When Grandparents Are Collectors–The thinking child

This post was written by Valerie on June 1, 2012
Posted Under: Grandma Quotes

There are even collectors of salt and pepper sets

Not all people collect things but those of us that do sometimes connect. Connecting on a cellular mind level with a deep understanding of the when and the why. I met an unusual man that has sold thousands of items. I saw him in the same store three days in a row. He immediately recognized that my collection included things I wear–unique jewelry. He commented on how great it must feel to be out in the world and getting to show off my collection. That moment was a small but great one. It made me realize how many people collect. Salt and pepper shakers or chickens or Native American anything and the list goes on.


a salt and pepper collection number 2

Collectors are like computer or IT people that interact with machines or things versus others. But the reality is we collect for our own reasons but sharing our collections comes second. But the most important thing is when another being enters our lives and knows. The knowing that what interests us and gets it. On the grand parent level we all know that if we leave a family behind after our death we don’t want to burden them with what to do with all those things we collected or why we collected them. Very few of our children want any of that stuff. Stuff is just more work to get rid of even though we as grandparents or guardians of our history hope that our children or their children will “get” us.

My daughter asked me why I have all this stuff and I told her how empty the house felt when all the children had grown and left and so before grand children came into the picture I filled the emptiness. I did not just fill it with just anything. My grandparents loved Catalina and in fact my grand father was a steel worker and helped build the casino on Catalina. They brought back a Catalina tile parrot table. I love it.

When I turned 19 just before I started to fly for PSA a local San Diego airline I took my very first solo adventure. Solo in the sense that I went with friends to Catalina (with only $18. for the weekend being told we can sleep on the beach). It was an eye opener because we had to find a place to stay with very little money. My friends talked a couple into letting us use their spare room for free.



I got up early around sunrise and walked down the empty streets to the beech. I am not very brave about doing things on my own when I was just 19 but I decided to jump into the cold water and swim to the platform. I will never forget that morning. It was clear and the sun started to rise and the water looked like a jewel all around me. I warmed my chilled body on the wooden platform and laid back and put my arms under my head and looked up at the sky. It was one of the most important moments in my journey to free myself from a child to and adult and to be able to be a child anytime. So my collection of tiles and catalina tables means my grandparents and how much I loved them. The table they brought back was a moment in history when my grandfather helped build the Casino on Catalina. I have over the years gone to Catalina by plane or by boat and my collections of Catalina mean love. Love I had with my grand parents, love for trusting myself, love of life and living it by jumping into that cold sea and swimming all alone on a morning so many years ago. That is just one of my collections. I can only hope that my children understand what Catalina meant to me.

For those of you that collect salt and pepper shakers (like my mother-in-law did) means those times of sitting around the table with family. The love of the kitchen and the warmth of family and happy days. I honor my mother-in-law’s collection because I “got” her. She loved her family and fought hard during the depression to keep her family together and to feed them with food she’d grown in her garden and food she cooked with love.

That is what collections are. They are the journey we took from youth to now that comfort us when we are on the bench alone staring out at the sea. They are the joy that fill us with the memories of the people we met and stories we shared.

I hope my children think about why we filled our places with so many things and “get” us for the love we held onto to share with our future generations. My grandparents spent a lot of time in Mexico fishing, going to the beach, drinking in the bars and dancing and yes collecting Mexican silver. So another collection for me is Mexican pottery/jewelry and it all points back to the most wonderful people that gave me the most love when life was hard and complicated and yet made simple in a way I fully understand now. I “got” my grandparents. I saved their collections and their journey gave me the courage to survive and to survive with dignity and beauty and passion for family.



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