Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Color Collaborative: August: Collection


Once there was a boy who lived in a tough neighborhood in Brooklyn. He had a Beatle haircut and wore Beatle boots, with brass tacks in the soles to make a clicking sound when he walked down the street. He looked a little like Paul McCartney, actually. He spent a lot of time away from home, where there was sometimes trouble. He eventually found trouble on the street too, and was "recruited" into the Boy Scouts, which helped him straighten out. He didn't really want trouble anyway; he was a quiet, thoughtful boy who loved to read and write. He also loved to collect things. He often picked up interesting items he found on the streets, sidewalks and beaches near his home, storing them in a Hellmann's Mayonnaise jar in his bedroom.


He wasn't picky about the things he collected; he liked variety. He kept it up, filling the jar by the time he was a shaggy-haired, hippie-ish college student. By then, he'd moved out of the city to a small town on the Hudson River. He was the first in his family to go to college. Eventually they moved up there too.


He walked along the river, collecting pottery shards and glass beads left behind by people who lived there long before his time, probably the Dutch and English settlers who first arrived in the seventeenth century. He collected contemporary bits too, like campaign and protest buttons and bottle caps.


His collection became quite eclectic. Some things he saved were unidentifiable, even to him, like the green-painted lumps of clay which looked like pieces of a ball split in half. Others were easily recognized, then and now - Spirograph is a toy you can still buy today, Heineken will probably always be available.


He liked gadgets and components, bits and pieces that looked like they went somewhere, even if he wasn't sure where they'd go. He liked political and religious statements too - signs of the times in which he lived. He graduated from high school two months after Martin Luther King was killed, and the same month Robert Kennedy was. His brother came home from Vietnam severely wounded shortly after that. He did not have to go to war, for which he was grateful.


He went to Woodstock. He became a Christian. He finished college, cut his hair, got a job, got married and had children. His eldest daughter was the most like him - in looks as well as personality. He stored his Hellmann's jar in the record cabinet when she was a child. She was always free to peruse this cabinet, loving the albums' cover art as she did. She also loved looking through the jar. The items inside were fascinating - she made up stories in her head about the pottery shards, the buttons and beads, the sundry keys to unknown doors, trunks and suitcases. There was a certain smell too - old and dusty like time itself. For an contemplative child, this was story-writing heaven.


She got a little older and one day he gave her the jar. She tried to protest but he said, "I want you to have it because I know you appreciate it." She kept the jar on a shelf in her bedroom until she moved out. Now she keeps it in the cabinet under her nightstand. It still smells exactly the same inside the jar. She has added a few things herself, and displays a few bits in a printer's tray. She doesn't see her father often but she loves to talk to him. She cherishes the jar and other important gifts he gave her - a curiosity about bygone times, a passion for old things and a flair for the imaginative.

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 Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa 
Sandra at Cherry Heart 
CJ at Above the River

and August's guest poster, Caroline at scraps of us
 
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

38 comments:

  1. Hi Jennifer !
    This is a sweet story... It made me smile..
    There will always be a special bond between fathers and daughters. My father never gave me a jar, like your dad, but we have our own stories :-)....

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  2. What a lovely, creative thought provoking post. A beautiful biography of an interesting (and I guess much loved ) man. Stunning photographs too

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  3. Some really interesting photographs and a beautiful story along side them.

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  4. Wonderful words and photos, Jennifer. Inspiring. :o)

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  5. A lovely story and an interesting collection. xx

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  6. What a wonderful story, so beautifully told. And how lovely to see his collection set out like this. I can see that you really do appreciate his treasures, and as you say, it is fertile ground for the imagination. Such stories must be behind some of these objects. A really great post Jennifer. CJ xx

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  7. Oh Jennifer, what a great post! I especially love how much social history there is in your collections, those pins and badges are particularly fascinating. And full of colour, of course. I like the way you arranged them. Each collection could be a prompt for a creative writing course, it's so full of ideas and possibilities. Wonderful. xx

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  8. Fantastic post Jennifer, you had me really drawn into it.

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  9. Really lovely - something to treasure. Do you have anyone in mind that you might pass the collection to some day?

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  10. I love this! You took me back in time and I could see your Father as a boy. I also love that you cherish these things that tell a little bit about your Dad's childhood.

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  11. Oh silly internet lost my comment! Anyway, what I said was.... Your photos look beautiful together, so harmonious and yet all different and interesting. And, as much as I love your 'from above' shots, I agree there is something more solitary about them, so your choices for the wall display were right I think. Keep posting them on IG though! ;)

    S x

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  12. Oops, sorry Jennifer, having a nightmare. I just posted Gillians comment on your post - what a chump I am! Ignore my comment above then, because what I actually wanted to say to you is how much I enjoyed reading your post and what a lovely tale it is! Happy and yet I almost wanted to cry too. I can totally understand how such little, seemingly insignificant things can have such meaning.

    S x

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  13. Such a wonderful story and photos Jennifer. I love how you've arranged them all. xx

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  14. What a treasure trove of memories, Jennifer! Great story and wonderful pictures to go along with it!

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  15. Lovely story Jennifer...just lovely! I love a good Dad story, I was very close to mine! :)
    V x

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  16. You just get better and better at this! Awesome post!!. And what a fascinating man your father sounds to be.

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  17. What a wonderful story. And such a strong bond. x

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  18. Hello Jennifer,

    This is a wonderfully imaginative post. Beautifully presented, carefully executed and written with great tenderness. The bond between you and your father is tangible in these words and images. It gives a very powerful message.

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  19. I know this story is about your father, I recognise him through you. You're very alike, I can tell.

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  20. Lovely post.
    xx
    Sophia
    http://plaidismyfavouritecolour.blogspot.com/

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  21. Lots if history and memories in a small jar. Great post

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  22. What a touching and inspiring story, and absolutely perfect for the month's prompt.

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  23. I LOVED this story and the photos. You should submit it to a magazine...off the top of my head, I'm thinking Real Simple.

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  24. Lovely story Jennifer! Wonderful collection and I can see it means a lot to you.

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  25. Beautiful post Jennifer, very emotional. It is a wonderful collection. Hugs :)

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  26. What a captivating story and I love all of the ingredients in your Father's jar. An interesting life he had too. He was a collector of pottery shards, just like me - I love that they hold so much history. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer. x

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  27. Your Dad's and your collection is interesting, colorful, and evocative of a sense of importance, Jennifer. As you present the collection in pleasing photos and compelling narrative, I am prompted to contemplate the multi-hued aspects of life, the shades of experience one life can have day to day, year to year, choosing what to discard or treasure...fascinating choices! Thanks for sharing. xx

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  28. This is a beautiful well written post.I have really enjoyed reading it x

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  29. A beautiful story... thank you for sharing.

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  30. This is a lovely story. Your Dad's collection is amazing and should be treasured and cherished. x

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  31. Such a beautiful story which I really enjoyed reading. It really came over how treasured your dad's collection is and indeed how you treasure him.
    Marianne x

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  32. What a beautiful post. I love the story of your dad's collections, my dad was a little bit the same! He has lots of unusual things that he has just collected over the years, and they are now treasures that we just cannot throw away. Great photos as always. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  33. Hey Jennifer,
    Beautiful words. Your Dad's collection is a treasure trove, and what a wondercul gift too. I love that he looked like a Beatle too. What a dude!
    Leanne

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  34. What a lovely story so eloquently told. Your photos are beautiful too. Thanks for sharing ... Bee xx

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  35. What a beautiful post, I really can't say any more it made me too emotional. xxx

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  36. This was just beautiful, Jennifer! It's really special to have such a wonderful relationship with your dad; and to have that amazing keepsake filled with all that history, is truly a lovely gift and family treasure.

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  37. A truly lovely piece of writing, Jennifer - touching and funny and totally engaging.

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Hello friends! I love to read your comments and I appreciate them all. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

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