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In Jimmy Carter's hometown, political memorabilia mix with emotion

Matt Kempner, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

But Kurland says his favorite Jimmy item in the store is a political button that says “Gimme Jimmy.” He bought a couple thousand from a former campaign worker. Now he’s down to about 300 or fewer.

Second favorite? A bicentennial-themed button of Carter with a peanut body and a massively toothy smile. “I have enough for five lifetimes. Maybe I have 20,000.”

Kurland has had personal collections of his own that he treasured in the past: political buttons, Secret Service pins, comic books, baseball cards, coins. Now, he says, his only personal memorabilia are the couple photos of him and Ramona with the Carters.

“Why am I going to want to have stuff? We have no kids.”

He and Ramona plan to move out of their upstairs apartment once they are finished renovating a house three blocks away. Then, he says, they’ll really get serious about selling the business.

Nearly as soon as he says this, he describes a stash of about 15,000 old campaign items he is on the verge of buying for the shop. It could take years to sell through the extra supply. Why is he still overstocking a store he plans to sell?


“I just can’t help myself,” he confesses.

“He’s so programmed,” Ramona says behind him.

“I’m addicted to buying buttons.”

“Yes,” his wife proclaims. “He’s nuts.”


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