Elephants, elephants… Everywhere!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 2, 2001


PHOTO: Joy Scharwath Monica stands by her display of elephants which she has collected over the years. (Photo by Anna Monica) There are many elephants in Joy Scharwath Monica’s future, and she knows that. Why? Because she already has about 400 in her past. The count was at least 350 two years ago, and she estimates she has collected at least 50 more since. Joy truly believes she has a special connection with elephants because, besides the fact she has collected them seriously for 20 years, one of her first baby pictures was taken with an elephant ornament. “Do I ever get tired of getting elephants? No,” she quickly confesses. It’s a good thing because when someone gives her a gift, which is where most of her collection comes from, it will certainly be an elephant. They know of her passion for them, and she cannot remember when she didn’t love them. Getting elephants for every occasion, Joy says “What is so unusual, I only have two alike of my elephants. Everybody gives me a different one. They search for one that is different. They always come up with something unique. I have elephants in every room n they are all over. I even have elephant slippers.” When she goes to sleep at night, a lot of times different elephants pop into Joy’s head; different colored ones doing different things. Actually, there is also a pink elephant in her collection. Looking around her home, elephants are present in cookie jars, wind chimes, jewelry, scarves, picture frames, plates, planters, vases, door stops, music boxes and whiskey bottles. There is also a football elephant and stuffed ones almost fill a bedroom. Some of her extensive collection aremade from materials such as porcelain, crystal, stones, silver and even pecan shells. Her Herd elephants are Peanuts and Popcorn and she has a family of music box elephants. Oddly enough, one group of her elephants makes up a family but were given to her by different people at different times. In addition, outside is a pond with an elephant fountain given her by daughter, Melissa whose other elephant gifts to her mom are especially cherished. Joy appreciates her collection for what it really is – and that is memories. To her each elephant is a memory of someone who has passed through her life.”I have them from all over,” she says. “Every time I pick one up, whoever’s I pick up, I think of them, the person that gave it to me.” Other collectibles in Joy’s home include a Barbra Streisand collection of videos, CDs, DVDs and books. But, it is the elephants that are so very special to her because they are constant reminders of friends, family and loved ones. She is sincere when she says “I cherish them.”