When Betty Boop first appeared onscreen in the 1930s during the Great Depression, the fun-loving, flapper-inspired cartoon girl was a reminder of better days gone by.
For lifelong Williamsport resident, Fred Lowmiller, his collection of Betty Boop items is a way for him to remember his wife.
Lowmiller's wife, Betty, had liked Betty Boop ever since she watched the cartoon show growing up. She was especially fond of the character because the two shared a name, and because Betty was born the same year that Betty Boop was created.
Shown above are a few of the Betty Boop items in Fred Lowmiller’s collection.
Shown, Lowmiller poses with a rock he found and hand-painted Betty Boop’s face onto.
"She always wanted a Betty Boop doll," Lowmiller said.
Sometime in the early 1990s, Betty finally discovered Betty Boop collectibles for sale in a Danbury Mint catalog, so she started collecting them. As years passed, her collection grew to include numerous porcelain dolls, figurines and a wide array of other Boop-themed memorabilia.
In 2004, when Betty passed away, she was buried with one of her Betty Boop dolls. In addition, the funeral home was decorated with some of the items from her collection.
Since then, Lowmiller and his three sons have maintained her collection as it was. They are no longer actively buying items to add to the collection, but say that friends and family will still give them Betty Boop items for birthday or holiday gifts.
Many of the porcelain dolls are displayed in glass showcases in his living room, and include Bettys dressed up in costumes such as a wedding dress, the Statue of Liberty and more.
"We had one that was a nurse, but when dad had cancer we gave her to the visiting nurse as a thank-you," Lowmiller's son, Fred Jr., said.
The collection, which consists of more than 100 items, includes mugs, clocks, figurines and magnets, as well as more unusual items like lottery tickets and stamps. Collectible plates hang on the walls of the kitchen, along with a Betty Boop calendar.
"Every year when we get a calendar, it's got to be a Betty Boop calendar," Fred Jr. said.
One item in the collection is unique - no other Betty Boop collector ever will have it.
"I found a stone by the river," Lowmiller said, "and I decided to paint her picture on it."
The simple, hand-painted rock, mounted on a wooden base, bears an unmistakable painting of Betty Boop's face, including her signature flipped hairdo, puckered red lips and gold earrings.
In addition to his Betty Boop items, other collections claim shelf space in Lowmiller's house, including groups of old lanterns, antique irons and collectible spoons. He happily shows off a model of a 1957 Ford Fairlane his son built him - the same type of car that he owned in his younger years.
Old photos hang on the walls of ancestors during Williamsport's logging era, alongside other framed photos of the Lowmillers' large extended family. Lowmiller's service medals from his time in the Korean War also are on display.
And interspersed between these heirlooms are the Betty Boop collectibles.
All the items in the Lowmiller house aren't just kept out for show or displayed because of their monetary worth. Instead, their value is sentimental.
"Memories," Lowmiller's son, Ray said, looking around the room. "That's what they are."