The elderly guy who lived two houses down (for the last 45 years) passed away two weeks ago.
His grown children have been emptying the old homestead for the past week. See that Santa? I saw that Santa on the old guy’s front lawn every December. I’m surprised that the kids don’t treat this Santa like an heirloom — it’s vintage! And your dad loved that damn Santa!!
Just goes to show you. Everybody you know secretly hates your stuff.
Which brings me to the philosophical question of the day: What makes an heirloom for chrissake? What makes the cut when you’re sorting out your treasures?
In my on-going quest to de-clutter my life, and beat my non-existent heirs to the punch, these are some of the heirloom-quality objects did not make the cut:
Let’s start with the Blue Jay:
From my shrine to my favorite bird: a Blue Jay planter that I got ten years ago — it’s a PARMA by AAI Made in Japan, c. 1960 and the cool thing is that it’s life size.
Now, to the horse:
In the late 1980s there used to be a shop off Fifth Ave in New York where Nelson Rockefeller sold reproductions of his prized porcelains. I remember the day I bought this horsey knick-knack. I don’t know why, but paying what was then (and still is) a significant chunk of money (if I remember right, it was $70) to buy this reproduction of a Chinese export horse from the Chien Lung Period (1736 – 1796) made in Portugal by the famous Mottahedeh factory made me feel like an heiress; as if merely by the act of buying this object I had acquired something that gave me class.
It’s always had pride of place on my bookshelf. I want to give it a good home before one of my cats finally knocks it off and I have to see it smashed to bits.
This Peace Corps souvenir:
I paid, maybe, $5.00 for it, in Niger, and since 1982 it’s mostly been stashed away in closets (when it wasn’t packed away in a box in my mother’s basement). It’s never hung on any wall in any place that I’ve ever lived in. I’m not the kind of person who has to display tchochkahs acquired in foreign lands.
Now, this interesting objet:
This is one of the neatest things I’ve ever found in a thrift shop. It’s a hand-made wooden box that I found in the mid-1990s at my local Salvation Army Thrift Shop. It’s about the size of a shoe box, and it has ten little doors on it, each one fastened with a different kind of brass latch, hook, snap, or clasp. I call it The Buckle Box. I have no idea what it was meant to do.
This is the difference between Junk and Clutter.
Junk is stuff that nobodyhas any use for (a broken Walkman, very old ice skates, rusty metal filing cabinets, Hartmann luggage from the ’80s).
Clutter is stuff that has immense, abiding sentimental significance to a person you no longer want to be.
Just thought you’d like to know.
This is what has made the cut:
A set of stainless steel cocktail forks from the ’50s that has Niagara Falls printed on each little bitty plastic handle.
Now, who doesn’t have room in their h ouse, or heart, for these???