Sunday, February 2, 2014

Collector, Hoarder or Packrat?

By Nancy Kenney

I used to own a company which does house cleaning. Much has been written lately about "hoarding' which apparently the medical science now links to manic depression or other unmentionable diseases of the brain. I take umbrage with this. Many of my clients are "collectors" of a variety of things, so is my husband. After almost 24 years I can testify that he is about as sane as anyone I have ever met but I cannot fail to notice that every one of the rooms in our home is crammed with "stuff". I really do not mind because a lot of it is really nice. And I am an unindicted co-conspirator because just last week at a church jumble I saw a basket of lovely glass fruit which I had to have. On top of our refrigerator reside nine vintage mixers, we have waffle irons and toasters from the 30s and Manfried just dragged in a 50 year old commercial bread mixer. "Just in case the one we use now breaks down" was a good and acceptable explanation.
The Honda motorcycle in the garage is a bit more suspect, my old guy is not licensed to drive it, would probably kill himself if he did, but "the price was right". So was the price for the 1995 Range Rover which currently costs us a good portion of our retirement account to sit in the back of a friend's barn in Abercorn awaiting expensive parts made by cousins of Her Royal Majesty the Queen in places called "Castle Bromwich" or "Brown's Lane". Eventually, this will come home to Newport after we deal with the paperwork to "import" this Canadian foreign car...The 1958 folding Velosolex moped may be useful if the gas prices go any higher but first we have to find a fuel pump for it which may need the services of the French secret service.
Did I mention clocks? There are about 30 of them, many of which will make the most ungodly racket at all hours and half hours of the day and the night. I finally confiscated the keys because it was either that or no more shared bedroom. Of course under the TV is the box of about 200 wrist watches, some of them actually work. The 50 or more paintings I do not mind, he painted them and he has a right to look at them. I wish we'd go back to selling them but he cannot be bothered. "They will appreciate over time" is one of the stock answers. Hard to argue this if you wish to stay happily married.
Anyone needs ship models? He makes those in his spare time and we have our own fleet. It is incredible how much dust a three foot long intricate sailing ship can accumulate and there is no way to clean all those lines and masts and braces other than with a coarse paintbrush. HELP!
Books? You want a few hundred? He won't even notice them gone because there is not a single week when he does not adopt another two dozen. He is the only guy I know who will donate six years of hardbound Popular Mechanix from the 60s to the church sale and then buys them back at a premium because he remembered a story about something "in one of them" that he cannot live without.
His other infatuation is hats. We own probably 30 large vintage hats, enough to outfit the next spaghetti western. Along this of course he owns at least a dozen of those ankle lengths great coats. I am lucky there is a space for my winter jacket in the closet.
Me, I am immune to this, well maybe I do overdo the figurines a little bit and there has been the occasional new cat added to the livestock. All the extra vintage china I bought for a household of two? No problem, just in case anyone ever comes to visit we shall be all set. 450 vinyl LP's? I can have a hobby too, can't I?
And those antique dolls are so adorable, just look at them....

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