Remember that chotchskie shelf in my office? I still have eight items to tell you about.
Four of them are butterfly art two shiny propped up against the back of the shelf and two flat yellow and black lying on the horizontal surface. The black one is really hard to see and looks more like a splotch against the bottom of the bigger shiny butterfly. The other four items are more interesting, since they all hold memories for me. The painted wooden heart was made by my youngest son when he was in first grade as a Valentine’s Day gift. The flat piece of metal is another key fob, given to me after two years working at the University of Michigan. Next to the fob is a smashed copper penny my husband gave me on our honeymoon. The gold painted wooden shoe was carved by my Swedish grandfather, who when I was five was my favorite person in all the world. I loved him so much that when his visit to our home ended and he was boarding the train to head back to Florida, I was inconsolable. I would not stop crying and wailing until my mother told me that if Grandpa didn’t leave he couldn’t come back. At five I was so puzzled by that piece of information that I shut up instantly, kissed my grandfather and almost didn’t notice when the train left the station. It didn’t occur to me until much later that if he didn’t leave he didn’t have to come back. That’s just one of many memories I have of my grandfather. He was a very special man—told me stories, showed me how to see the small things in the woods, and played his guitar while I sang. He encouraged me to try the new and the different but always in the context of the familiar. Despite some problems we had later in life, I miss him terribly.
Leave a comment and tell me what kinds of stuff you keep to remember your loved ones and the very special times you shared. I’ll have another piece of my office to discuss tomorrow.
The whole idea of social media is to put yourself out there and join the conversation. Problem is that I have difficulty approaching strangers in person. I find it even more difficult when I can’t see them. The thought occurred to me that I’m not the only person who has this problem. So in the interest of not being a stranger (although I may be strange), I’ll tell you about the stuff in my office.
My office is where I work and play. It is my personal space in a home that I share with my spouse and two cats (our sons are grown and no longer live at home). My office is also where I keep my ‘stuff,’ mementos, supplies, files, books, hand-me-downs and other objects that are of interest to me. You can tell a lot about people in general from their personal spaces. I’m very lucky in that I have a personal space with plenty of room and a door that can shut the world out or let it in depending on my preference at the time.
But I’m supposed to be telling you about the stuff not just the office, which presents the difficulty of where to start. I’ve got a lot of stuff (been accumulating for the past 60 + years). I made a random and arbitrary decision to begin with the chotchskie shelf at the top of the bookshelf that stands nearest my easy chair. Here’s a picture of that shelf and the chotchskies it holds.
So what’s all this stuff? Most of this is mementos and things I think are pretty. There are a total of 5 +1pieces of butterfly art. The one is a pair of broken wings that used to be a key fob. I really liked that key fob, so I kept the broken wing pieces to remind me that even the strongest things can break and even the broken things have beauty. You may not be able to see the broken wings very well. They’re lying flat in front of the translucent cube with the unicorn carved in the middle. I’m as fond of unicorns as I am of butterfly art. (I like live butterflies too, but only when they’re alive. Please don’t kill them and put them in a box to look at—I’ll cry.) The unicorn was a gift, I think from my mother-in-law, who is one of the most thoughtful people I know. Behind the unicorn is a dog tag, purchased from the USPS that honors Women In Service. I served in the US Navy for ten years but have lost my dog tags, so I bought these as replacements. Next to the dog tags is a Christmas ornament given to one of my sons when he was a child. We still put their ornaments on our tree (neither of them has started setting up their own trees yet). Occasionally one or two of the ornaments doesn’t make it back in the box after the tree comes down. Those ornaments end up in my office so they don’t get lost. The blue lump in front of the ornament and the gold butterfly is actually an acrylic, star-shaped paper weight. Add stars and cobalt blue to the things I like as much as butterflies and unicorns. The slim line of sliver looking material beside the paper weight is the frame of a small unicorn painting on glass.
Eight items are left, but this blog is IMHO already too long, so I’ll give the rest of the details next time. Meanwhile, I’ll let you guess the what and why of the remaining eight items. Leave a comment and tell me what your guess is, or whatever else you might think about this first glance at the Stuff in My Office.