Packrats: The Next Generation
Somewhere in my basement, there's a tire print and a tiny chunk of upholstery from my mother's 1960s-era Chevrolet (a vintage copper-toned beauty with pointy fins, checkered vinyl seats and a style all her own). I gathered these treasures just before the car was replaced by a sky-blue station-wagon. I tore a piece off the back-seat upholstery and insisted that my mother drive over a piece of paper so I could keep a copy of the car's tire print in my scrapbook forever. These precious souvenirs of the family car were soon joined by other objects I felt compelled to squirrel away: hospital bracelets acquired when I had my two eye surgeries at The Hospital for Sick Children; and travel miscellany accumulated on family trips. A packrat was born.
I have no doubt that there's a
packrat gene and that it's efficiently passed along from generation to
generation, particularly when both parents share a fascination with all things
collectible. I have seen this gene in action at our house, where my husband and
I have been forced to tame our own packrat tendencies in order to make room for
our kids and their collectibles.
Not all of our kids have been hit by the collecting bug to quite the same degree: our oldest and our youngest are the most inclined to stash away anything with sentimental value and to develop fascinations with objects in a motley assortment of categories ranging from collectible vinyl (basically anything by the Smashing Pumpkins) to all things CBC (an autographed Rick Mercer photo, a Red Green t-shirt, the Red Green Monopoly game) to items that can best be described as too cool to toss out (miniature ketchup bottles, souvenir pins from school trips to here-and-there, rocks and other found objects).
Every once in a while, one or more of the kids will decide to pare down part of a collection, but the overall household collectible inventory rarely seems to diminish because they pass along their discarded treasures to one another.
That's why the youngest kid has the biggest collection by far: he's the king of hand-me-down souvenirs.
Are collections competing for space with people at your place? What kinds of things do you and your kids collect? What do you love (and what drives you the most crazy) about collections?