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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

The collector

I am not a packrat per se, but I do love to have stuff. I'm big on stuff. I have a feeling that if money were no object I'd have to live in a palace to contain all my collections, current and desired.

I like to collect things. I've always been a collector. When I was a kid, other kids were collecting baseball cards and barbie dolls. Me, I collected spoons. Weird? Yeah, well it probably is. But we were a family that traveled a lot. By car. All over the country and Canada. I've been everywhere. To commemorate my travels, I got one of the little collector's spoons, which I displayed in a couple of spoon racks. I liked this collection a lot, but it wasn't really interactive or anything. When I was older, like after grad school, I found that my darling mother, better known as "the Evil One" gave my collection to my niece. I wasn't thrilled, but what can you do. She was a kid, she liked the spoons, and now she has them. Except now she's out of college and I don't know what will happen to my spoons.



From spoons, I got into postcard collecting. Only I was very specific. I only collected postcards that were sent to me. And I only collected tacky postcards. No pretty scenery for this girl. I liked Jackalopes and deer driving cars while the hunter was strapped to the hood. The tackier the better. I used to beg people to send me tacky cards from wherever they were going. I have a spectacular collection of the bizarre postcard, if I do sy so myself. I started this collection in college, and by the time I lost interest in it, I had thousands and thousands of postcards crammed into shoe boxes. I still have them. I still look at them occasionally, reading the back of the cards and trying to remember who the people were that sent me all those cards so many years ago. I've forgotten so many of them.


Next was my shell collection. I started that in high school, but after really geared up after college. I traveled quite a bit, and my shells are from many places. The best shell collecting was the caribbean, where the Evil One lived in the winter. I got some fabulous corals, and may shells. Those reside down in my basement in a box, carefully wrapped up. I love them a lot and wish I had a place to display them. Alas, not in my little house. There simply isn't enough space.


In between these major collections, I found myself collecting pins. I started small, with many of the political pins from elections in the 60's through to the 80's, when pins stopped being such a big giveaway item. In addition, I got many of the best punk pins in the 80's. Hundreds of them. I have them all tucked away on a large bulletin board...also in the basement. I've always had them in my kitchen on the wall, but there are no walls in my current kitchen. So they remain downstairs until the Boy finds them and absconds with them.


Now, my last collection brings me to the point of this post. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth is coming to visit? If you've never seen her, even if you think the monarchy is insane, ridiculous, and a waste of money... go and see her if you can. It's a huge thing to actually see the Queen. I've seen her twice, once in London where she waved to me (I have pictures...it's true!) and once in Boston when she came for the bicentennial. Both times were a complete thrill for me.

My grandmother (z"l) was British, my kids dad is British, I'm a ridiculous anglophile, and even when I lived in Britain, I still loved it. My grandmother, when she was a little girl, saw Queen Victoria. It was something she spoke of her entire life. My sister had a Queen Victoria doll that we were not allowed to play with. I can remember sneaking in a touch or two, knowing how valuable it was. From the time I was a teeny girl, I wanted to see the Queen. Elizabeth was coronated right before I was born. She is still Queen, 54 years later. I've gotten to see her twice, I hope I will be able to see her again, this time with my children. It is like carrying on a family tradition.

Anyhow, this brings me to my last, but favorite collection. British royal commeratives. They're hard to get in this country, but my collection was started in the early 80's by my now ex-FIL. He also collected them, and had an amazing collection of hundreds of pieces scattered through his home. I would look at them longingly. I don't even know why I like them, I just do. So I started adding to my collection carefully, one piece at a time. All of a sudden, I had a decent sized collection, and they give me an inordinate amount of pleasure.


I think collecting is a great thing for people to get into. My son collects baseball cards and his collection is growing from the mundane to a very well cataloged collection that is becoming somewhat valuable. He's got some great rookie cards.

My daughter collects Dala Horses, which was started with a Dala Horse I got as a kid. She's got quite a few now, although they are way too expensive to build a big collection right now. But she's got the foundation for a decent collection.

What about you? What do you collect, how did you get started, and what does your collection mean to you?

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7 Comments:

Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

I collect stuff, but my collecting is limited by the space available to house said collections. Everything I collect is vintage. Hats, clothing, perfume decanters, Lefton Holly china, Nippon china, photographs, and kitchen ephemera.

I'm an anglophile too and I think collecting British royal commemoratives is really cool.

30/4/07 5:58 AM  
Blogger barbie2be said...

i collect mermaids. greeting cards, pictures, ceramic you name it. i love them.

30/4/07 12:50 PM  
Blogger dakotablueeyes said...

i collect keychains and coffee cups

30/4/07 2:54 PM  
Blogger kitten said...

I collect bean pots. My favorite I gave away to my youngest sister and it was from the Durgin Park Restaurant *sigh*. I still miss my bean pots, though I've made great headway here in Australia...not many new ones being made but the best ones I find at church and garage sales anyway. The nicest thing about bean pots is that most can actually be used for cooking, which I do often. There's nothing better than homemade baked beans with all kinds of yummy goodies added to it to make it scrumptious when I'm homesick. It's also the best thing to have on July 4th which is winter here with some kind of roasted meat....being in Oz most times it's lamb and I make great bbq lamb ribs, too.

30/4/07 8:53 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Kitten, beanpots are like a dime a dozen here in BEANTOWN. We see them all the time at yard sales. Tell me what you like, and if I see one, I'll pick it up if it's cheap enough. I mean, every freaking yard sale usually has at least one of the brown ones with the tops. As for Durgin Park, I'm sure I'll come across one of those. But I have to admit I think I'm the only Bostonian that has never eaten there! Thick slabs of roast beef just doesn't interest me for some reason. And I like meat.

M

30/4/07 10:26 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Books. Old books, especially children's books and cookbooks. Once upon a time, postcards. For a while, vintage crystal decanters. And vintage clothing.

Am packrat, actually.

1/5/07 9:23 AM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...

Besides dust bunnies, I collect books about the Tudors and Plantagenets. I have a few that are kind of valuable. I used to collect dolls when I was a child and still have a few Madame Alexander dolls tucked away in a box in the attic, but I have no place to display them and I have little children who would trash them, so they stay hidden away.

I have one British mug - I don't know if it's commemorative or not. It's Henry VIII and a few of his wives. It sits (surprise, surprise) on one of the shelves of the bookcase that holds all the Tudor/Plantagenet books.

I've eaten at Durgin Park - we took out of town relatives there. It was very meh.

3/5/07 5:00 PM  

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