musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


blue glass poison bottles
Have you ever wondered why people collect things? I know I sometimes wonder about my own collections, especially when I start to run out of places to put them and my small apartment begins to feel even smaller. Every once in a while I consider packing them all away. But that means taking a good hard look at them, touching them, holding them, and then I understand. Collections are more than just "things". They're memories.

I've been collecting blue glass poison bottles for nearly 30 years now. I still remember finding the first one, hidden in the ruins of an old log cabin near Kaladar. What kind of poison was it? Who tucked the little bottle up into the rafters so long ago...and why? I was hooked. Even though most of my later "finds" were at flea markets and antique shows, the mysteries of cobalt glass still intrigue me and there's no denying its beauty.

I've always enjoyed having a special mug for my tea and coffee. Once upon a time, my taste leaned more toward the unique, handmade kinds of pottery vessels found at artist studios and craft shows but my brother-in-law had a different idea of the perfect mug.

show mugsWayne was a talented performer who loved music in all its forms. One of his greatest joys was live theatre. If he wasn't on stage, he'd be in the audience and whenever he could find one, he'd buy a souvenir mug to remind him of the show.

Wayne was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1999 and for the next few months he battled with every ounce of his strength and incredible courage. His last performance was New Year's Eve 2000. It was a wonderful show. Two weeks later, Wayne passed away. His collection of mugs came to me. The memories they hold may be bittersweet but they are very, very special. And I think he'd be pleased to know I've been adding a couple of new show mugs to his collection every year since. "Here's to you, Wayne. Thanks for the music."


At 10:22 pm, Blogger Pammie said...

Hi Ostara,
I've always loved those blue bottles too and had quite the collection, which has disappeared over time. I was once rummaging through an old mine dump out in West Australia and came across a massive stash of old bottles dating from the early 1800's. I couldn't believe my luck but really there were hundreds of them....kind of would have been nicer to find only a few.

Using your brother in law's cups is a great way to remember him, especially since it's something he used every day and were special to him too.

Say, I have some news of Dr Hennie, do you think I should say?!

At 11:02 pm, Blogger Ostara said...

Please do give us an update on Dr. Hennie - bet I'm not the only reader of your saga who wonders!

I'm all agog over your massive bottle stash! What luck. I know what you mean about the overwhelming quantity, though. Something similar happened in Toronto when they built Skydome (Rogers Centre) and uncovered a gigantic dumpsite from the old Town of York and early Toronto. The collectors went crazy and the market was glutted. Much more fun when you have to do a bit of work to find something special. It's too bad your collection has been lost, though.

Glad you enjoyed the mug story, too. Somehow I think he planned it so I'd be sure to think of him every day. ;-)

At 5:06 pm, Blogger burekaboy — said...

i think i end up just collecting dust :)

i always thought it a great thing to have a collection of something but could never decide on what. i could easily see it getting out of control.

i still have a mug from many years ago, ugliness i can't describe, but it holds memories for me. i guess it all depends on the story behind the object.

At 7:39 pm, Blogger Ostara said...

hi burekaboy,

LOL on you collecting dust (but I suspect your too busy for that).

Sometimes collections are like cats. You may not intend to get one but if they choose you... resistence is futile. ;-)


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