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"Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

"Where Did I Leave My Glasses?"
by Martha Weinman Lear

August 18, 2008

Collecting vs. Accumulating

I have decided that I am an accumulator as opposed to a collector. I know some collectors - my sister Eunice collected small pitchers. It started with a little pitcher that she received from a teacher, I think. It was a rose color with muted stripes on it and it held corn candy at one point. Later on she received a pitcher that had been Grandpaís and from then on she looked for small pitchers that were interesting or pretty or had a connection with a place. Each one had a story. When she traveled she looked for pitchers. It was fun. I brought back pitchers from my travels for her. She was a collector. We tried to write a little explanation or background for each pitcher. She had a lighted display case for them and enjoyed looking at them.

At one time I started collecting Danish Christmas plates and then Motherís Day plates. I used to have them on the walls but then I became afraid that they would be broken during an earthquake so they are tucked away - not displayed and not enjoyed. They arenít very valuable either - too many people collected them. Mmmm has a small collection or accumulation of Indian Head pennies.

I have small collections of things but they have just happened. I have about 20 letter openers and I use them all the time. I think the first ones were from Hawaii, made from Koa wood. It is a beautiful native wood, strong and hard. I like the feel of wooden things. I have a wooden one from the Philippines, decorated with local designs. There is a small enameled one that Marlyn brought me from Japan. Mur brought one from South American made of metal and the design looks like an ancient Incan or Mayan god. There is a horrid one with an animalís foot as the handle, complete with claws. It make me shiver. I think that came from Markís Aunt Edythe who was a missionary in Africa. There are a couple of ivory ones, very old so I am not breaking the law. One has 14 tiny elephants along the edge and a larger one carved at the top. There is a silver one that was Markís motherís. I had my eye on that for a long time and treasure its delicacy and elegance. My mother had carefully labeled a brass letter opener from the Northern Pacific railroad, ďClara Roth, letter opener, 1917Ē. One of my friends in Singapore gave me an Alaskan Fossil Ivory letter opener with a baby seal at the top. They used to live in Alaska, and now live there again. There is a lovely silver opener from Lloydís of London that is now ours. The one I use most is the inexpensive one from Momís desk. I like to think of her using it at her desk in the little bedroom as she did her books and wrote in her diary.

There are letter openers wherever we sit and read or open the mail. I like my letter openers. I like looking at the openers and remembering how I happened to accumulate them, but I have enough now. I donít need to collect any more.

letter openers

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