Loyette's Shot Glasses

Bridgerland Magazine - March 2004
By David Nelson

RICHMOND—Introductions got skipped, since Michael Loyette's Friday afternoon nap had obviously been interrupted by the knocking on his front-porch's screen door.

"C'mon, c'mon," the 54-year-old bachelor said and waved a welcome while he rubbed his eyes.

He smoothed back his black hair, now showing signs of gray at the temples, and a grin crept onto his face. His sleepy eyes lit up, Loyette was ready for his guests, and gave the proper and all-encompassing, albeit tongue-in-cheek, introduction.

"Hi, my name is Michael. I'm a bowler, collector, and I play the accordion."

Since his antique home in Richmond that holds scant evidence of any bowling or accordion playing, Loyette needs to mention those two hobbies to guests. As for the third interest, no explanation was necessary.

"The whole house is a collection," he said, in what one assumes was his understatement of the year, and started a tour.

Hawaiian shirts hang on a living room wall, rare Jimi Hendrix and Iron Butterfly records are framed under glass, a bookshelf is stocked with Stephen King novels, and bowls of antique trinkets and treasures dug from the garden and basement of the 125-year old house rest on a windowsill.

"Most people make scrapbooks, I have a wall of what's been going on in my life for eight years," said the forklift operator and aspiring artist, admiring a wall of portraits in charcoal, advertising posters, pencil sketches and colorful airbrushed names that cover a dark wood-paneled wall to comprise a studio in one corner.

On another wall in the living room - as well as windowsills throughout the house, a corner near a pool table, shelves above his kitchen sink, and even in his bathroom - is what was going on in his life for the years before that.

They are treasures fraternity brothers dream of owning. Marketing departments at micro-breweries would be envious of this much advertising. And if the Smithsonian Museum ever gets a liquor license, they should probably call Loyette.

"Yea, my house is done in alcohol," the former bartender, and recovering alcoholic, says with a laugh.

In a corner where a gardener might set out perennials, he has a four-foot styrofoam Rainier Beer bottle opener. Where some homeowners might want a fireplace, he has installed an antique wooden bar, kept in a condition more appropriate holding bourbon glasses for gold prospectors than entertaining the Ladies Hat Club, as Loyette annually does with his personal museum. On shelves that hunters might hang moose racks, Loyette has shot glasses. And shot glasses, and more shot glasses.

Over 500 total, in every shape, size and color a lover of libations could imagine, share his home. Hundreds are perched on the shelves above the couch in his living room, organized by row - skinny glasses intended for tequila shots on one shelf, thick glasses with Jim Beam and Jack Daniels logos on another, a row of his favorite cut-glass crystal glasses a row lower, and so on down the line.

A framed diploma from a school of bartending nearby hints at the collections roots. After continually watching customers take five-finger-discount souvenirs from the bar he worked at in Orange County, Calif., Loyette snagged a few for himself. That turned him on to garage and estate sales where bought glasses on the cheap. Vacations turned into an opportunity to broaden the collection, and one-ouncers from Seattle, Chicago, Mexico and "everywhere in between" were added.

"None of it from any other place than someplace cheap," he proudly said.

When he came to the Beehive state in 1979 - despite advice on a glass that reads, "Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you may be in Utah" - he kept on collecting. And when he moved into his Richmond home eight years ago, technology and the space to display his treasures coincided, and buying glasses went from a hobby to an obsession.

"I had an illicit affair with ebay. The next thing you know it was a phenomenal collection."

He says each has been "christened" at least once. However, since his partying days ended eight years ago, the reminders of a wild youth just gather dust, and are associated more with dirty than whiskey.

Loyette has cut himself off from on-line auctions, because knows he only has so much room for more Jose Cuervo glasses on his walls and bookshelves. He turns down gifts from friends and family members who know his reputation, but can't add anything to his collection that isn't already there.

Even though that search has stopped, the lifelong collector, and regular at Deseret Industries, sees a transition rather than a dead end. Although he can't say what could come next, because the journey is always more important than the treasure.

"That's what I really like," said Loyette, "the passion of searching, and finding."


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June 9, 2014 at 5:53 AM  

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