I have been itching to write articles about everyday things and I shall: belongings. Several situations culminate in this. I think of that television show; useless to Canadians because our stores don’t play those games: “Extreme Couponing“. (I loathe the pronunciation “Q-pawn”, don’t you? It’s KOO-pon)! It is about saving mega money by buying in cheaply-discounted bulk, staples that you will need later. You see them with forty packages of toilet paper and other sundries to the ceiling but no one thinks of it as “clutter” because we agree it is wise to grab a discount on things we use a lot of. Try calling beloved collections “clutter” around me: you are lucky not to be punched! [GIGGLE]
Not because you aren’t allowed to reduce your passions to a gadget. My objection and actually, injury, is due to painting a negative word with one brush. The decorating theme of our house and accompanying outbuilding is music and books. It is the conversation piece and feature of our home. Not only neighbourhood children come to view our outbuilding library and marvel at about 3000 books queued to read! They bring friends! Yes, I send them skipping home with gifts. I intend to sell duplicates and books I don’t like enough to keep from here, which our country town needs. See Conan & Petal looking out at our library on Christmas day.
I tried explaining my passion to a woman, a Kindle person who hated emptying the houses of two parents. I understand that is daunting. My parents would benefit from a sale. I don’t welcome the chore but they have a wealth of souvenirs. This woman trivialized my life’s collection by saying: “That’s nice if you like piling books around you”. Ouch! Right!? I explained (the last time I will bother) that a whole world goes with physical books, over and above eventually reading one of them. I spent three years seeking Dorothy Gilman’s rare “The Maze In The Heart Of The Castle” and longer, for her autobiography “A New Kind Of Country“! Eventually I found a spare of each. I feel joyous about the results of my quests that I see around me. I remember where I got each of them and feel proud. It isn’t all internet buys. We make driving trips for some deals. Bulk is the only way we can afford many. We read regularly, the decor theme delights us, and: IT AIN’T CLUTTER ON OUR TURF!
I left that friendly lady one last counterpoint. My middle brother and endearing wife have a neat, gorgeous house. Something about their spare, modern Christmas tree gave me pause. It is only white wire with lights, on a wall. Pretty but I instinctively compared it with the stories about the ornaments and garlands on our fluffy tree. One ceramic was made by a boss. A couple of ornaments are from a manager who invited me to her team’s Christmas party at home, even though I was a temp! I never forgot that. Get ready for this ditty: a Corey Hart ornament was made for me in my teens! I befriended that gal only briefly and “his royal Coreyness” is peeling (the baby’s block visible below) but I use it with a smile! I have photographs of our kittens bundled in certain garlands as babies. One has been gone two years after heart failure; the other three siblings are six years-old.
Later, we have eternity to focus on thin air. We SHOULD value our belongings in the physical realm. There is an opposite side to closing out a home. We just experienced it. Two weeks ago, Ron and his sisters sifted their brother’s apartment. He had colon cancer four years and is at rest. He kept to himself and Ron’s sisters are similar; only visiting at their parent’s house for Christmas and Easter, hours out-of-town. I found it sad and I think Ron feels it too, that there was little to strongly remember him by. It is mostly “useful household things”. There is nothing to help us know him better now either. Naturally, a functional abode is easier to clean. I’ll take PERSONALITY and MEMORIES any day, wouldn’t you? A stranger could visit our threshold and know me. I clean and give as gifts what we don’t need. My parents will leave energy on belongings that mean a lot to me and I have a few things of my Grandparents’.
Don’t dismiss the value of tangible items, is my message. Books, music, and movies are not clutter automatically. That offends what are proud collections for many of us: our life’s work of a sort! Cared for very well and appreciated. I have an awesome record collection, alphabetized and stored neatly. I took them out to inventory and enjoy lately. While they air out I love the way McCartney, our 16 year-old Siamese snowshoe seen here and even younger kitties, find it fun to sit among them. It is the thought that some records predate me as much as them. That is another special thing about objects: they outlive us and the next generations can touch us, through the things we love. Units with record-players, cassette-players, CD-players all in one and I hope USB ports too, are growing in number. When I see the right combination, I’d love to have one. A means to play all of the album formats is not going away. I have hundreds of 45s too, safely stored like this.
The spartan idea railed against my judgement in another way, when dear friends sold their first house. A real estate agent said excess things ought to be put away. I agree. They claimed there should be no personal cues; not even pictures. I disagree loudly! They got one bid on their listing. I have no trouble picturing a room’s possibilities with people’s belongings in it and appreciate the ideas. More importantly, I want to know as much as I can about who lived there! They passed their home along to us. There is nothing more personal than that. It is our home’s history! We insited on meeting our predecessors, who showed us how the rural filter system worked and which flowers and trees they planted. I still call certain things “Susan’s lillies”, etc, with recognition of the home they started for us. I hope people treasure what we built too.
If you are a library-borrower, Kindle, or Itunes-user: I hope you understand why owning books and things like tangible music albums matter to collectors like me. Now that I think of it, my records were put away most of my cats’ lives, including McCartney’s, for want of a good turntable. All of a sudden, I can make sweet associations between my records and them, like this picture shows. I hope I gave fresh perspectives about moving house: appreciating the people who lived and loved inside the same walls as you. When people step inside your place, does it represent you? Is there evidence of delight in things you love? :-)