Confession time. I’m sentimental and I’m a collector, but I'm not a hoarder.
The collections I enjoy have no real monetary value. The words “treasured trash” have been used to describe them. Perhaps their only value is in my head and heart.My favorites include various paper ephemera – match book covers (smoking restrictions have made them almost extinct), vintage postcards, postage stamps from throughout the world and vintage advertisements. The dated graphics and muted color printing of years gone by are works of art to my untrained eyes.
We moved last year, and the task of packing and transporting all this stuff was mine alone. Couldn’t get anybody to help me with those boxes and bins!
I carefully wrapped things when we first began the packing process. But as time and patience grew short, I simply placed things in boxes, labeled then and carted them to the garage for transport. As the boxes piled up, I told myself this was a great opportunity to pitch and purge. And I did get rid of lots of household unnecessaries, but not the collections.By the time I got to the old shadow box on an upstairs wall, I no longer cared how things were wrapped for the move. I remember grabbing the still-full shadow box from the wall and stuffing it into a large shopping bag. I placed it on a closet shelf at the new house and there it remained for months.
One day after our household was moved and the furniture unpacked, I spotted the shadow box. Remembering that nothing had been individually wrapped, I attempted to keep it flat as I pulled it from its bag. Amazingly, nothing was broken.
I hadn’t really looked at its contents in a long time. I sat down with it and realized I have yet another collection. Like the other collections, it contains nothing of monetary value, but what it does contain is an assortment of tiny trinkets -- items symbolic of various ages, stages, people and moments of life. Here are a few items from the collection:
· Beaded American flag made by my daughter’s friend after Sept. 11, 2001.
· Bible that was part of a flower arrangement Mom got the day I was born.
· Bassett Hound figurine (I’ve shared my life with three so far.)
· Great-Grandma Smith’s pocket watch.
· Tiny typewriter and dictionary from Journalism School days at MIZZOU.
· Bicentennial doll from 1976.
· High school ring and graduation tassels.
· Matchbox Miata convertible from a friend who died with brain cancer.
· Mugs with the kids’ names on them.
· Cooking tools from a long-ago Barbie set.
· Beer stein from college friends who moved.
· The world’s smallest Santa.
· Great-Grandma Ogilvie’s souvenir pin from the 1896 Nashville, Tenn., Centennial celebration.
· Bottles of 7UP from my days working for The Seven-Up Company.
The items most likely would be tossed out as trash by others, but each and every one represents a tiny piece of my life. The shadow box now has a place of honor on my desk. I look at it sometimes and am thankful for the visible reminders of special people, places and events.