Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hobby, Stuff, Cr*p, Possessions or Memories

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I have a good friend who likes to collect jewelry, big, honking piles of diamonds piled on diamonds. We're talking tens of thousands of dollars worth. When seeing her mother's latest purchase, the daughter of said friend said, "well, that's going into the estate sale."  Why does my friend do this?  I think it has to do with her poor background and now that she can afford it, well, it's her hobby, her stuff, her possessions and according to her daughter,  headed for the estate sale.  Not everyone has a parent that can afford piles of diamonds nor a parent that collects Picasso's. But this is what crosses my mind when I see the match book collection, the Gone with the Wind collection, the velvet Elvis collection... who will we leave this stuff to and if we do, will they want it? All that care you took to put together this collection and all your progeny thinks is that it is stuff, cr*p and headed for the garage sale.  Read more...

Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?

I just finished reading Billy Crystal's new auto bio/rant on life book,  Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going and Where the Hell Are My Keys?  It's, at times, poignant, at times very funny but frustrating as well because I consider myself to be conservative and Billy, well, he's Jewish and from New York and LIBERAL.  Hey, he's the first to say he's Jewish.  Oy.  He does a riff on the use of the word? "oy".  He does say that he now comes down on the side of the death penalty. But that's his only conservative leaning.   But I am digressing because this is not a review of his book but of a concept within the book.  He says in the book that by the time you are 65, which he has just recently turned, "all of us have accumulated what Janice (his wife) calls cr*p.  Cr*p we don't know where we got it from, cr*p we know where we got it from but don't remember why.  We're all one Hummel figurine away from being on Hoarders."
 He says that there are things that he has that might seem like mere objects (a.k.a cr*p) to anyone else but to him they have layer upon layer of emotional context.   I can see what he means.  I am in my play "office" and I am surrounded by things that mean something only to collection of monies from around the world that are, mostly,  now valueless, due to the EU, my golf trophies (very few but precious because I won them) and lots of bric a brac  from many of the places I've visited.  I also have some jewelry that I purchased on some of these trips. And I have been known to buy champagne glasses from around the world.   But a collector?  No.  That's not in my DNA.  Which brings me to what Billy Crystal says about stuff he will NOT give away.  His cherished door from his childhood bedroom, his tassel from high school graduation etc.  Why?  Because he say, "keeping things like this also happens to be a way to collect something really valuable and not easily come by these days: smiles."  He also adds that by keeping these "things" when you hit a certain age, these things do something else...they prompt memories.  So, like Billy, I will not give these things away.  "What are we supposed to do, give away our memories?"  My tchotchkes are staying.  Because I remember clearly where I bought the piece of gold jewelry with a friend when we were in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul or the figurine I bought in Kota Kinabalu on my sisters' trip or my first safari hat I wore for my trip to Kenya in 1983.  I am a "hoarder of memories."  And that no one can give away...

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