I have reasons for having all this stuff
I know I keep telling you, the readers of this paper, that the periodic My Turn section is one of the most difficult assignments for me to complete.
Once again, I will explain that it’s not because I don’t have very avid opinions on a wide variety of subjects or current affairs.
Anyone who knows me will attest that I do, from time to time, espouse quite candid views on some of the changes that have taken place in our country.
I simply have a difficult time believing it is my responsibility to convince other folks that if they would simply do things my way, all their problems would be solved.
With this background in mind I have still decided to tackle a very controversial issue, at least in my house.
This often discussed subject recently came up again as my wife and I were placing all our Christmas decorations back to their storage location up in a loft over my workshop.
She believes that I have too many other boxes stored up there and as a result there isn’t adequate room for her holiday decor.
She actually made a comment that came very close to accusing me of being a hoarder of unneeded junk or at least that’s how it sounded to me.
On reflection, I think what she actually said was, “You have way too much stuff.”
Well, it was game on at that point and I was obligated to point out that the 15 or 16 boxes of decorations we just put away were of no small volume and that didn’t even take into account the other boxes she has for Easter, summer, fall harvest and winter decor.
Then I had to remind her of the very nice collection of teapots handed down from our respective mothers and grandmothers along with sundry other relatives and the fairly impressive number of spoons she has collected during our travels.
Now I understand that those are items specifically designed to bedeck our home with an aura of the season and/or holiday zeal, but how is that any different from the “stuff” she alluded to in her almost accusatory comment?
I mean, I am a traditionalist and a lover of heritage, I feel it is very important to preserve those items that many people might easily misidentify as just “old stuff.”
My dad was one of those people. He grew up during the Great Depression and was surrounded his entire childhood with secondhand clothes, toys and furnishings.
Later in life, he would deem anything that wasn’t bright and shiny new as just old junk and toss it out.
I know his lack of interest in old family heirlooms or antiques didn’t have a negative impact on me or give me a desire to buy every new thing that came down the pike.
In fact, it had just the opposite effect, by the time I was in my 20s I had an overwhelming attraction to family heirlooms and the history they represented.
That quickly morphed into a keen attraction for all historical items that relate a story of times gone by.
It is still relatively difficult to explain to the woman I adore that there is really no difference between her collections and mine.
Yes, I do have a few more collections than she, but that’s because I’m older than her and have had more time to accumulate my treasures.
Also, please keep in mind that my childhood stamp and coin collections, Boy Scout and Little League relics are a reminder of youthful, less stressful times.
Just because I also have collections of antique bottles, matchbooks, belt buckles, knives, Boy Scout patches, baseball caps, glass decanters, flat irons, salt and pepper shakers, 78 records, San Francisco Giants paraphernalia and a complete mountain man “buckskinning” camp from my living history days to name a few; does not mean that each and every one doesn’t have a very special memory attached to them.
Well, as usual with my understanding spouse and in no small part to my persuasive repartee, this discussion has a happy ending and we both have come to a mutual understanding of the personal value that collecting memories of the past has to offer.
Maybe a good détente for the subject would be to rent a warehouse so we don’t have to vie for the same limited space or maybe just get on with living a fruitful life and don’t sweat the small “stuff.”
Wow! Another national crisis averted.