My grandmother’s birthday was coming up and my mother decided we, my siblings and I, should send her a present. At the store I came across a ceramic bust of a small boy, I liked it and thought it would be the perfect gift. My mother tried to talk me out of it but I was stubborn and insisted that this was the gift I wanted to send.
A few days later my grandmother called to thank us and tell my mother she was so pleased with the bust that she went to her local store and bought the matching girl figure. It turns out that they were modeled after a set of famous carvings of the Brongniart children by the French artist Jean-Antoine Houdon. My grandmother, who had come to America from England, was well acquainted with the sculptures and reminded her of her homeland, copies were very popular in Great Britain. The busts even earned a place of honor on her TV, which was a large piece of furniture in those days and not something you hung on the wall.
When my grandmother passed away the busts came back to me and I keep them as a reminder of how I had picked out the perfect gift without realizing it. I don’t know if someone will want them when I’m gone but if anyone says something nice about them I’ll put their names on them.
There were things that my father did that I didn’t understand nor did I ask him about. For instance, he would cook his steaks until they were tough as leather, he couldn’t stand the idea of bloody meat. I think it may have had something to do with his time in Korea, but he never talked about the war.
Anyhow one of his habits was carrying four dollar coins with him. He would spend them in times of emergency but then as soon as he could he would replace them. I’m sure there was some reason for it but I never knew what it was.
When he passed away he didn’t have a lot of small keepsake items, he wasn’t very sentimental, but he did have the dollar coins. My mother gave one to my siblings and me. I don’t know what they did with theirs but I put mine away for safe keeping. I tell people that it’s my inheritance. I’ll probably make sure one of my nieces or nephew gets it with the promise that they keep it.
If you don’t know I am a fan of Disney. I like the movies and the theme parks, although I’m not too happy about their new pricing scheme but that’s a different blog. An opportunity came my way that I couldn’t pass up.
For the 50th anniversary of Disneyland they decided to clean up and revamp the park. They repaired old rides and added a few news ones, and they cleaned out their storage areas. They took all their leftover stuff from the parks, movies and TV shows and sold them on Ebay. The highest priced item was the entrance sign to the old parking lot, they took it down when they built California Adventures. John Stamos of Full House fame bought it.
Anyhow I went on Ebay and bid on several items but the price got too high so I didn’t win. Then they offered pewter Loving Cup trophies that were in the shape of Mickey’s head, the handles were where his ears would be. The cups had been made for a display at the park but had never been used. They had two types, polished and patinaed. I bid on one of the polished ones but the price shot up so then I bid on the patina one but got outbid at the last minute, which ended while I was at work.
So, one of the patinaed cups came up for auction and the bidding ended at 2 AM, at the time I was working the graveyard shift so I could be up that early. I waited until the last minute and then put in my bid, and I WON! However, a few days later I got an email from Disney, it seems that they accidentally listed one cup more than they had, crappers. Instead of the patina cup they wanted to know if they could send me one of the polished ones instead, are you kidding me? The polished ones were going for 5 times what the patinaed ones were selling for, heck yes I wanted it.
A few weeks later my Loving Cup showed up along with a certificate of authenticity. The thing is heavy, weighing around four pounds and there is a screw hole in the bottom so it could be attached to whatever display it had been planned for. I figure it was going to be part of some sports themed shop but I don’t know for sure. Anyhow I now own a small piece of Disneyland and there are probably fewer than a dozen of these cups in existence. I’m pretty sure this isn’t something that will end up in the sale on the front lawn, I’ll have to be sure to give it to someone to avoid any fights.
Have you ever had a “perfect day” where everything just seemed to go right? The kind of day that when things weren’t going well you wish you could live over? I have a day like that.
One day my parents decided to take us on a family outing to see the volcano. The volcano is Capulin which geologists declared as the most perfectly formed cone in the United States. As such the government decided to make sure it was preserved by turning it into a National Monument.
We went to the volcano and drove to the top. We hiked around the rim where you can see Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and of course New Mexico. Do you want to know what they look like? All the exact same. We hiked down into the center of the cone and then headed to the picnic spot where we ate lunch.
Afterwards we then drove to a spot called Folsum Falls, it’s a small trickle of water that drops about 6 feet into a pond. You use to be able to walk there from the road until some idiot tried to dive in, the pond is only about three feet deep, and broke his neck, it’s now closed off and you can only visit with permission from the landowner. We then went home.
And nothing went wrong. The weather was perfect, the car didn’t break down and we didn’t forget anything like bread or a bottle opener. My brother didn’t even try to push me into the pond, which was a rare event in itself. In time my father passed away and my siblings are scattered around the country. We get together maybe once every couple of years but I will always have the memory of that day.
At the visitors center they have a box of volcanic rocks for guests to take, that way they aren’t walking away with the hill. I grabbed one, even though there are millions of volcanic rocks around my stinky little town, and took it home. For some reason I held onto it and I still have it. After I’ve passed away I doubt anyone will keep the rock, after all they won’t have any memory or that day but until then it’s one of my treasures.
I’ve written before about being a kid who dreamed of adventure but was stuck in a small town, so I sought adventure where I could find it. At one time we lived in a house that had an old fashion raised wooden front porch that had the lattice around the bottom. On the side was a small gap so one day I crawled inside. I never thought about spiders or small creatures that could be living in there, it was a place to explore.
Inside, somewhat buried in the dirt I found an old milk bottle, the kind a local dairy would bring around and leave on the porch. How did it get there? How long had it been there? I had no idea but it was cool and became one of my treasures. And then….
My brother was playing with a soccer ball, in the house, which was against the rules. He kicked it extra hard and it flew straight at my milk bottle, which shattered. Sure I was pissed at the time, after all when would I ever find another one, but it was an accident and what was done was done. Life moved on and I pretty much forgot about it.
Decades later it was Christmas morning and we were all gathered at mom’s house, my siblings, their families and me. I opened the present from my brother and there was an antique milk bottle, I guess it was something that had bothered him all that time, even though I had long since forgave him. It was such a special present and I put it in a safe place.
One day, when I am old and know the clock is running, I will give it to my niece, my brother’s daughter. I’ll tell her the story and make her swear that she will keep it and pass it on to her own kids. Either that or donate it to the local museum in my brother’s name.
When I became a somewhat responsible adult I developed my budget. I broke it down into three categories, Needs, Wants and Luxuries. Needs are things like the household budget, food and automotive maintenance. Wants are things I’d like but I don’t really need, going out to eat or the movies, clever little items you put on the shelf to look at and so forth. Luxuries are items that will take longer than one pay period to pay off.
One day I saw a pocket watch I really wanted, it featured Da Vinci’s Vitruvius Man on the cover and came with a really nice base. However, I was saving up to take a trip, which fell into the Luxury category, and I had zeroed out my Wants expenditures. It was a nice watch but I had to pass.
Christmas rolled around, a lot of my stories seem to have to do with the holiday, and I was opening my gifts. I got to the one from my sister and I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was the watch! I hadn’t said anything about wanting it but she just knew. It’s really something when someone gets you and just understands.
When I pass away I’ll give it to my niece, her daughter, in hopes she appreciates it as much as I do.
In an earlier post I mentioned that I’m a bit of an introvert but I still like to go on adventures. I also like art and history. These three things combined resulted in my trip to Rome.
I didn’t just wake up one day and hop on a plane, I planned my trip well in advance, I got a guide book, learned a bit of Italian and booked my trip. Then, the Pope got ill, to the point of being on his death bed. I hate to say it but I hoped he would pass away before I left, I could just imagine trying to get around Rome with a million mourning Catholics in the way. Restaurants would be full, there would be a chance that the hotel “lost” my reservation and gave my room to someone willing to pay way over the going rate, and going to the Vatican? Forget it. So, every day became Pope watch, as soon as I got out of bed I got on the internet to see if he had passed away. After several false reports he finally died, just a week before I was going to leave.
The second problem was when were they going to hold the funeral? The announcement came in, it would be on a Friday, the same Friday that I was getting on a plane to head to Rome. Great, I was going to get caught in the mass exodus. When I got to the airport the ticket agent told me I had bad timing.
The thing was that after a long flight I arrived on Saturday morning and everyone had left, six million people had packed into Rome for the official funeral but as soon as it was over they all left, I could just imagine what a logistics nightmare that was but after 24 hours the whole city had cleared out. I had to wait an hour for my hotel room to be cleaned but otherwise I had the place to myself, most people had cancelled their travel plans. They say it’s an hour wait to get into the Coliseum but there were probably only 15 people in the whole place, and the only people at Trevi Fountain were the suppliers dropping stuff off at the local shops. It was 6 days until people started to return. The only place I missed seeing was The Sistine Chapel which had been sealed off for the Conclave.
The time between the death of a Pope and the election of a new one is know as the Sede. During this time the Pope’s symbols are removed from all official Vatican documents including postage stamps, envelopes and the cancellation stamp. So one morning I stood in line and waited to buy several sheets of stamps and envelopes and then have them cancelled by the post office. I gave a couple away and sold several more, which covered the cost of the initial purchase. I should sell the rest off but I still have them. In the future when I need the money I’ll sell the rest but for now I have them stored in a safe place.
So I’ve actually made it through 24 items and I only have to find seven more. But as I started digging I think I will actually run out of time before I run out of stuff. Who knew I had so many things with stories attached to them.