Monday, December 7, 2015

The Things of Betty

Marnix was happy that Henrietta had a
television she could install in the small parlor
of her own. He did not know he would have to
cordon off a whole wall...
I was thinking about all the 'stuff'' in a Betty Neels book. The hand-crocheted pieces and second-hand clothes at a church bazaar, the antique diamond broaches in the shape of a lover's knot, an amber necklace, the Weesp china which the lady of the house doesn't trust even Jolly or Mrs. Jolly to wash...

I love it all. I have sort of a magpie soul and like to add bits and bobs to my nest. My favorite collectibles are Wade's Whimsies (tiny pocket figures of all sorts of things, animals and people and ships, etc.) and other wee things that I can pick up on my travels and not feel like I'm cluttering the house with.

Henrietta's Own Castle has one of my favorite scenes about one particular item (and lots more described as "trifles" which seems so poignant):

"Did you know that there's a cupboard in the dining-room of my little house, with silver in it and a necklace?"
"Yes, I knew."
"Well--it is a secret?..."
"...They're yours now, of course."
'But are they? Who gave them to Aunt Henrietta in the first place--and I want to kow why she lived in Gijzelmortel for so many years and why my parents always allowed me to believe that she was dead--did she do something awful?"
His voice sounded patient enough, although she didn't think he was. "My uncle gave them to her--no, my dear good girl, do not interrupt. He gave her the house too, to live in for the rest of her life and to leave to anyone she wished. You see, they loved each other; he met her when they were both quite young and was already married and not happily. They didn't have an affair in the usual sense of that word; it wasn't  until she was forty or so that he finally persuaded her to go and live near him...he desperately needed someone to love...he furnished the house for her and bought her trifles, and although they loved each other very deeply they were never more than friends..."

He gave her things to take the place of what he wanted to say. So many feelings.

The Intelligent Collector says that there are a variety of reasons people begin collecting some of which are:
  • Knowledge and learning
  • Relaxation and stress reduction
  • Personal pleasure (including appreciation of beauty, and pride of ownership)
  • Social interaction with fellow collectors and others (i.e. the sharing of pleasure and knowledge)
  • Competitive challenge
  • Recognition by fellow collectors and perhaps even non-collectors
  • Altruism (since many great collections are ultimately donated to museums and learning institutions)
  • The desire to control, possess and bring order to a small (or even a massive) part of the world
  • Nostalgia and/or a connection to history
  • Accumulation and diversification of wealth (which can ultimately provide a measure of security and freedom)

  • So, what do you like to collect? Do they have romantic meaning?


    1. Betty Ross collected first editions of British novels--Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, P.G. Wodehouse, that sort of thing. It started with a bequest from a family friend, but he took it over. He'd attend auctions, study auction catalogs, educate himself on value and condition, etc. But then we met and married and he didn't need to own the books any more. So last fall, we watched online as his best books were auctioned off. As far as I could tell, he didn't have a qualm about letting go of any of it. I assume being married had moved him away from collecting...

    2. I have every CD/Album released by Van Morrison. Even those released in Europe.

      Why? Gloria sung by Them. He had me at Brown Eyed Girl. Captivated by Astral Weeks. Fully enamored with Moondance. And the rest, as they say, was a life-long love a the man's tortured soul.

    3. Books, books, books. OK, you probably guessed that.
      Baking pans, several Wilton cake pans among them, and other baking paraphernalia - I, usually, try and stop myself from buying more, because I have run out of cupboard space. Well, most of the time, I succeed. ;o)
      Dishes - single pieces, or several pieces with the same pattern.

    4. Hi
      Betty Barbara here. (Yes, I am still alive--but it has been a very intense couple of years, medically speaking).
      First off, just need to say I love the teacup header!
      I'm at that point in life that I'm divesting myself of various collections--books(especially atlases), music(why do I have so many versions of the same thing?), craft items, etc, etc.
      There are a few romantic items from Minjeer van der Tarheelin that I will never part with. But I consider the rest of my stuff disposable.

      1. How *wonderful* to hear from you! I hope you are fully recuperated, or at least recuperating with joy and hope.

        I concur, mostly, on the disposability of stuff. My brother-in-law collected my Neelses for me, and while I have a few favorite possessions I don't have a herd of anything. I remember an uncle of about 70 divesting, and recalling that my grandmother, in her final home, had just a room and a small shelf that held three or four books. It was all she needed by then.

    5. First edition Betty Neels, Lucy Walker and Essie Summers and little KLM Delft houses. I have a street of them.

      1. Ooooh, little KML Delft houses - a street of them! Can we get a picture of them, Betty Naomi?