Sunday, February 13, 2011

collecting thoughts

Beverly and I talked about collections and collecting (among many other topics) at a leisurely Spitfire Grill lunch yesterday. I felt compelled to tell Beverly I'd mentioned her in collection completion compulsion, a blog post from last January.* She was off and running when she heard the word completion. One of the things she likes best about her primary collection -- eyeglasses and related paraphernalia -- is that there's no way to complete it. One of the things she likes least is that there is no association of eyeglass collectors with whom to share her hobby.

The distinction between finite collections, such as the 50 State Quarters, and virtually infinite collections, such as Beverly's eyeglasses and my parrots, reveals more about the personality of the collector than it does about the item being collected. We relish the thrill of the chase and the discovery of finding our special objects in different forms. Beverly proudly showed me a brand new scarf holder (what we called a neckerchief slide in Girl Scouts) in the shape of rhinestone-studded black plastic eyeglass frames. No doubt she will wear it with rhinestone-studded black eyeglass frames and a silk scarf printed with eyeglasses.

Collecting is a habit, though its objects may change over time. Beverly told me she had collected Japanese Kokeshi dolls as a child, and recently enjoyed talking about them with an elderly Japanese woman who had lost her beloved collection when she was interned during World War II. This is the kind of thing I meant by "collecting things, we collect friends," the thought with which I completed my first post on collections, and the line with which I hope to begin my long-awaited poem about collecting and collections..

My compulsion to obtain every faux parrot in the universe has waned, but a couple of months ago I was happy to find a bright red ceramic parrot vase. Being tall but not too slim, it will be wonderful for calla lilies, flowering ginger, or the silver dollar plant I hope to grow this year.

Collections can morph into events. Several years ago my parrot collection spawned a birthday party where I premiered my mock-epic poem, This Thing About Parrots, and I have conducted two Chia Pet festivals in recent years. Last June, Karen declared Cat Jewelry Month and launched it on Facebook. I intended to make August Parrot Jewelry Month but failed to follow through. Maybe this year.

Steve has purchased a 50 State Quarters album for each of our grandchildren, and is filling them with coins pulled out of pocket change. At some point he'll give the albums to the kids, hoping they'll take an interest in completing the collections. Thus a new generation of collectors will probably emerge from antecedents on both sides of our family.

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* Sadly, it turned out that Beverly was not mentioned in my original post about collections. I know I was thinking about her at the time -- as the quintessential collector among my friends -- but somehow the idea of collecting eyeglasses was a bit too complex for a beginning blogger to handle.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License