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Holly Lake Effect

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Value is isn't what value was...
Is there anything that wraps one in a cloak of warm sentimentality more than something that is no longer in vogue? My mother had a fox fur scarf with a long nose that snapped open and shut so as to catch the tail and hold the whole awful thing in place on someone's neck. Nobody wore those any more even at that early date when I first found it in the family attic but I loved that moth eaten piece of dilapidated fur. I would have killed anybody who dared to wrench it away from me. Of course I was only nine at the time and not at the height of my mental powers-that came much later if at all.
But I was thinking how we hold onto things. Old buttons. Lace collars. Books about Nancy Drew. Some of us cherish soft drink bottles and wine labels. We hide them away in dark closets or under beds hoping the cleaning lady won't find them. We barely admit that we know anything about such things but when somebody accidentally opens a drawer that has been stuck shut for years and finds them-neatly arranged in a scrapbook with a leather cover or stacked neatly in a velvet box, the question comes to mind - who is responsible for saving these and why? It is the kind of encounter that somehow makes its way around the neighborhood and obliges one to answer personal questions. The best response in these situations is to very humbly say-"Oh those old things...I don't know a thing about them." And instead of the truth, follow up with an outright falsehood-"I was just about to throw them away".
I once collected old buttons and had a whole card of them framed which today still hangs on a bathroom wall in my house. I would most certainly have thrown them away or taken them to Helping Hand until somebody said-"Old buttons are valuable...on E-Bay you could get a sizeable amount for them". I never asked for a definition of the word sizeable but decided it couldn't be more than a quarter apiece at which point I'd have an empty frame (value: $2.95) and maybe a handful of change. I hear people talk about having hoarded family treasures for years, putting them on E-Bay and making small fortunes. This will not happen to me until somebody goes on cable TV to tell the world that Toby jugs or cowboy coffee pots or old leather horse halters are coming back in style. Then I will reap my reward and I'll do it quickly before the bottom drops out of the jug ,coffee pot and halter market.
When people look over my art collection-I use the word "art" advisedly-they usually ask me what relative of mine painted that and wasn't I lucky to have such talented relations. Now this is not a compliment to my astuteness as a collector or a reference to my late Aunt Martha's talent as a china painter. It is simply a way to make a comment which on the surface appears to be a compliment but isn't. Having received a lot of these along life's highway I know for sure what they really are. Every so often I have to fill in a bit of silence with a chunk of information such as-"Deedee, my ex-sister-in-law, the famous Subway painter, whose work hangs in the Metropolitan, you know of her of course-painted this particular picture." Usually I murmur under my breath "so there!"- happy with the feeling that I have finally triumphed.
I love old photographs even though I never know who any of them are. Several I looked at recently are of two men with long noses and I wondered if either of them could have been my father. He had a long nose but the rest of the photo was so out of focus and poorly exposed that I could not recognize other features. Still as long as there is a shadow of doubt as to who the subjects of the photo are I can most certainly not throw it away. One of them might even turn out to be Franklin Delano Roosevelt standing beside a 1940's Buick.
It's not that I am sentimental. I think I have spoken out on that subject before and stick firmly to my unsentimental guns. But value-good old monetary value-cash or upgrades-tempts me. I would trade a 1950's tennis racket with genuine catgut strings for $1.95 any day of the week. That's how you get rich folks...by never underestimating the possible value of an "oldie"-that is anything made before 1999.