Shirley Morris has a heart for hearts.
As the McPherson native walks back to her heart-themed room, the iconic shape is showcased in nearly every form on the walls, furniture, floor and everywhere in between.
"This is my daughter’s room that I have turned into my heart collection," Morris laughed as she spread her arms wide to show off the space. "My dad gave me money to buy this China hutch and this is where I started putting my collection when I first started. I thought I could fit them all in here — but then it started overflowing into the room and my home."
Even her attire is always heart-themed. From earrings to rings, Morris always wears her heart on her sleeve, so to speak.
"I still have my ankle bracelet that I wore in high school. I have rings on my fingers that are all hearts and I have these earrings," she said as she pointed to them. "These came from Finland more than 20 years ago."
There are over 300 hearts alone in her China hutch; and 600 more spread around her home.
"I've always been interested in people's welfare and making them happy. That’s why I guess I've always been attracted to hearts — it just grew from there," she said.
As for her husband, he has his own unique collection of golfing items.
"He lives with my collection, he's just fine," Morris laughed. "One day I said, 'Well, since my hearts extend to the back yard, garage and car, and he's a golfer, I fixed his bathroom so he has a golf theme in there and lots of golfing things on his desk.' It's kind of 90 to 10 percent of hearts to golf in the house."
While the heart collection is unique in itself, Morris has collections within the common theme.
"I have all these different collections, I would say 10 to 12. I have a collection of bells that have hearts on them. I have dishes with all kinds of hearts, I could entertain a party with mostly everything hearts," she chuckled.
To keep track of her rather large collection, Morris put together a book of her different categories.
"I put this in the computer and 200 different items came out of my collection — angels, baskets, bells, candy, boxes, dishes — I was amazed when I started categorizing at how many came out of it. I even have my ankle bracelet from high school and a bikini," she added.
Morris often stumbles upon the next item to add to her collection as she goes antiquing to find her next piece.
"Wherever I go, I seem to spot one some place — they just kind of jump out at me," Morris laughed. "It's amazing people say to me now, 'I never really noticed hearts until I met you and now I go into a store and there's a heart.' Especially at Valentine’s Day, I have to stay away from everything because I don't have room for everything."
At Christmastime, hearts are still the center of her decorations.
"I have a Christmas tree all decorated with hearts. I leave them on there all year round, otherwise they would all hang up on the wall with the others," she said.
Even while she’s on the road, Morris’ collection still grows.
"I've been to Denmark, and the Scandinavian countries, England, Scotland France Germany and Austria. But I don't look for these pieces, I just find them," she noted.
With over 900 heart items, Morris can't decide which is her favorite, but noted that the gifts from friends and family are the most meaningful.
"My daughter finds something for me every Valentine’s Day. I have certain ones that are favorites. It kind of depends on someone that gave it to me that's special or they’re special because they gave it to me," she added.
After showing off her collection, she pointed to one she is particularly drawn to — a snowman with a heart on it.
"My great-nephew has Down syndrome and he made this for me. This is really special to me," Morris said.
While her collection may be important to her, she tells her friends there's a message behind it all.
"I had no idea there was such a variety of things with hearts, and that's why I think it's so universal. One of the things I always tell the gals is that your real heart is not heart-shaped at all," Morris said.
Contact Brooke Haas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.