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.

Soap and service in the undertow

If there’s one thing that’s come out of the current American — yea global — political maelstrom it is that every woman jill of us had better get very clear about what she believes and what she holds dear and exactly what she’s prepared to do to hang onto  those beliefs because the times they certainly are fast a-changin’ and whatever we love may be gone, or become unrecognizable, in the twinkling of an eye.

So, it was high time for me to apply some more elbow grease to the building up of some face-to-face relationships in my not-so-new-anymore home community.  No effort, l believe, and no wealth is worth much unless it’s done to build and serve community.  That is the heart of my faith.  I had already found a knitting group and a parttime job; I settled on a church to try out.

Lo and behold, the council announced a February drive to collect all the soap and shampoo samples folks had likely gathered during hotel visits over the years for distribution to folks who could put them to good use Right Now.

And so another shopping bag filled from the pack rat’s hoard walked out of our house yesterday morning.  As always, may it prove to be a blessing.


Daily Prompt: Value

via Daily Prompt: Value

I thought I would try the “Daily Prompt” today.  Mostly because “Value” fit the snippets about which I had been planning to blog anyway….

Although we’re not emptying the house of clutter at anywhere near the rate we had been, every now and then we can log a few more instances of trash-to-treasure (or maybe hidden horde-to-shared treasure.)

We took a boxful of old bubble wrap and a bagful of styrofoam peanuts, that were stuffed into our deep storage who-knows-how-long-ago, back before I married my husband, back when the household practiced a Save Everything It Will Eventually Be Useful philosophy, down to Pac’n’Copy.  Open space and freedom of movement are the valuable commodity for us these days.  But for Pac’n’Copy free packing material is of value.

The sweetest tale of late was my discovery of a small box of keepsakes from my husband’s grandmother, also stuffed into deep storage after she died about thirty years ago.  How tender to hold an ancient baby shoe, a commemorative pin, a gilt heart-shaped necklace…

We have no children ourselves so we dispatched them to my husband’s niece who was delighted to receive mementoes of the family’s legacy.

When we took the box for Pac’n’Copy to mail for us they asked about insurance.  “How can you place a value on a package of irreplaceable keepsakes?” we asked ourselves.  And decided to forego the insurance.