My husband’s nickname should be Hector, as in: rhymes with collector. He claims to be getting better, but old habits die hard. One of the things he loves to hold onto are his books. I’ve secretly recycled many of them over the years, with the rationalization that I am helping to increase literacy for others. Among the books he owns: an antique collection of books left to him by his grandfather. ” How lovely!” you say? Well, not exactly. While I would love to report that they are on display in our recently redone library (not), they are packed in several boxes in the dusty eaves of his mother’s house in Vermont. My prediction is that he will dig them out someday a few decades from now, leaf through them, and either re-box them or try to sneak them onto the shelves.
He also has a collection of letters from his grandparents. Some of it does look interesting, and it includes an assortment of correspondence between the two of them. Then again, I would argue based on the size of the box that there are several years of their utility bills and credit card statements as well. When I questioned him about the purpose of saving them all, he told me he plans to read them all when he retires. I’ll be sure to send him home letters to add to his collection while I’m traveling the globe with my girlfriends!
Lest you think that all he collects are family trinkets. Let’s talk tee shirts next. I’d be willing to guess he has a shirt or two from the infamous “Girls love our shafts” Deerfield episode in 1986 spanning all the way to the Topsfield 5-mile road race he ran last year, and dozens in between. Logically, when tee shirts wear out, I have two thoughts: trash or Salvation Army. Hector stockpiles his tee shirts in the basement so as to be prepared for every bi-annual painting project or for the 2-3 times a year he washed the car in the driveway. Slowly, I pare down the pile, a few here and a few there when Hector has stepped out, so as not to disrupt the peace.
Change is another item that Hector claims will turn to gold someday. He’s right…it certainly could. However, when you’re a serial collector I think the “someday” is overshadowed by the actual stockpiling. “My dad used his spare change towards my mother’s wedding ring,” he once said. Very cute indeed. There is change all over the place in Hector’s closet…in a myriad assortment of glass jars, in yogurt containers, and busting out of his piggy bank. We’ve been together for 13 years, and I suspect that when my minivan falls apart in a few years, Hector will have enough change set aside to buy me a new Suburban. It remains to be seen if he will actually pull the trigger, or keep saving for our retirement home.
There are other collections: a coat collection (he owns enough coats to outfit a square block of people in NYC), a hat collection (he owns at least twelve…). a sneaker collection (probably three pairs here and three in Vermont…you know, for yard work), need I go on?
Let’s be clear: the older I get, the more I love to purge. It makes me feel so free and energetic. I’m not one to lose sleep over getting rid of something that I may need once or twice before I turn 96. I am certainly on the opposite end of the spectrum, confirming the indisputable truth that opposites, in this case, attract.
My story ends here, with the news that I have officially started my own collection! My mother gave me a set of lovely Christmas china from Spode for my 40th birthday . Aside from my wedding china, I think it’s officially my first collection of anything. Ever. Unless you count my postcard collection from my childhood, which I do still have. It’s in a faded orange shoe box from the first pair of Nikes I ever bought, back when the brand was so new that many of us called it Nike as in: rhymes with Mike. She presented it to me on Saturday, and Hector actually rolled his eyes. The audacity! He’s lucky I love him so much, a zillion collections and all!