Sunday, September 19, 2010

On What We Collect

Not to be confused with pack-ratting...but have you ever noticed what people collect?  Like vintage fountain pens, maple-tree sap spiles, golf balls, thimbles, spoons, teacup sets, porcelain plates, Lladró figurines, long-play records, etc.

In my past life, our house was full of collectibles.  Two of us lived in enough space for an army (compared to where I live very cozily now) and had almost every nook and cranny filled with something.  For instance, my ex-partner loved
Boyd's resins and, once started, couldn't stop collecting them.  Most of them were 1st editions (a whole substratum of collecting) and filled glass cabinets and shelves on all 3 levels of our house.  She also collected baseball caps everywhere we went around the world, hanging them at the ceiling all around our basement.  Together we collected the 50 State Quarter spoons issued over 10 years.  And on and on it went....for a rainy day, for my grandson, for whatever.

My daughter once exclaimed, if ever you have to move, please do NOT ask me to help you!  HA!  So I didn't.  It was exactly a year ago when I was almost totally finished with packing or selling all our collections as we broke house and I prepared for my move to The Netherlands.  I never expected that day to come and therefore never took seriously the implications of all we were collecting.  However, in the end, it all had its place...and good fortune....

Since I was the retired one, I was the one who packed things up for my Ex...close to 1,000 Boyds that had to be repacked into their original boxes (the "more value!" substratum), baseball caps carefully cupped into each other for transport, etc.  When I started the entire project, I perished the thought.  But in the actual process of doing it, I saw satisfying progress every day.

It was another story for me because most of what was mine I was not going to take with me.  Simple.  Not enough room.  But this is where the good fortune comes in:  eBay and Amazon became my best friends, helping me get rid of everything, often at a good price.  I had a personal collection of
uncanceled sheets of every USA stamp since the 1940s...hundreds of them in albums.  One by one I scanned and listed them on eBay and one by one they sold, sometimes at $25/sheet.  Old books, DVDs, Quarter spoons, spiles, concert T-shirts, you name the tune of over $15K by the time all was said and done.

My treasure became someone else's treasure.  And no, it did not bother me one whit.  If anything, it seemed planned before the foundation of the world for such a day, since I needed the money for my move.

Now, do I still collect today, you ask?  You can bet your bottom dollar, yes.  BUT I've learned my lesson:  KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).  Or maybe that's keep it SMALL.  I brought all my pinched/
elongated pennies with me and all my official coin medals from around the world.  Simple and small.  Easily transported from here to there.

Which brings me to the above weathervane in Wageningen, Netherlands (in case you were wondering!).  What I collect now is here on my laptop or external hard drive where I have categories:  windmills, water towers, clock towers, weathervanes, spires.  I can't NOT collect them.  They've become part of what I look for and find soulful...each with its own name or character.  Each without a pricetag, free for the taking.  And small.

And you?  What do you collect?  Surely you knew I'd ask! 

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