Tag Archives: hobbies

where hobbies, hijinks, and capers go bad = my childhood #6

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(not my actual sale, this one is 70 miles long, but you get the feel of it)

there was that time

when i decided the best way to earn some quick cash

was to have a yard sale.

so i dragged our lemonade stand table out into the front yard

threw a plastic tablecloth over it

made a sign

covered it with stuff to sell

opened for business

let the cash flow begin!

 a couple of friends and their sibs

stopped by on bikes

to check it out

i quickly made 57 cents

things were humming along at a nice pace

the venture was looking promising

i thought i’d do this each weekend

maybe hire an assistant

deciding what i’d do with all the cash

until

my sister came marching out of the house

to see what was going on

 realized that i was selling her stuff

my mom soon followed

and that business closed pretty quickly.

“three dollars and it only transports matter?!”

(at professor frink’s yard sale – homer simpson)

fictional character from the animated tv series created by matt groening, the simpsons

 

 

 

image credit: cbc.ca

 

 

where hobbies, hijinks, and capers go bad = my childhood #3

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when i sent in yet another dollar

for yet another mail-in adventure 

i was very excited and waiting to play

with my 100 international dolls

expecting them to look like the dolls below

all in fancy and exotic dress

and ready for me to proudly display

 when they arrived

they were tiny, pink plastic, flat dolls without any outfits at all

and actually looked like the ones in the comic book ad

not sure why i had such big visions about them

but even then

that was how

i made my way through the world

always hopeful, expecting good things, and full of possibility.

 

“for me, a life without expectation results in a life with inspiration.”

-alanis morissette

where hobbies, hijinks, and capers go bad = my childhood #1

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it began with the arrival of a letter when i was seven years old

with stamp on it that looked different from any i had ever seen

so beautiful and very exotic

and it came from my nana

who lived far away from michigan, in the exotic land of florida.

i thought that it was beautiful

and i decided then and there to become a stamp collector.

i cut that stamp from the envelope and glued it into a notebook.

not long after

i saw an offer to join a monthly stamp collecting club

in my archie comic book

and i noticed, as  i went to send in the offer

 that a parent had to sign it

so i asked my dad to give me his autograph on a piece of scrap paper

cut it out and glued it onto the form

(an early foray into my ill-fated attempts at a criminal career)

added in 99 cents from my piggy bank

and i was off to the races.

i eagerly awaited the day my first stamps would arrive

i had chosen some beauties and i ran home every day

hoping to find them in the mail

and on one glorious day – they were waiting for me!

i tore open the envelope

excitedly looked through them

licked them and placed them in my book

already looking forward to the next month’s arrival.

no one in my family was a collector

so i was taken by surprise when i showed them off to my friend’s older sister

who told me that real collectors only put them in cases

never touch them, and would never, ever lick them

– or they would instantly be made worthless!

i was quite taken aback

as it had never occurred to me that

this would be the reason people collected them

i had thought of them more as a collection of tiny beautiful pictures,

pieces of art, from places far away –

new guinea, finland, new zealand and even the legendary land of  canada

i had chosen flowers, and children, and animals, and pretty designs

with no interest at all in old president’s heads, history, nor with any regard for value.

my version of ‘stamp collecting’ was simply collecting my favorites

and keeping them all in one place, in my special notebook.

i have always loved a mix of patterns and colors and collages of things.

the other thing i had not considered at all

was that i had no income

and would have to continue to pay in order to continue to receive stamps

the next month, when my new set arrived

i gathered more change together, put it in an envelope,

and of course it was never received.

they sent a new batch of stamps along with a due bill and i was panicked

still without any source of income

always waiting for them to show up at the door to tell my parents and to collect.

by the third month,

i simply collected envelopes that came from them

affixed with boring american stamps,

filled with letters, asking me to pay up

and my stamp collecting hobby fell by the wayside.

though i still have a great appreciation for beautiful stamps

and love licking them to put on handwritten letters that i send to places all over the world.

“synonyms for collectable postage stamps: “sticky treasures,”

“collection of paper heads,” “pretty bits of paper,” and “colorful scraps.”

-alan brandley – The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

 

balls out

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     day after day, i see him sitting on his front porch, hours at a time, as i walk downtown and back. always perched between the 2 white lions, and looking over his little kingdom – a perfect, green lawn, mowed just so, with soldier-straight rows of plants and flowers – everything manicured and dead-headed and edged and aligned and watered and fertilized. he wears a polo shirt, 3 buttons done up, always the color of a sherbet, neatly tucked into his crisply-ironed and belted shorts, and on his feet are spotless white socks and shoes. i see his sign, carefully hand-printed – ‘3 golf balls for 1 dollar.’  

     he always nods and smiles as i walk by, a silent sentinel. one day, i walk up to meet him, to buy something, to ask him his story. he slowly approaches me, a bit shy, and tells me i can search the basket to find the ‘best ones’ and then just come back to the porch to tell him how many i have and he will trust me. 

     as i go up to the porch to pay him, i notice his mustache is as perfectly trimmed as his lawn. he’s an older man who carries a quiet and gentle pride about him. there is one leaf on his perfect lawn, showing his humanity.  he smiles with his eyes as he tells me he’s done this for a few years, won’t reveal how he gets the golf balls, or anything else about his interesting business, only that it’s his hobby. he lets me take a picture but doesn’t want me to use his name or his face.

     i can see it’s his simple joy, and more important than any money he makes, it’s his way of keeping in touch with the world.  he values the conversations he has with people who stop by throughout the day. he has lived a full life and now is enjoying sitting quietly between the lions and watching the world unfold before his eyes. 

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It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling. 

Mark Twain