Posted tagged ‘collecting’

“You spend the first part of your life collecting things … and the second half getting rid of them.

February 21, 2017

Today is lovely, sunny but cool at 42˚. The breeze is ever so slight. It’s morning nap time for the dog and cat. Maddie is 18 now. Gracie is 12. Lately, Gracie has had trouble maneuvering the stairs. Her back legs slide when she is coming downstairs so I am always in front of her just in case. When she was young, Gracie jumped the six-foot fence in the backyard, but now she and I share the infirmities of growing old and the dangerousness of steps.

I could never play a dead body. Yesterday I watched a few CSI New York episodes. In just about every one of those, one scene is in the morgue. The actor is lying on the slab while trace evidence is removed or explained. I’d be giggling.

I’m a slug. I have laundry to do, but the bag sits by the door. I have no ambition. When I was working, I was always busy on the weekends. I actually got more done in two days than I now finish in a week. Time is the reason. I always figure I have lots of time to do stuff so I procrastinate and stuff doesn’t get done. I used to feel guilty about that. I am now guilt free. The nuns would be horrified.

I collect cookbooks with literature inspired recipes. One whole shelf in my kitchen bookcase is filled with them. My first was a Shakespearean cookbook. When I did a medieval meal a long way back, I used many of the recipes from that book. Little House on the Prairie, Hemingway, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, The Boxcar Children, Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott are just a few of my cookbooks. I love sitting and reading the recipes and planning a menu in my head. I think about colors and melding herbs. I mix and match vegetables. Mostly I have one grand meat dish but sometimes I need two. The table decorations are part of the planning. One meal, inspired by Dickens, had laminated pages of old books for place mats. In the middle of the table were different piles of books. They held the hot dishes. For music, I played an album of authors singing. It was just horrible. I don’t even remember how I found it, I don’t remember its name and I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe it was burned at the stake by my guests.

When I was a kid, I collected stamps and belonged to a stamp club. We met after school and some Saturdays at John Hickey’s house. I filled an album then lost interest in stamps. Besides, it was actually John Hickey more than stamps which held my interest. Strangely enough, my aunt and uncle now live in what was John Hickey’s house. I have no idea where he is. We went to different high schools.

I haven’t collected anything in a while. I’d hard pressed to find room, but if something strikes my fancy, a new collection might just be born.

“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”

January 19, 2011

Winter was kind to us yesterday. Off cape got snow; we got rain, tremendous rain, and it was warm enough last night that it didn’t freeze. Because of that storm, a goodly amount of the snow is gone.

Today is damp and ugly. Nothing is moving on the trees. The sky is a light gray. A little bit of sun would be welcomed.

In Hyannis was a green stamp redemption center. My mother would let us lick her green stamps and place them in the book as if it were a privilege. We’d even fight over turns. She kept the books in a kitchen drawer. I remember the pages and the squares where the stamps, all with S&H on the front, were supposed to go. My mother once got a table lamp with her green stamps. She put it in the living room. For some reason, it’s the only redemption I remember.

My mother bought every book of our encyclopedia from the supermarket, one issue each week. I remember the books had red covers and took up most of the space in the living room bookcase. When I was bored, I’d pick one and then open it at a random page and read what I’d found. You could buy a yearly supplement to keep it current, but we never did. My mother also bought a set of Melmac dishes at the supermarket. They were virtually indestructible which, I figure, was the allure. She also bought the special dishes like the gravy boat and the vegetable dish with a divider down the middle. A few plates lasted for decades, and I think there might have been one in the cabinet when my mother passed away. Its pattern was gone, wheat stalks I think, and there were scratches and nicks, but it had survived four kids and endless hand washings for well over forty years. I don’t know what happened to that plate. I can’t think it was bought at the house sale. Its worth was  sentimental and, in a way, historical. Supermarkets don’t give away anything anymore.

“I was one of Them: the Strange Ones. The Funny People. The Odd Tribes of autograph collectors and photographers.”

September 24, 2010

Today is overcast, cool and breezy. A dampness in the air hints at rain. When I went on the deck to watch Gracie, I had to wear my sweatshirt, but I didn’t mind. The sunny, lovely days of the rest of the week were wonderful, but I like today almost as much. I enjoy the contrast. It’s a day to stay close to hearth and home, wear my cozies, stretch out on the couch and read. It’s a nap day.

I have a genetic disposition for collecting inherited from my mother’s side. If she were reading this, she’d be complaining because we all say everything came from her side, but everything did. Some stuff none of us like, but collecting is a favorite. My sister Sheila has a huge Star Trek collection highlighted by a life size cardboard Kirk. He stands in her bedroom. Once I saw him out of the corner of my eye as I walked into her bedroom and thought someone was standing there. It spooked me a bit. My sister Moe has corn husk dolls and nativity sets. These are the collections of theirs I remember best, as I am always on the lookout for stocking stuffers to add to their collections.

My hat collection hangs off the floor to ceiling bookcase in this room. One hat came back with me from Ecuador, another from Morocco. My sister sent me a hat from Ghana she had found in my mother’s house, and two others, made of straw and made in my town, hang on the wall. My other sister gave me her Easter hat from when she was small. It has a long blue ribbon and reminds me of the hats the girls wore in Little House on the Prairie. Most of the other hats are ones I found along the way. Collecting hats just somehow happened. I started with the Ghanaian hats, and before I knew it, I had a collection.

Like my sister, I collect nativity sets. Most of mine come from other countries. They are unique and mirror the cultures where they were made. I have three different ones from Africa. One of the African sets prompted me to made a clay Ghanaian compound with two huts. I made straw roofs for the huts and added pots, gourds and other household tools. I even made a broom, the kind used outside the house to sweep dirt. A beehive oven sits near the compound wall. My house has a mortar and pestle for fufu making and buckets to use when fetching water. A baobab tree stands next to the wall of the compound. That set has become my favorite.

I have B&W pictures of people I don’t know, brides and grooms, old toys including a View-Master with a bunch of discs, many sets of places where I’ve been, even the Ghanaian one.

My house has run out of room for any more collections so I have vowed to start no new ones, but I didn’t pinky swear on purpose.

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