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Pieces of You - Collections
Saturday, Mar. 15, 2003, 9:30 p.m.

Question: What's not to collect?

What I Learned: A place for everything & everything in it's place.

Pieces of You Topic - What, if anything, do you collect? Why do you collect these things?.... What do these collections say about who you are or why do you identify with them?

I like collections of things. There is something exciting about things that are similar and yet different. If I like something – like fairies, or books, or figures of saints – then, you can be pretty sure that there are going to be little pools of such items stashed around my house. My home may well really be best described as a composite of small collections. Here – on the built-in shelves behind the front door are a couple rows of those porcelain houses with the little light bulbs in them. The closest I may get to the peaceful quality of a quaint village life. On the walls in the dining room and kitchen are hung a number of plates, brought home every year from the beach. Leave it to me to find the china outlet stores when everyone else is next door at the clothing shops. On the living room sideboard is a glass cactus I bought in Phoenix a couple weeks ago. I know it is just an airport gift shop purchase but I like it and I am longing to get a larger one with the glass going a different direction that I saw in the hotel gift shop during my stay. The question is do I really want to start a glass cactus collection?

In my office, stuck between the books, stand the individual members of my saint and angel statue collection. Here - a St. Bridget (an old Irish Saint). There - a St. Anne patiently dealing with her child, Mary, who probably was pretty easy on the maternal nerves. To the right – a diligent St. Joseph working away on the carpentry stuff. And of course, the requisite St. Mary – the star of the group; a vision in blue and white. I may be a sinner but I am always in need of some inspiration to aspire to higher things. You can spot quite a few angels at my house too. They are perched, haloed, and sword-wielding depending upon the angel and as such can fit into the mood of any room. An angel here and there is a good thing.

On a different note, my hula/beach theme collection is in full swing now. This tropical fixation may have to do with a deep desire for a little peace and quiet - an island of calm in the ocean of daily life. Beyond that, do you know that there is a Betty Boop and a Homer Hula? How can I resist?

I have found that in general angels, saints, and hula girls can co-exist in peace. It’s all in the placement.

I once had a friend who collected owls. She liked owls and thought – what could be the harm in that. Pretty soon, anytime someone wanted to get her a gift – be it birthday, holiday, and yes, even anniversary – she could be sure of one thing and that was that it would be an owl. Even an owl lover has a point of saturation. I have heard similar stories from angel collectors and even a sad tale from someone who enjoyed things having to do with flamingos.

My multiple collection strategy avoids this common collection pitfall. It’s worked so far but I am worried that I may be getting close to the overload point with the angels. People love angels. You love angels. Angel overload ahead. It’s making me think the cactus thing might not be a bad idea.

Sometimes collection can be displays of hopes and dreams. Sometimes they can be a whisper of a happy memory sitting quietly on a shelf. Sometimes they can be like a friendly word and other times they can be like a piece of poetry. Mostly they tell you a little bit about who someone is that they may never get around to telling you. What's it tell you about me? I'm not an angel, I'm not a saint, and I'm not a hula dancer but maybe I want to be - at least a little bit. I don't think that's a bad thing but I'd better hit the gym before I go shopping for my grass skirt.

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