- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

BARBERTON, Ohio (AP) - Every morning, Jimmy Scichilone rolls out of bed and makes his coffee in a sleek electric vintage Sunbeam percolator, circa 1960. He reaches into his 1963 Coldspot Space Master refrigerator for cream, and then catches the morning news on his black and white Zenith television that dates back to 1963.

And that’s just the beginning. In fact, Scichilone’s home is somewhat of a homage to his much-loved balance of aesthetics and utility of Mid-Century Modernist electronics and appliances, right down to the working transistor radio his parents gave him for his birthday in 1960.

“The reason I remember it is because it was on Easter and there was a bad earthquake that day. I listened to the news on this,” recalls Scichilone, 62, grabbing the childhood radio that’s displayed on a shelf.

The radio is just a drop in the overflow of 1950’s and ‘60’s gadgets, appliances, electronics, furniture and even automobiles that are neatly stuffed into Scichilone’s home and garage. The 1964 salmon-colored curved sofa that came from Sokol’s Furniture in Akron faces the 1963 Zenith.

As for the Cable piano against one wall: “That’s the piano I learned to play on when I was a child,” Scichilone says. “It belonged to my aunt and uncle. It’s kind of beat up but it works fine.”

When did Scichilone’s instinct to hold on to things begin? Very early in his life.

When he was 5 years old, Scichilone (pronounced shick-a-lone-ee) probably didn’t know the idiom “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but he was already living it, much to the chagrin of his father.

“I’ve collected since I was a little boy,” says Scichilone, a self-described egghead and a retired engineer from Lockheed Martin. “I was a very mechanical little boy and I loved to figure out what made things work. So I would drag home radios and portable televisions and coffee pots from people’s trash.”

His father would have rather he didn’t do that.

“Unfortunately, we had the cleanest house in town,” Scichilone continues. “My dad hated junk. I would come home from school thinking I would play with something I brought home and my dad had thrown it away. But it was out of concern. He was worried that I was either going to electrocute myself or burn down the house.”

Most of Scichilone’s furniture, which no one else in the family wanted, belonged to his deceased aunt and uncle.

“My aunt and uncle built a house in 1963,” he says. “My aunt was kind of a classy lady and she had all mid-century style furnishings back when a lot of other people didn’t have it. It wasn’t that big in Northeast Ohio. When I was about 9 or 10 years old we went over to see their new house and furniture. To me it was like walking into the Jetsons’ house. There was all of this neat, wild stuff.”

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

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