Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What would Miss Pym and Marcia Say?

I read a blurb in Readers Digest this morning; a woman was worried because her elderly mother was saving cardboard tubes from paper towels. "I hate to throw them away," the mother allegedly said, thereby implying she had a future use. Or, perhaps she was going to recycle. RD thought she should be "a little worried." They were hinting at, horror of horrors, "hoarding," something that did not exist before reality TV became Big Brother and invaded everyone's space along with DIY surveillance devices, phones with cameras, reocrders, you name it. Big Brother and the Mechanical Hound of Farenheit 451 are alive and well.

As I Read, I thought of Marcia in Quartet in Autumn; and of her creator. Would would she and Miss Pym say? Marcia is that well-known collector of plastic bags, carefully stored and folded, certain milk bottles [those that don't conform are discarded], and string. And Pym, who believed in home arts, cooking and crafts, and whose characters loved their bits and pieces and jumble sales? There Bring and Buys? I think she would have approved of saving something for future use, and not wasting.

There is a different between those who have to save their garbage, and can't throw anything away, and those who like to collect, or recylce, or collect to make things. I knew an avid knitter who had a whole room in her very big house devoted to yarn. She also never threw a book away, and ran an excellent paperback trading store. She was a beloved mother, friend,teacher, volunteer for Arc. No one would have called her a hoarder, and there was a run on her yarn and her book inventory when she met a sudden, and untimely death, a little like Marcia's. [Yes, Marcia had cancer, but did you really expect her to die at the end of the novel?]

RD gave a definition of a hoarder as someone who stores chicken bones in the bathtub. Well, it's their tub and they have a place for it. Are the founders of the Smithsonian hoarders? Those who collect to sell on eBay, or for their shops? I do know artists who boil and preserve chicken and other animal bones to make jewelry and to carve as art.

Our local SERV store has dozens of crafts made this way in Africa, Central America, India, and other parts of the world. There are nativity sets made of rolled newsppaer, angels carved from soda cans, dolls made of bent clothes hangers and scraps, figures made from dried orange peels, other dolls dressed in mirror work, where bits of broken rear view mirrors are sewed into the fabric.

We live in a society that tells us what to do all time, and then exposes us. We are admonished to recyle, to look for cash in the attic, to support American Pickers, to buy second hand to save money, and then we are chastised for having no where to put it, or for living within our means. When we try to recylce, we shouldn't do it "too much." My neighbor hoards wood, and garbage. She and her prof. hubby scavenge what they can from anyone, so they dont' have to pay for it. They are celebrated as environmentalists. Go figure.

Well, I will collect my dolls, and be a fan of Marilyn Karp, author of In Flagrante Delicto, and I will read my books, and give them to my studens and take them to my friend Juli for her paperback trade store. I will give to Good Will and the Salvation Army, and I will continue to find shelves and plan my museum.

RD, I love you for many things, but you are off base this time.

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