No, I not talking about paying up overdue bills, I’m talking about those groups of related items that we like to amass.
Everyone seems to collect something along the way throughout their life. I started out with lighthouses. Whenever we would travel, I would seek out lighthouses in the area and make a point to visit them, if only for a photo. It was like going on safari and tall concrete towers were my game. I’ve dragged my husband down wind-swept beaches and through heavily-forested trails all in the pursuit of the illusive tower. But photos were not enough. I discovered miniature ceramic towers! I would go into gift shops at the lighthouses and find a replica of the tower I just photographed. I discovered these little lights halfway through my photographing expedition. That meant that there were no little towers for my earlier discoveries. Never fear, the Internet is here. I discovered an online source and promptly acquired the missing pieces. I even built a display case for them. I think I ended up with 40 to 50 replica towers, not to mention a couple of larger lighted ones.
Years later we decided to remodel the den and kitchen and I had to clear out all the stuff. As I was taking down the plethora of little lighthouses, I thought about whether I wanted to keep the lighthouse decor in the new space. I didn’t. Those days were gone. I still like to take photographs of lighthouses but I don’t traipse through the woods and go far off the beaten path to find them. So I sold all but one replica tower. I kept the West Quoddy Head tower in Lubec, Maine because it was the first one I photographed and we honeymooned in Maine.
Since I liked to garden, I started to collect watering cans. Some functional, some decorative. These can be large items but they found a spot on my sunporch. While touring the west coast, I found a beautiful blue can with flowers painted on it. It was fairly large and when it was time to fly home, I debated on how to pack it. I had brought a tote bag so put the can in the tote and zipped it up. When that bag went through the x-ray scanner, I heard the operator say, “Is that a watering can?” This was pre-TSA days. I doubt I’d be able to bring it aboard nowadays.
While traveling, I would try to find something to represent the culture of the area. I hit upon what I call my “little men.” Statues of people engaged in activities or dressed in garb indicative of the area. My favorite one came from a small town in Mexico. I will never part with him.
The others were special at the time, but have somehow lost their luster. I’m not sure if they will be around the next time I redecorate.
The problem with collections it that it somehow becomes a quest to acquire more and more items for the collection. And if friends and family know you collect something, they will likely give you one of those trinkets as a gift somewhere along the line. At a certain point, you cease to be the one managing the collection and the collection starts to manage you. It’s hard to part with these treasured objects, but if the item no longer brings you joy, then it’s time to pass it on to someone who can appreciate it.