Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Museum

Look but don’t touch.  No, that’s not a toy, put that back.  Where it goes.  Is that where you found it?  Then put it back exactly where you found it.  I’m not going to tell you again, put it back.  You have 3 seconds to put it back, 1, 2.......

If you are familiar with these phrases, you’re either a parent of a young child, or you grew up in a house like mine.  I grew up in a museum.  A house full of beautiful, wonderful decorative knicknacks and tchotchkes.  Seasonally changed to create a festive colorful array on the mantle, every table, and pretty much any surface where decorative items can be placed, including the back of the toilet.

I was blessed with two very creative parents.  They both have a great eye for color, and love to have nice things that are exciting to the eye.  To the EYE, not to the touch.  DO NOT touch those things, they are decorations. How many times do I need to tell you? Yes, you are allowed to smell the candles and the potpourri, don’t you dare touch the David Winter cottages, or the Nicodemus figurines.

This used to drive me batty as a child, as I am a very tactile person.  I love to touch my belongings.  The soft feel of my pillow case, the cold hard tempered steel of my Craftsman wrenches, the smoothness of my leather jacket, even the stretchy feel of my comfort waistband.  I frequently take things apart to see how they work.  I am fascinated by the thought processes that went into creating anything, including little decorative figurines.  Which means, I was in trouble a lot when I was a kid.

I picked up and put down every single Waterford crystal candlestick in that house.  I would move a couple of decorative items around, just to torment my poor Mother, and see how long before she would notice.  I would reorganize my Father’s tool bench to MY liking.  Like I said, I was in trouble a lot.

Our museum was spotless.  Not a spec of dust or grime anywhere.  Weekly cleaning of the entire household. Vacuuming our shag carpet, polishing the monstrous antique china cabinet in the formal dining room, and disinfecting the bathrooms, including the depression era glassware on the vanity.  I hated cleaning that house, it seemed like such a pointless exercise, as it was already so clean you could eat off the basement floor.  Don’t get me started on lawncare.  Please see title of this blog.

As an adult, I have found how much I like having a clean place to live in.  It isn’t always clean, because I don’t feel the urge to spend my weekends swiffering the window blinds.  I do have an appreciation for decorative things, and over time, I learned quite a bit about the passionate artists who create them.  In a way, I’ve found that our museum taught me about art, organization, respect for other people’s property, and a very clear understanding of what clean actually is.  I also admire my parents for teaching me to appreciate what you have, and take care of those things.  I also learned it’s immensely  entertaining to play practical jokes on someone.  As long as their not bigger than you, or can run faster than you, it’s perfectly okay.

I also know my thread count. But I still don't like to dust.

.end transmission.


  1. Oh, I totally hear you. And now that I'm a grown-up, I tend to look at all knick-knacks as just dust-trappers...and I really hate to dust. What's the point? In a week, it'll just be dusty again.

    Great post! You've brought back a lot of childhood nightmares (I mean, memories) for me!

  2. I got so distracted by the stretchy comfort waistband I have to go all the way back to the beginning and start over. But seriously... my dad was legendary for carrying a level in his pocket and using it to make sure the pictures were straight.

    Great post, lots of great memories!

  3. kathryn, I AM the nightmare. :-) Linda, I will NOT reveal the size of that waistband. I'm just vain like that.