I wish I remember on which trip to England I came to possess a 5 lb coffee can decoration. It might have been 1976 or possibly 1979. Anyway, one of Jeremy’s relatives — an Aunt perhaps? bought me a can man — I don’t know how else to describe it — at a church sale or something.
It is possible she knew of my love of the Mr. Men books and perhaps this was a homemade version of Mr. Strong? Anyway, I still have it. And I cannot get rid of it. Does it bring me joy? Not exactly joy — more like nostalgia or familiarity. I’ve owned this decoration for 40 years or so. It used to have two “arms” but one fell off years ago which is probably somewhere around here.
Until the basement remodel it sat next to the hamburger pencil holder on a shelf in the basement office. Before that it hung around my classroom — maybe holding rulers? Now it will hang out with me (and the hamburger pencil holder — see it in the background of the photo?) in my office attic. Maybe in our next declutter I will finally part with it.
I received a Facebook comment from Jeremy that clears up the mystery of this object: ” I think it was Auntie Ella, not sure when. They are a spin off from a t.v. quiz show featuring a character called dusty bin. They were probably made by a resident in Auntie Ella’s old folks home.” (Auntie Ella was a midwife, I believe — Jeremy’s grandmother’s sister. His grandmother had been one too. I always think of them when I watch “Call the Midwife”.)
I’ve decided to use him to hold all of the broken items that need to be disposed of in a different way than tossing them in the regular trash.
forced asked me to go through the books that belong on the basement bookshelves. I did and found three book boxes full of books I was willing to donate. I found hundreds I am not ready to part with and I found about 40 that I want to examine more closely before making the ultimate decision toss or keep. (joy or no joy)
One of these is a book by a D. Kuechler called Cooning With Cooners. At first I thought it said Crooning with Crooners and thought it might be about Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and company. But no. It was actually Cooning with Cooners and is about shooting raccoons. I assume that is what it is about because the cover drawing depicts a man with a gun pointing at a raccoon in a tree that a dog has spied and possibly chased up the tree. I have not read any of the book, nor do I plan on reading it.
I wondered how I came to have a book (from 1924) about hunting raccoons, but then saw that it belonged to my Aunt Ginny. I still wonder how I ended up with it and why on Earth she was interested in hunting raccoons, but it will remain a mystery, I guess, unless she wanted to be a Lady Coon Hunter as described in a chapter written by Mrs. R. J. Merrick.
I’ll likely send this to Uncle Jack along with two books I found that belonged to him as a child. He can decide what to do with Cooning with the Cooners.
Except for a misplaced electric wire, our basement remodel is complete. We spent this afternoon putting items back where they belong and deciding what to toss, what to donate and what to keep. It is very hard to me to get rid of things because …what if I will need it in the future even though I have not used it in two decades and it is beginning to rust? (toss) …but that was my mom’s! (keep) …maybe someday I will find a record player that plays 78s! (keep for now).
So, apparently, there is a book that says if you hold an item and it gives you joy keep it, if not get rid of it (or something like that we have a copy of the book but I cannot find it so I have not read it yet). Some of the things I held today definitely did not bring me joy (toss), but some did (keep). One of the items that I held today was a gift from my favorite student ever whose mom is my favorite mother of a student ever. It gives me a lot of joy because of who gave it to me.
It is unique and kitschy and full of memories and I want to keep it but since I really don’t use pencils or pens that much anymore, I really don’t use the pencil holder. It has sat, empty, for years on the shelf in the basement office but once sat on my desk at work and held extra (sharpened) pencils for my students to use. I may end up tossing it, even though it brings me joy, but not quite yet…