Most, but not all, of my grandmother's napkins would've fit into this bra. That's why she needed her closets for the overflow.

Toward the end of her life, my grandmother hoarded paper goods. Her closets and brassiere were filled with napkins and paper bags. If an oil tanker spilled in front of her house, she could have sopped up every last drop of that “black gold” with her private napkin supply.  She lived through WWII in France and knew what it was like to have nothing, so she made darned sure she had lots of “somethings.”

I’m a Baby Boomer. The only war I ever knew as a kid was the Cold War, which I thought had something to do with a drippy nose. I grew up in a world where things were made to break and “disposal” was good. My family wasn’t wealthy, but I never went without much. “Stuff” was just collected dust that had to be cleaned, so I became a minimalist (except for food). This trait became especially handy when my mom and the 3 of us girls moved into a single-wide trailer. We didn’t have room to accumulate much but resentment towards each other for taking up too much space.

Our trailer was longer, but you can see why we rarely had large parties...

I never considered myself a “collector.”  But I have to admit I have a preponderance of certain things around me. Maybe (gulp), I even hoard them. You be the judge.

  1. I used to collect those miniature booze bottles. I had quite a nice collection going until one Sunday afternoon before NYS law allowed alcohol sales on the Sabbath. I ran out of booze. Have you ever had a Nuclear Rainbow? Well, that afternoon, I had at least 5 of them, all different flavors…

    When asked what happened to my display, I said it fell off the wall and every bottle broke.

  2. My 3 bedroom condo really has just 2 bedrooms and 1 quilting room. While this room is half the size of my former quilting space and I got rid of a lot of my fabric to make it all fit, I’m addicted to cotton batiks.

  3. I’ve save buttons. Blame my grandmother. She gave me tins of old buttons she’d been saving. I just continued the tradition. When I sewed my own clothes, it all made perfect sense. I don’t use buttons anymore, but I didn’t put them in my yard sale. I just never know when I’ll need that special button. Finding it in the black hole of my button collection is another story.

    They just keep multiplying like 4th graders taking a standardized test. They're so pretty...

  4. I’m a word nerd. I collect unusual words by subscribing to a daily email service that delivers them to my computer. I keep only the words that are so outlandish, I’ll never use, but they sound funny. I have 741 and counting. Here are just a few: pogonip (not a jumping/drinking game), demotic (not a Satan-worshiper’s twitch), tittle (not a 3rd nipple), and truckle (not oil company executives’ laughter at the news that the Ford F150 continues to be the best-selling truck in America).

    The secret to my heart is out. I can't resist a tall, dark, handsome syntactician.

  5. Finally, I collect memories. I weave memories into stories using all the words I’ve collected over the years. You can get a sampling of those stories in the “Memoir” category on this blog (25 in less than 3 months).

Good Lord, I’m a hoarder, aren’t I? My grandmother is probably pulling a napkin from her bra in Heaven and a wiping her tears of pride. Me? Not so much…