Collections Bring Back Memories

It is after Christmas and I am putting my kitchen back together. I have lots of stuff! Some would call it clutter, I call it My Collection. With the new ideas of minimization, young people see little value in the old. My older friends are talking of getting rid of their extras for it is too much bother and work they claim. I am not there yet.

At Christmas I put up my angels and display them and then after the holiday I return my various pitchers, jars, spice boxes and kitchen utensils back up in the nooks and crannies of my kitchen. I fill the sink with mild soapy water and lovingly clean each piece to remove the grease and grime of cooking in the kitchen. As I look at each washable piece my mind reflects on what I have learned about collecting in the many years I have picked up all of my special goodies. One obvious, very apparent lesson learned is that condition is everything. Cracks, chips, and discolorations devalue any piece.

I know that but as I look at the chip I find on the edge of the Wedgwood pitcher with the decorative handle I remember where I got it and wonder why I took home a chipped piece. It was one of my “first ones” and a "great buy" for a quarter.

I look at the orange Bauer pitcher with the chip on the spout and think about how excited I was to find this modern looking piece with a wood handle and an aqua cover. I smile as I think of my husband and teenage sons who found it ugly and often played a hiding game with me because they did not think it should have the place of honor I had chosen. I, on the other hand, had searched and read up on Bauer pottery and was delighted with my find. I was so excited to learn the cover and pitcher were not a "marriage" of pieces. That was a new term for me back when I found out it was purposely designed that way.

I wash a small cream pitcher that so many years ago arrived for my birthday with a long note about the adventure my folks had when they searched for it. There is a slight bit of staining on the lower base that I look at and wonder why it is there. There is the discoloring on the metal ice cream scoop that comes with age, a bit of rust on the metal Ben-Hur poultry seasoning spice container and my Spice of Life cake decorating bottle has staining on the label from my own kitchen. As I put each piece on the shelves I ponder the where and when of the find. Unlike friends who look at it as something to dust or bother with, I still enjoy My Collection.

I will continue my New Year tradition of cleaning and examining my pieces, but I do know that someday they will sit on a table in my yard and others will look at some of the pieces and shake their head. Those who knew me will shake their head and say, "Why did she keep this pitcher? It has a chip. It's not worth anything." Little do they know the memories each piece holds. Maybe just one person will take a piece home because the memory of their mom having it in her kitchen takes them back to a time they hold dear and the obvious crack or chip will be forgotten. Maybe a granddaughter or grandson will walk off with my Bauer pitcher and say "Dad told me about what he and Grandpa did with it!"

The reality of any collection is that the love of it comes from the hunt and the memories of the find. That is my personal journey and although some see it as clutter, or junk, to me it is the road through my life's adventures. I will and do cherish each and every chip and crack.


Carol Henckel

CarMel Collectibles

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