When I look around my house and see the enormous amount of stuff I have managed to collect and inflict on my family, I sometimes feel...well..a little guilty. I wonder if they would all somehow live a life of minimal objects with a different mother and wife. I think my husband would clearly live is less clutter. He is very neat and organized by nature. Not anymore. I corrupted him. He sort of "caught" whatever it is that has always ailed me, and he now subscribes to the same sort of busy look in decor that he has come to know and love. In a way, my kids have, as well, though I doubt that they will ever be as far advanced with this malady as I am.
With those thoughts in mind, you can imagine how utterly relieved I was to read an article in today's NY Times about renowned urologist and Columbia professor Dr. John Lattimer, who passed away at the age of 92, and left behind a life's collection of oddities that certainly puts my mundane assortments of objects to shame.
I think I would have found Dr. Lattimer to be a kindred spirit. The article points to the fact that he was an only child of two only children. So was I. It mentions that somehow his collecting was an effort to hold on the the past. I agree. And it is more. Somehow owning a piece or two of the past, helps to grasp the present. I would even go so far as to say that it increases understanding of the future.
My husband and I have often joked about what our poor kids will have to deal with when they need to figure out what to do with over 100 cookie jars, even more pieces of carnival chalkware, tons of cowboy stuff, and a gazillion vintage tablecloths, not to mention everything else in this house.
But this we can guarantee them: they will not have to deal with anything even remotely similar to the type of relics being sort by Lattimer's daughter Evan, as she catalogs his vast collection for sorting for auction, discarding, and keeping.
How do I know this? Read the article. What gives me the right to sound so damned cocky, pun intended? This fact: I do not have in my posession, for example, anything even close to being Napolean's penis.....