Through the course of life most people get caught up in some type of collecting. The items one collects can be as varied as the stars in the sky. Collecting is different from hoarding in that the collection is usually displayed, although not always as in the case of rubber band balls or string.
I’ve known people who have collected either stamps, coins, baseball cards, or dolls. Others enjoy books, bookmarks, baskets, movies, and of course music (how the music is kept and played changes with the era, from records, to eight track, then quickly on to tapes, the revolutionary CDs,and now wonder of all wonders, iPods. How far we’ve come!)
Myself, collections have changed and evolved throughout the years, or moments in time. One such short-lived passion was shells and seagulls from a souvenir store located at the peak of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Some of these collections remain with me always. Some the location and surroundings caused me to not realize how horrendous that plastic seagull would look on a coffee table in the North East. Fanciful items are usually desired for a shorter time period. I don’t know what draws our eye and heart to these things that we, for an unknown reason, cannot resist. Could it be a case for reincarnation?
Surely, it cannot always be the beauty of an item. I have had a frog collection for years. Frogs are not known for their classical beauty. Some I did not purchase, but instead they were gifted to me. My frogs come in all shapes and sizes. A particular set of three are made of a ceramic material crafted and painted by a friend’s mother. These are quite large as collectibles go. When Pete‘s mom passed he and Leslie, his wife, came across these frogs while going through mom’s things. These frogs were now orphans. The couple generously thought of me. Now whenever I look at the inherited frogs I think of his mom, who I only met briefly, and my friends, Pete and Leslie.
Price is not a factor regarding my collections. The elephant period went from paper mâché, brass, crystal, and all in between. I even made a glass end table with an Indian elephant for a base. His saddle changes color with the room’s paint job. This is perhaps my oldest elephant. He has been holding up that round piece of glass for thirty-five years.
Not all the things I’ve collected are just things to look at and admire. Some have a purpose. How would you stick all those notes, checks, pictures and bills to the front of the refrigerator without a magnet collection. The magnets are an eclectic mix of states, countries, bars, ferry boats, and much more, purchased at different times by me, and by my loving, traveling friends. I have so many that most are not on the fridge at all, but on a magnet board for all to appreciate.
What got me thinking of my collections, was this weekend’s purchase, at yet another friend’s, garage sale. A perfect and unusual set of three spoon rests. Now I have five spoon rests in my kitchen. All of them are beautiful.
My addiction to spoon rests started when I was eighteen years old. I was visiting the recently married, Louise. I was her maid of honor two months earlier. Louise and her new husband, Joey, invited Jim and I over for their first dinner party in their Jackson Heights apartment. While she was in the kitchen cooking up the chicken soup, I stood chatting with her. It was then and there that I spied my first spoon rest. I didn’t even know what it was called.
Years ago they gave a civil service test for some uniform department in New York City. The civil liberties union filed a protest against the test, and eventually had the results thrown out. They claimed that the test was unfair to poor people. One of the objectionable questions was something like, paper is to pen as cup is to ___________. Well the answer was saucer, but most of the minorities who had taken the test never heard of cup and saucer. They drank out of mugs. A saucer was just another plate.
In the apartment where I’d grown up there were no counter tops in the tiny kitchen, therefore a spoon or ladle was rested on the stove while you cooked. Louise discovered the spoon rest at the five and dime when shopping for kitchen gadgets. Thus my love affair with spoon rests began.
Originally, they were very inexpensive made of tin or plastic in the shape of a spoon. Later I purchased ceramic ones in every design. Many shaped like vegetables, or sea shells, bottles of oil, fat chefs eating spaghetti, celery stalks and eggplants etc. I love them all. A piece of art that makes me smile, and changes periodically. The spoon rests chip and need to be discarded after a period of time. Good thing or my kitchen would be buried in them.
My daughter Kyra was especially hard on my spoon rests. She accidentally chipped or broke about five. She was sincerely sorry each time.
Now she is a married woman with full-grown teenagers in her home. I was telling her on the phone today how I just acquired new spoon rests. She confessed to me how she loves them and for some weird reason she keeps chipping them. I promised I would look around for a special new one for her. She wants one that looks like a bunch of grapes.
It doesn’t fall far from the tree!