The Detective’s Daughter – I Do

kimspolicehatKim Gray in Baltimore wondering why it’s so dark this early.

I hate to admit it, but I have too many things. This weekend while preparing to finish a big project I’m working on, I decided the desk in my office needed to be moved closer to the window. This led to the relocation of the bookshelf, which of course meant I had to organize a lot of books. Two hours later my husband brought out packing boxes and began the great office makeover.

The drawer full of dried paint and crusty brushes where given the heave-ho, while other supplies were bagged up for donation to a school. “I didn’t know you were running art classes in here,” said my husband after four, yes that’s correct, four bags were put out on the porch.  And I had to admit most teachers didn’t have as many supplies as I did. In my defense, many of these items were from my teaching days. Well, at least a couple were.

Collecting began for me at a young age. One of my earliest memories is of reading the Sunday paper with Pop-Pop. My favorite section was the Society pages. They were filled with announcements of weddings and engagements that included small snapshots of the young women who were brides or who were about to become one. They were all posed in the same manner as an elementary school student on picture day and I wondered if they had all received a black comb as I had, or if maybe brides were given a white one.

FullSizeRender-25In the afternoon I would cut out the photos of who I deemed the prettiest brides and paste them in a scrapbook. This led to Nana buying me my first subscription to Brides Magazine. I was five at the time and on my way to a lifelong obsession. Everything in my world became brides. I even insisted on a bride groom topper for my birthday cake…every year…until I was twelve. I still have a few of these cake toppers. Pop-Pop would walk me to Muhly’s Bakery near the market and help me select a new one each year. I keep the first one Pop-Pop bought for me in my office. Another small one is placed in my Christmas village every year, the others were lost in Dad’s house fire along with my grandparents cake topper that I coveted.

FullSizeRender-26For me, it was all about the dress. I never thought about the marriage part, only the clothes. The first wedding I attended was that of my godmother. I called her my fairy godmother, and she lived up to it that day. No one could have been a more spectacular bride in her pristine white gown and movie star blond hair. She was the image that I held all brides to forever after.

The Christmas after the wedding Nana bought me a Madame Alexander bride doll. She became  infatuated with these dolls which led to an entire new collection of things for me. I would repeat this same mistake years later with my own daughter and American Girl dolls. Now, not only did I have a collection of bride magazines, scrapbooks, cake toppers and dolls, I had a brand new collection of baby dolls. They all currently reside in water-proof boxes in my attic, which is what becomes of most collections.

FullSizeRender-24By the time I was entering middle school, my obsession with all things bridal was waning. I wasn’t to keen on what I was learning about marriage and all that took place after the wedding. I decided I would become a nun. It sounded good to me. I could marry God and wear a long dress and a veil all the time. My aunt saw this as a great opportunity to get me started on a collection of nun dolls and figurines. I was never as dedicated to this idea as I was the brides, however there have been moments after a hard day with my husband and kids that a nun’s life seemed appealing.

This evening I am sorting out my past, brides to the left, nuns to the right. I will keep a few that mean the most to me and pass the others on. Time to make some room for myself.

Readers: What fun things have you collected over the years?

20 Thoughts

  1. How fun, Kim. Glad you outgrew the nun thing. ;^) I have a collection of dolls from all around the world that my grandmother started by bringing me dolls from her travels. I actually still add to it when I go to a country where I’ve never been before, and it sits in the front room in a glass-fronted cabinet. But otherwise I don’t collect anything except books, and I’m pretty picky about even that these days.

    1. I still love dolls. If I had the room, and the money, I would collect more. You would not believe the time I spend in the Barbie aisle at Target! Some other time I will tell you about visiting American Girl in Chicago. I was like a diabetic in a candy store! I had to be gently guided to the front door for air.

  2. Yes, I had a Madame Alexander doll with a wedding outfit. I named her Marian, after Maid Marian on Robin Hood (gee, does that date me?). Never had a nun, but somewhere in the attic there are a couple of French dolls, including a lacemaker in a green velvet dress. Other than that, I collect books and…stuff. Lots of stuff.

    1. My auntie had a collection of beautiful dolls she purchased in Germany when my uncle was stationed there. The dolls were a wedding party that included the bride, groom, bridesmaid and a flower girl. She would let me play with them when I stayed with her. I also had a doll my cousin’s boyfriend brought back with him from Vietnam. I loved that doll, but gave it back to her years later when they married. Of course, they divorced and she kept my doll! Oh, well. It would probably have ended up in my attic anyway. I would like a French doll, though. Did you get your dolls in France?

  3. The first thing I remember collecting was angel figurines. My sister collected horses and I always had to do something different than her. Dolls — sigh, I love them and always wanted a Madame Alexander doll but never had one. I tried to interest my daughter in American Girl dolls but she never wanted one. Things I collect today? I have a weakness for chairs which is a terrible thing to collect — they take up so much room and vintage postcards — much more sensible.

    1. Oh, Sherry! I have a postcard collection, too! In addition to saving every postcard I’ve ever received, I like to collect them from antique stores and sales. I love to read the messages and sometimes use them as writing prompts. And don’t even get me started on American Girl! Okay, I’ll tell you. It’s all my mother-in -law’s fault. She gave my daughter Kirsten for Christmas, which led to us receiving the catalogues in the mail (yet another item I can’t resist – catalogues!). My mom, a woman who is just a teensy bit competitive, decided she also needed to buy my daughter an American Girl, this time Molly. Did I say yet that my Monica doesn’t care for dolls? Not to be outdone, I bid on an AG at Malice that year and won Kit. Which led to going to AG in Chicago. That place is one of the most enchanting stores I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit! After purchasing a “pet” for each doll, Christmas outfits, a horse and carriage and several other accessories, (by the way, shipping is free!), we went to lunch. There we were seated with another doll that Monica decided she had to have. She never played with it again, but I enjoy dressing them up for the holidays. I also have given a couple away. You see now that I do have a serious problem!

      1. Last year a friend had her daughter’s American Girl doll sent to my house at Christmas. I get all the catalogs — so tempting. But so far I’ve resisted!

  4. My mother, father, and I all collect our own thing. For me it’s my precious moments figurines that I keep in my curio cabinet. I love them. My mother was the same with Norman Rockwell while my father sticks to collecting anything that has to do with the fire department.

  5. I’ve collected lots of stuff over the years, but my house is on the smaller side and I’ve gradually gotten rid of most. My weakness (other than books of course, but I’ve gotten rather ruthless about only keeping what I know I will read again–I even put (gasp) autographed books on the free shelf at the library) is china and vintage crystal or cut glass dishes. I have several sets of dishes, and I try to use all of them at least once a year. The sparkly glass dishes I use fairly often, filling them with candy, olives, applesauce, whatever, even on weeknights and not just on special occasions. Sparkly stuff brings me a little spot of joy every time I see it, so why save it “for good?”

    1. Jane, I agree! I don’t collect dishes but, have inherited a few sets that I try to keep in use. I do have a fairly large collection of McCormicks teapots and tins which were given to me by my grandmother. I have bought a few to add to the collection and try not to go overboard. It’s hard!

  6. Dolls have always terrified me. When I was young, my older brother and his friend watched a horror movie about a doll. Of course, I sneaked in and watched it too, and was traumatized for my efforts. I think that was the last time I tried to be sneaky. I have one worry doll from Guatemala and I keep her busy.
    I collect tablecloths and linens, and dishes and other housewares. On the clothing front, I have 50 scarves. And we won’t talk about shoes, because that’s not a collection, that’s a necessity.

  7. Oh, boy, any time you want to go to the American Girl store, call me! My girls loved them and both grandmas did too, so you can imagine the boxes of AG stuff I now cannot bring myself to part with. The girls have flown the nest, but Josephina, Felicity, Molly, Kirsten, Addy, and Samantha won’t budge. I bought the AG doll house rooms even though my kids didn’t want them. They’re mine, all mine!
    And I won’t even mention my Barbies and my kitschy tourist stuff. I deaccessioned my McCoy pottery, but Barbie abides.

  8. I have a very nice collection of I Love Lucy Barbie dolls. The details on them is really great! But they are packed up in waterproof tubs. We moved and had to downsize so much that there is no place to put them. Occasionally I take them out. I do also have some American Girl dolls. Also packed away. Oh, well…

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