"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Jul 22, 2013

Auld Lang and all

Who's got the Blues?
What I’ve discovered during the time I’ve been in ‘Jersey is that adventures aren’t only found on the road.  Sometimes they’re discovered in an attic or basement.  Or even a local museum.

I’ve spent most of my time sorting, cleaning and clearing out Mom’s house, including a few favorite pieces of my own which I’ve managed not to hock over the years.  What’s been surprising it how much fun I’ve had discovering what Mom held on to, most of it from the 60’s and 70’s, now ‘collectible’.  Go figure.
Gold dust scale, c. ??
It’s like being in a time warp.  Imagine what our Revolutionary Forefathers would think of their belongings going for a King’s Ransom nowadays.  Kinda makes you look around and consider what clutter you currently have which MAY become a hot item.  Remember, in the future, water may be worth more than gold. 

So which of my own treasures are going on the auction block?  What can I possibly live without, or fit in a coffin?  That’s often the determining factor.

My Matchbox cars; my roller skates.   The kind you place your foot (and your life) on, and tighten around your toes with a metal key.  Can’t imagine doing more than dusting them, even if I ever have space to display ‘em.  And while I did trepidly-try* standing on them in the hallway, my broken/mended ankle reminded me that even if I feel young enough to hit the sidewalk…

Well, you get the picture.  You know, even a rusty skate key goes for 10 bucks on ebay.  Mine are on my new Etsy store, AnjaSurprises, but if they don’t sell (in their original box), I just might copy another artist’s idea:  turned them into very cool bookends.  And I don’t have to be a metallurgist.

1960s Beautybug hair dryer 
If you’ve got one of these stashed away in an attic, take note:  this crazy Beautybug hair dryer is something (some) girls nowadays pine after.  I just happened to find the Christmas morning photo (left) last night.  Wasn’t it adorable?  Too bad I didn’t find it sooner.  When I discovered that Mom had stashed away the hair dryer for posterity, I remembered that at one point in my teenage years I decided that I needed a more sophisticated hairdryer, so I pulled off the eyes, lips and antennae.  No, I don’t pull the wings off of…

Back then, I didn’t know about WD40 (if it was even invented) so the residual glue was still on the ‘bonnet’.  When I found that another Beautybug went for $99 on ebay, I looked around for felt scraps to at least put some eyes and lips on it.  Figured I’d hit a craft store for antennae parts.  Looks like Stephen King had a go at it.  If it doesn’t sell by the end of the auction in another few days, I’ll give her a makeover.

Naturally, the most valuable items to me are the least valuable on the open market.  Like my wedding dress (the first time-round).  Not because it reminds me of a fabulous marriage, but because of the accompanying memories to the only church wedding I've had.

I’ve always been impulsive; an attribute which never distinguishes between logic and emotion.  I married X-Man One within 4 months of our meeting.  My parents didn’t have a wedding fund; any extra money was earmarked for college.  So, in 1974, Mom gave me a $200 budget for the whole shebang.  Can you imagine?  Sis made my dress (shown) along with her M-of-Honor dress (beautiful job on both).  As you can see, mine was designed with Mother in mind:  high neck, nothing showing.  Looks more like a confirmation dress.  I’m lucky I wasn’t fitted with a chastity belt, but I still love the Dotted Swiss fabric yoke and sleeves.

The balance of the allowance paid for a nice church and minister (a decent crowd in attendance).  A couple of bouquets and a few simple floral arrangements.  The organist didn’t know the tune, but learned Chicago’s Color My World, just for me.  Talk about cheesy.  Our reception consisted of the good-‘ol sandwich meat platter and pasta buffet, with cake, for 20 or so at Sis’s.   We honeymooned (our own expense) on Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore before my husband returned to active duty.  Despite its simplicity, a good time was had by all.

The marriage lasted 7 years; maybe not as long as I’d imagined, but longer than some other splashy affairs I’ve attended.  I often wonder how the parents of couples who split after a brief marriage feel, having spent tens of thousands of dollars for a few hours entertainment.  Put the money into a down payment, or buy the kids a motor home; then they won’t be homeless and have to move back in.

I uncovered a mosaic Tortoise for Mother’s Day, which I had such fun creating in 3rd grade.  Why don’t I do mosaics now?  And then I unwrapped an oversized, construction-paper envelope containing two paper ties for Dad.  Maybe I’ll frame them, or create a cool family collage.  I was wondering which direction I should head after being a gourd artist for so long.  Inspiration comes from the oddest places…

AJ and Leon Trotsky
Mom, who could open a store to rival Barnes and Noble, kept just about every book I ever owned, from Politically Incorrect Little Black Sambo to my college copy of Socialism:  Utopian and Scientific by Frederick Engels.  I’ve written about my radical tendencies in the past; see how a poster in a child’s room can affect a developing mind?  This is the just the kind of stuff the FBI digs for in bewildered relation’s homes.

What are YOU looking at?
After being silent for so long, it’s good to hit the keys for entertainment rather than Google-Greed.  The Monmouth Museum in Lincroft is winding up its summertime “America Hits the Road” exhibit.  It was great, and so timely for me.  Since the museum was filled with collectibles from various parts of the country, I certainly could have contributed a bunch, but so could you.  Old postcards, suitcases, souvenir pennants, even Viewmasters.  Maybe not as big as those scattered around the exhibit, but still… 

Rolling down memory lane is mostly fun, but you know what’s the most frustrating thing for me?   Not being able to strap on these Union skates and hear the Ker-chunk, Ker-chunk of the sidewalk cracks.  You just can’t get the same effect in a roller rink.

* Should be a word.

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