Kim 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.
In 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.
For 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.
By 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?