Strange Treasures

From time to time, I consider the following question. If I had to load my earthly possessions in my small car and evacuate, what would my I count as irreplaceable treasure?

Like most, I have photographs. I have two small trunks full of old mementos. The trunks themselves are heirlooms.  Then, there are my books.  I have a lot I would not pack. But, I have previously shared comments about the ones I would try to save.

I have a large pottery jar and an ostrich egg. There is a glass tray of sea shells.  An old flour barrel has some dolls and toys.

I do have a few pieces of furniture I would like to somehow stuff in there. They wouldn’t fit in my car.  So in my imaginings, I allow him to place them in the truck.  One piece is a credenza.  It is full of glassware collected from both grandmothers, my mother and my own purchases.

Three jewelry boxes should go in the pile. For themselves as well as for the odds and ends in them.

My kitchen cabinets are an entirely separate problem. The collection of dishes, pots, pans, casseroles is two lifetimes of work.  My mother’s and my acquisitions are interwoven behind those birch panels.

I am resisting getting up from my writing to wander the house and see what I am missing in my description.

Just today, I pulled from my shelves a small assortment of vinyl LP albums. These are the melodies I would put on the turntable on sultry summer afternoons.  Exotic, dramatic orchestral performances by Mancini or Mantovani.  What does this collection of music my mother acquired reveal about her?

Many of the tunes familiar from old movies that were broadcast on our little television that got two channels, NBC and CBS, until I was a freshman in high school and mother got an antenna booster than allowed us to get ABC, too.

Those albums would go in there someplace. Though I don’t have a turntable to play them anymore, I would rather not leave them behind.

I have had to let go of so many people and so many ideas and dreams for one reason or another. My treasures, strange though they may seem to onlookers, help me feel a connection with my ancestors.  Perhaps my strange treasures will help my descendants feel a connection with them also.  And with me.

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I love books.  Not simply reading, but books.  I love the physical presence of books.

I have a Nook.  I use it sometimes.  In fact, it will be my companion on my upcoming trip.

But, my books are my treasures.  Not every book on the shelf, but several are among the items I would load up if I had to evacuate.  (Living where we do, that is a consideration.)

On my shelves are non-fiction books from the thirties through the sixties.  I have a title called Orchids On Your Budget by Marjorie Hillis and its predecessor called Live Alone and Like It.  I got the second to go with the first.  I love her writer’s voice as much as the format and content of the books.  They are copy written in the thirties.

I have a 1947 Good Housekeeping’s Housekeeping Book.  I found this book at the university library over 30 years ago.  I couldn’t recall the title, so I faithfully dug through piles of old books at resale shops over the years until I hit pay dirt.  I paid $3.00 for it.  I would have dropped $20.00 for it without batting an eye, so much did I want it.

Sixpence in Her Shoe and How to Be a Successful Mother also hold high status on my shelves.  M. F. K. Fisher’s works are there alongside a book about folklore and customs of pre-WWI England.

I have some modern titles along the lines of keeping house and lifestyle or fashion.  My family also supplies me with books about things of the Pacific Islands.

I have always admired the Hollywood costumer, Edith Head.  I always look for the costumer’s name in the credits and am pleased when it is her.  I had picked up a book at a resale shop a few years ago called The Dress Doctor.  I thought it was simply illustrated by her.  I finally picked it up while tucked in the house out of the cold rain we have had these many recent days.  What a find!  It is written as her in first person talking about fitting and costuming the legendary ladies of what is now considered Old Hollywood.  I am loving it!

Having recently seen Gloria Swanson in Sadie Thompson and Clara Bow in It, I was delighted to read about what they were like.  They are “new” in my experience.  Mae West was another I have only just recently had an opportunity to see in film.  She is another one Ms. Head writes about who is remarkable in what she would do for the effect she wanted.  Strong women with a strong sense of who they were and what they wanted.  If they had fears or reservations, they held them in check and moved forward.

My love for old books has linked up with my love for old movies.  I am particular and odd in my tastes.  But, being “different” is one of my favorite things about me.  Now to get my fears and reservations in check and move forward as well.  My treasures provide inspiration and hope for me.

Less than half of my treasure hoard: