The Memory Project
Off the top of my head, natural (Johnny Ketchum)

The Hazards of Collecting
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[This is part of an experiment in which I cross-post here and to Facebook. Facebook will have the photos and text. Here, just text.]

This weekend, we had a great throwing-off at my house, which always makes me happy. The next day, we went shopping, which is not as insane as it sounds. And if you're going to roam the antique stores of West Virginia, it's good to do it after confronting your stuff. I knew what I needed, I knew what I used. And I knew that they were certain objects that I would never use, although I am drawn to them for some reason. (Egg cups. I love egg cups! And yet I have never eaten a soft-boiled egg in my life.)

I have tried hard not to be a collector of anything that prompts others to give me gifts in that genre. Years ago, my parents purchased a beautiful watermelon print for their beach cottage (now their fulltime residence), then had a neon watermelon made and, boy, did things get out of control quickly. So I will tell you about my secret collection with the understanding that no one should try to contribute to it, because a) I don't need anymore and b) the criteria is pretty hard to understand. Even I don't understand it, and I developed them.

But I like banks. Old ones, preferably small, preferably used in advertising. Unless they are new, tin and reference children's literature. I prefer having lots of small banks stashed in various places rather than the Big Jar of Change That No One Can Move. And, yes, I love to cash in my coins from time to time, dividing the proceeds between charity and, well, myself.

This weekend yielded two very good additions to the bank collection, a plastic Mr. Peanut and a heavy glass robot that once was a container for children's cough syrup. The slot in the screw-off top is too small for quarters, so my hunch is that it dates from an era when quarters were not treated lightly. (Not that I treat them lightly now.)

By the way, I also have a mild thing for Planter's/Mr. Peanut. This weekend's haul also included a huge glass jar that was once used as a counter display for little bags of Planters Peanuts. Yes, that blue Planters jar that Tess Monaghan uses for her bills is modeled on the one that I use, although without the cracked lid. It turns out there are a lot of people like me, enough that there's a price guide for collectors. Perhaps I should stop now. Writing and collecting.

But first I'll ask: What do you collect, and why? Do you use the Internet to track down items, or do you prefer to stumble on them?

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