Cultural Artifacts: My Personal Collections of the Old, Awesome, and Weird

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A scholar from China visiting the University of Houston has been sitting in on my Saturday class. She brought this bookmark to me about three weeks ago. 

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I got this heavy paper weight/book holder around 2005 at a small bookstore going out of business. 

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Found these antique glass marbles in Abilene, Texas, in the attic at my great grandparent’s house around 1997. The picture doesn’t do justice at showing how many there are or how beautiful they are. 

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This one-of-a-kind, limited edition paperweight is one of my newest items from a professor I had at UHCL and now a really good friend/colleague/grandmother. (I’m the adopted grandson!) 

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This really awesome antique three-carat ring is also from Abilene. My great-grandmother gave this to me in 1997.  

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This really neat and heavy-for-its-size elephant was given to me when I was a little kid (kindergarten or something) by a waitress at a small, “mom and pop” restaurant in Wallis while traveling to Austin with my mother.

What are some of the cool objects you have?    

Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives

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9 replies

  1. Very cool. Especially the marbles.

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  2. LOVED THIS BLOG! My whole house is a “museum.” Everything has a “back story,” like your personal “things.” YOU CAN’T PUT A PRICE VALUE on personal “things.” My favorite of yours was the “three carrot” ring. You would love Mr. L’s signed brick from a Trig class or signed Astros cap from some other math class. He also has a troll and an Outstanding Teacher comic statue along with a (real) Teacher of the Year for the high school for AISD (framed certificate) and a rocking chair in the living room which was his retirement gift. We have to attach the plaque to the back/head rest!! I have a black paper mache cat made by a sixth grader and a cardboard, string, and glue pin (I used to wear it on suit jackets–very striking) a seventh grader gave me my first year to teach. The kids had made pins for their Mother’s Day project. His mom was divorcing his dad, and he didn’t like her much that year. I wore it often. His name is penciled in on the back. I have an impressive trophy for the best in faculty “only-in-ever” annual poetry contest at AJHS. I gave all my photo albums from class activities with awards and certificates the classes won to the AJHS library. Those dated back to 1968 when the building was opened until 1978. If they threw them away, I don’t want to know about it. Thanks for the fun visit. It brightened my evening. I’m pretty tired, but it’s about to become a “good tired.” No cooking tonight. It’s only 6:20 and the kitchen is closed!! The cook is sick–sick of cooking! (old, corny joke). You know I “cook for therapy” when I’m strong enough. LOL

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  3. Andrew, what a neat collection! I love all your treasures. Thank you so much for sharing them and the memories associated with them!

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  4. I have several odd but well loved objects. These are just a few:

    One that I know I played with in my maternal grandmothers room aka “Nana” as a child, that I have no idea what exactly it is or where it came from but I love it. It has a round metal base from which many small metal wires branch out and at the end are semi-transparent birds. I love it, they look like they are flying.

    I also have a 6 pane wood panel window that use to hang in an odd little opening between our living and dining rooms in the house I grew up in.

    I have a solid steal painted mouse in a floor length dress, that we found at a flea market that is the “one little mouse in great distress looked all over for a floor length dress, if she can’t find one smaller than small than she can’t go to the Butterfly Ball,” from a book I have read to all of my children when they were very little called ” An Invitation to The Butterfly Ball.”

    I have a collection of buttons from other states that were traded at summer meeting from when my Grandparents took us along on their “Ding-a-lings” trips ( Retirees from the Phone company who congregated together every summer from all over the United States, in a different place every summer).

    I also have 4 pocket dragons from a creator named Real Musgrave ( ).

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