Rubber soul: How a pink light bulb grew into a collection of over 6,500 erasers for one Sask. woman

Like many good ideas, Kerri Thurman's eraser collection started with a light bulb.

When she was 10 years old, she saw a pink light bulb eraser. Her mom thought it would be nice to buy it and start a collection, the Balgonie, Sask., woman said.

"That was the bright idea to start this collection and then it just kind of went from there," Thurman said. "Everywhere we went we saw any eraser and if I didn't have it, we would buy it."

That collection has now grown to more than 6,500 erasers of all shapes, sizes and colours.

Thurman and her mom started filling shoe boxes. Later, they started laying them out and tying them to foam pieces to make them easier to move.

"I just kept going with it and never stopped. I never stopped looking," she said. 

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The collection is really a microcosm of pop culture through the years, Thurman said.

"You could definitely walk through time for some of these," she said. "I have Smurfs from when the Smurfs first came out — and Sesame Street when it was new."  

With each new Disney movie there was a new eraser, another with each new Xbox game or major sporting event, as well as others from different places around the world.

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Thurman prefers searching local shops for erasers rather than shopping online — she likes the excitement of finding an eraser she doesn't have. 

She has a mental inventory and can tell by looking at an eraser in a store whether it's one she already has. But she doesn't go on shopping trips specifically to find new erasers.

"It's a natural thing," she said. "If I'm out shopping, I'll look for them. If I'm not, then I don't."

Thurman said she's spent probably over $20,000 on the collection so far. 

Kirk Fraser/CBC
Kirk Fraser/CBC

When not on display, her erasers are all over the house. 

"We just stack them up in Rubbermaid containers and my dad's old briefcases, and we just kind of find a place for them," she said. 

She rarely brings them out for display, but when she does, it takes hours to set them up.

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Her dream is to have them on permanent display somewhere. 

"It's something for everybody to come and see," Thurman said. "It's kind of cool to look at. I was even amazed myself this time when we kept pulling them out. I'm like, 'Another box? Where are they coming from?' And holy man. It was a lot."

Some people have messaged Thurman looking to buy a certain eraser, she said. But she's not interested in selling unless she has a double. 

She's also got a few on her own want list, including Barney the Purple Dinosaur and Gainer the Gopher erasers.

Kirk Fraser/CBC

Thurman says her collection will continue to grow over what she expects to be a lifetime pursuit.

"Not sure who is going to get it when I'm gone, but it might be a little bit of a fight," Thurman said. "My kids might fight over it, my niece. We'll see."