, Thomason and her family lived on a farm with an assortment of livestock, although her swine compilation began before then.

"When I got married, I started, for some reason," she said of the oinkers, porkers and piglets that fill her home.

In 1969, Thomason's daughter, Christine Miner, painted a colorful pig in ceramics class, which Thomason told her last week to take back from the collection as she no longer has space for it.

When the weather gets better, in about three or four months, Thomason plans to move into a senior apartment. Although pigs may be allowed there, Thomason said she must downsize her belongings, but will keep her cat, Crystal, no matter what.

"You'd think she would have a pig running around here instead of a cat," Miner said as she gathered her 41-year-old ceramic pig from the pile of boxed porkers.

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