Memories and Collections

purseDo you have any collections? Do you think about them very often? Do anything with them? Or are they just something that you periodically stumble across and then remember.

Two of my collections — art and perfume bottles — are displayed prominently in my home. I see them every day. And when I see them, I’m reminded of where I got the pieces and the fun I had finding them. Sometimes when I look at one of the paintings that I bought at a particular art fair, I’m reminded of the friend I was with that day, the weather that we encountered, and even the meal we ate as a break from the fair. My other two collections — handkerchiefs and antique purses — are generally stuffed away in a closet, only pulled out for particular occasions. But oh, the memories they can bring when I pull them out.

A few days ago as I was getting ready for work I remembered that I had a meeting that day that required me to bring some papers and my laptop into the office. Instead of my usual purse, I grabbed a larger bag — sort of a soft briefcase. Once I loaded my laptop into the bag, I headed to a closet and found a small, white beaded purse (the one at the bottom of the photo here). It’s just large enough to contain a few essentials and doesn’t add any bulk or weight to my business bag.

But more important than being the perfect size, the purse reminds me of my mother. One day when I was about eight years old my mother and I took a short walk to what she called the “junk shop” at the end of the street. It carried all kinds of second-hand goods. On that particular day my mother bought the little white beaded purse. She told me it was from the 1920s and would make her feel like a flapper when she used it.

My mother and father used to go out for dinner and dancing once in awhile. From that point on, she would take that little white purse with her. It was just big enough to carry her compact, a tube of lipstick, and a few dollars (because a woman should always have a few dollars with her). When my mother died it was one of her things that I kept. For the first few years I could still smell the residual powder from her compact when I opened it up. There was something very comforting about that lingering smell, that essence, of my mother. The smell has long since dissipated, but I’m still reminded of her each time I use it. It’s a silly little thing, but somehow pulling that purse out of my case at a meeting or conference makes me feel better, no matter what work-related things are happening.

Over the last few years I’ve picked up a couple other decorative, antique purses that I interchange with my mother’s purse. The one at the top of the photo (a bit bigger than my mother’s) was given to me by a good friend. We actually went antiquing together over a few days. I loved that purse, but had already reached my limit on spending so passed on it. A few weeks later it arrived in the mail. Whenever I use it, I remember my friend and the lovely time we had in antique stores. And I also remember that it was my mother who got me started on this collection.

Do you have any collections? What got you started collecting?

–LinnieGayl

6 thoughts on “Memories and Collections

  1. AAR Sandy

    What a lovely memory to have of your mother!

    I collect Christmas ornaments, most specifically shoes. I bought some Victorian shoe ornaments in London over 10 years ago and that was the first. I started buying shoe ornaments whenever and wherever I happened to see them. It’s hard to say how many I have now, but I’d say over 100. I have Victorian shoes, shoes from the 30s — really every style. This past year I found a red pair of Converse high tops which fits in just fine!

  2. LinnieGaylAAR

    Thanks, Sandy. I love the idea of a shoe ornament collection! And a very nice memory to know you started it on a trip to London.

  3. wendy

    I collect several different things. Whiting Davis jewelry, which is costume jewelry dating from about the same era as your vintage purses, LG. And I used to have about 500 Santa Clauses, but I recently culled the collection to the most unusual or vintage and now only have about 250. I hope to leave my daughter with cherished memories of collecting the jewelry and with my son from pulling the santa out and decorating for Christmas every year. The books and painted leather handbags and vintage mixing bowls and cast iron cookware will need a good home someday, too.

  4. LinnieGaylAAR

    I had to look up Whiting Davis jewelry, Wendy, but it’s gorgeous! And it’s definitely something I’d like. Very interesting about your Santa Clauses, and nice memories you’ve made for your son and daughter.

    Vintage mixing bowls are something I’ve recently become interested in. So far not enough to buy any, but I keep eying them in antique stores.

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