Of Things and Daughters
I’m a collector. I knew that subconsciously, but a personality test confirmed it a few years ago.
The first thing I remember collecting is bottle caps. I loved the different colors. When I visited my great uncle’s store, he’d empty the bottle cap holder in the drink machine into a little plastic bag for me.
I’ve collected metal buttons, the kind politicians used to give away, since high school. The last ones I bought are from England. I have one with a bust of Jane Austen and one that says, “I heart Mr. Darcy.” I don’t wear these buttons, but I have them.
I have yards of fabric waiting to be cut for a pattern. I have skeins of yarn waiting for a crochet hook to loop them into a shawl or scarf or sweater.
It’s crazy the way I feel about having only two similar items. For instance, if I have two books by the same author, I feel like some small part of the world is perfect. A tiny bit of joy sighs in my heart.
Collecting is fine to a point, but collecting can morph into something oppressive and unwieldy, maybe even ridiculous.
That’s where I am now. Actually, I’ve been here for a long time.
Thank Goodness for my second daughter, Hattie. She is an organizer. She is a cleaner. She determines a course and sticks to it.
For the past week or so, she’s been cleaning/organizing my office/crafts room. “Madre, what is this?” “Does this go in the giveaway pile or the throw away pile?” “Do you really need two of these?”
Don’t think she’s heartless. Plenty of times she’s said, “If you want to keep it, that’s fine. I’ll find a place for it. Just tell me what it is first.”
I have a great office thanks to a creative friend who designed cubbies and shelves and drawers and cabinets to keep all my stuff, but it’s been a miss pretty much since the paint dried.
Here’s the problem: I love remembering the stories attached. I suppose if I throw something away, I throw that memory away because the item in question recalled the memory in the first place.
Here’s my secret: If I’d known years ago what to do with some of these things she’s unearthing, I wouldn’t have stuffed them into the back of a cubby in the first place. So for the past week or so, I’ve forced myself to deal with items that should have been dealt with in 2004 or earlier.
The end is in sight, however, and it’s an organized, efficient office.
Yea for children who are better people than their parents.