Hats and Thrift Stores

For the Fourth of July, we drove to the bay and took in the annual picnic fundraiser at the Governor (1903-1907) Pardee Home Museum where they garnish the event with live music and open the house for guided tours.  Folks dress in suggestions of period costume, overt combinations of RedWhite’n’Blue, or not. Straw hats abound…

We traveled with a couple new to the proceedings; indeed the wife is new to the United States so I stowed two summer hats for ladies in our weather gear bag, just in case.  It turned out that the extra (a hastily acquired replacement for one previously mislaid) matched the lady’s outfit perfectly.  Her husband crowed in delight as she tried it on; my closet was immediately decluttered of one hat, she looked lovely and would be well-protected from the afternoon sun.

During the drive we learned that the couple had spent the previous day shopping local thrift stores for home decor and essentials to adjust her new home to her own housekeeping style.  Lots of dust and dross and a few treasures.

For me, the high point of our annual excursion is the Home Tour.  The George Pardee family was full of collectors who “kept everything.” For now, the curators have it all gathered on side tables, in closets, on shelves, in glass-fronted cabinets.

My inner kid loves to stare at a cluster of carved miniatures, say, from all corners of the world: to admire the colors, imagine the craft of the toymakers, then fantasize a story for each item in turn.

Of course I want to examine every title in the library and every scrap of needlework in the place.  At the tour’s end, I determined to gobble my lunch and rejoin a later party.

I turned to my new friend to ask how she’d enjoyed the house tour.

“Just like the thrift stores,” she sniffed, and trotted off to ask permission to pluck lemons from a tree in the garden.

To everything there is a purpose…

Wintertime decluttering slows down.
In spring and summer, when the light is longer and my work load abates, there is time and inclination to chip away at emptying the inherited clutter in my storage areas .
During the shorter days, and when the teaching year is in session, I stop the heavy work.
But decluttering as a way of life has a way of taking hold.
There’s a habit of being aware of all our things: the clothes in our drawers and closets, the implements in our cabinets, the very food in our freezer and books on our shelves, all the stuff stashed in corners…  There’s a habit of thinking of each and every thing as wanting a purpose.  There’s a leaning toward the learned joy of matching the right purpose with the right tool.
I tore a tendon in my ankle.
I was sent to physical therapy to stimulate its healing and to strengthen the muscles that need to support it.
After awhile the therapist dumped a collection of marbles and dice and little rubber jacks onto the floor and I was given the job of picking them up with my toes and putting them back into their box.
The therapist’s collection was housed in a battered old recycled tissue box that during my month of therapy received at least one layer of revivifying tape.
As my course of therapy drew to a close I wanted a way to show my gratitude.
And then I remembered.
Back in my closet in a sack full of Stuff That Should Be Useful Someday, was a lovely, sturdy, cardboard box, (perfectly sized to hold that collection), covered in damask.  I’d received a gift from China in that box years earlier.  And that oh-it’ll-be-so-good-for-something-someday emptied box had accompanied me through four house moves.
And now it houses my therapist’s toe-strengthening marbles.

(The picture is of my mother’s old marble collection housed in a completely different box.)