LOS LUNAS – It’s safe to say Susan Suazo has a spring in her step these days – and hundreds more in her home.
The Los Lunas resident and her stash of 1,054 Slinkys, the coiled spring toy that can flip and flop down a flight of stairs, made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as she holds the largest collection of the kind.
“I am so excited about it,” said Suazo, who received notification of her accomplishment in January. “It was just amazing to me and I just shook.”
Although she won’t be in the actual 2015 publication of the Guinness Book of World Records because it went to print before she was accepted, she has plans to add to her collection before the next publication.
“Since then, I’ve probably added another hundred Slinkys to the collection,” she said.
Suazo works at Sandia Labs as a telecommunications specialist, subcontracted through Jacobs Federal Network Services to Los Alamos National Lab.
It was friends from work who urged Suazo to apply to the Guinness Book of World Records because she had such a huge collection of Slinkys.
She jokes that she should be banned from eBay, which she scours for unique or vintage Slinkys to add to her collection, and now she would like to find someone who could bring her more from China.
In fact, her goal now is to obtain Slinkys available only in China and find someone local who can airbrush designs on the toys with paint that won’t chip off, she said.
“There are so many that are produced in China that I can’t find here,” Suazo said.
At her home, she has a special Slinky room, which looks like a movie set from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” or some other fantasy film.
Hanging from the ceiling are 200 colorful plastic Slinkys falling like rainbows from the sky. Many of them glow in the dark with the help of a black light and movement in the room causes the glowing spirals to bounce in gentle animation.
Around the perimeter of the room are display cases filled with Slinkys in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials. Some are metal, others are plastic.
Suazo has vintage animal Slinkys, ornately painted Slinkys, metallic colored Slinkys and heart-shaped Slinkys. Several of the iconic toys line shelves in a window creating a colorful curtain.
She has also twisted Slinkys into flowers or built them into pyramids, clocks, lamps and a variety of other decorations.
The day she received her notification of acceptance into the Guinness Book of World Records, she was ecstatic, but her uncle, Steve Miller, played coy.
“I got home and my uncle said, ‘You’ve got some mail,'” Suazo recalls. “I said, ‘Well, where is it?’ He brought out this envelope that says ‘Guinness’ and my heart (was) just beating out of my chest.”
For those few minutes, the suspense was intense.
“I opened it and pulled out that certificate; my hands were shaking,” she said. “I dropped the envelope – my hands were just shaking – to see that certificate. I’m standing there, literally staring at the certificate with my mouth open, and my aunt and uncle are taking pictures and within minutes it was on Facebook.
“All of the comments that I was getting eventually were: exciting, cool, congratulations and such,” she said. “And then one of my twins in the Navy – he’s a comic – puts a comment on there, ‘Mom needs an intervention.'”
She laughs and says he’s probably right, but she doesn’t see it happening – she has been collecting them since she was 9 years old.
For her entry form following the Guinness guidelines to provide a notarized count with an authorized witness, she obtained help from Los Lunas Schools librarian Karin Trujillo, who did the actual count, and then was able to get Bosque Farms Police Chief Greg Jones, Bosque Farms Fire Chief Spencer Woods and Bosque Farms Municipal Judge Lar Thomas to witness the count.
Suazo also had to include detailed photographic accounts of her Slinky collection.
“If you had a picture with six blue Slinkys in there, I had to tell them that this one was like a royal blue and this one is like a navy blue and this one is light blue,” Suazo said. “I had to tell them the dimensions – this one is a 3-inch Slinky as opposed to a 2-inch diameter Slinky, or that this one of this size glows in the dark and wouldn’t be confused with one that was that size that just happened to be rainbow colored.”