Among My Souvenirs

“Rocking Horse”


“Rocking Horse” is an oil painting by Grace Hedlund, resident of the Empire State, New York. In June, 2003, Grace suffered a head injury that caused her impairment in the left side of her body, loss of balance and loss of memory. Grace is still able to paint but finds other activities difficult and exhausting. This greeting card was reproduced from an original artwork by Grace Hedlund for THAC Sales Co. which has employed a unique group of handicapped artists who create art to help rehabilitate themselves. They gain self-respect and pride through their work.
Howdy Doody doll
Howdy Doody doll

I am one of those people that I guess you would call a collector. Some prefer to call me a pack rat since I hold on to things I love for a long time. Sound familiar? Most of them were given to me by someone or left behind by someone and others I bought and can’t seem to part with. When I first saw the “Rocking Horse” painting by Grace Hedlund, it reminded me of those special toys from childhood and then I loved to collect dolls like most little girls. My favorite doll might surprise you. My favorite one was a Howdy Doody doll which I got when I was about 7 years old. Back then he was all spiffed up and had a straw cowboy hat and some leather cowboy boots and a nifty checked scarf which matched his shirt tied around his neck. Over the years he’s a little worn out: he’s lost his cowboy boots, hat and scarf and he’s broken his nose. Most of the children who come over now are afraid of him and make me hide him, but I’ll never get rid of him. He’s too precious a memory and still has his spot on my bedroom pillow after all these years.

20150405_143128I’m also in love with anything made of ceramic or glass. An old friend, Mr. Charles Anderson, had a clock collection for years when I rented an apartment from him. There was one special clock, the most beautiful I’d ever seen, I may add, totally of ceramic and hand-painted a lovely violet with little flowers. It still chimes on the hour and sometimes on the half as well. When he passed, I bought it from his estate back in the 70’s and although I’ve transported it to many places, it still remains chip free. It’s a beauty and I’ve had it for so long now, how can I ever part with it?

20150405_142536-1My mom left behind a number of teapots but none is as pretty and beautifully decorated as the deep blue one with detailed gold trim. I have to admit that I’d rather admire it than use it for fear of breaking it, so it sits on a shelf in my cluttered basement collecting dust. I must find a way to fit it into the kitchen one of these days!!!

20150405_142929When I was living in Beijing in the late 90’s, I invited my sister to come over and spend close to a month with me. My brother knew how much living and teaching in China meant to me and for Christmas the following year gifted me with a very touching hand-painted ceramic piece of two Chinese women sitting on a bench sharing stories, much like my sister and I had done. China was a very special trip for us and she was quite the star with her bright red hair! I have a room where I dedicate a bookcase and other built-in ones for my Chinese souvenirs, like the medals we both received for climbing the Great Wall and the statues of the Terracotta Warriors from Xian. On the top shelf, however, sits the ceramic Chinese ladies.

20150405_142902At this point in my life, my house looks more like a museum of sorts and my basement could very well look like a flea market as I have so many things stacked on moveable shelves for lack of having space to display them upstairs. Most of them would be useless to most people and I really am not a hoarder, but my sister used to call it “separation anxiety!” I’ve mentioned my glass collection in another blog which I wrote on Venice but I didn’t talk much about the multi-colored tiny glass perfume bottles with glass tops that I collect. They are all different shapes, sizes and colors and most of them are small. There is one large one in the middle of all of them which I favor and has a beautiful red glass top. I think you’ll agree with me that it is the leader of the pack.

20150405_142430-1If you read my recent blog about Sorrento, I mentioned that inlaid wooden boxes are a dying craft, however, besides the small ones I’ve dispayed in that blog I also have a bigger, beautiful jewelry box which I had bought for my mother a long time ago when I was in Sorrento. That, too, sadly for the moment sits downstairs on a shelf, but I do have big plans for it someday!

20150405_141854-1Grace Hedlund’s painting brings me full circle to my own rocking horse and a very special family treasure. It’s made of brass and is very heavy and is used every day to hold my swinging door open. So you see many of my souvenirs still play active rolls in my life.

How many of you have special collectibles that you’d like to tell me about?I’m anxious to see some of your photos of them!

See you next Tuesday!
Thank you THASC and thank you Grace for some special memories.

THASC is a unique small American business producing cards and other promotional products.

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