The art of collecting memories

Ellen Emery

This past week, I have heard many individuals describe their “collections.”

Some have been contestants on game shows watched and some in the process of selling their prized collections on the History Channel program “American Pickers.” As I listened to the descriptions of collections of motorcycles, rubber ducks and toys, I mentioned to The Clockman that I didn’t have anything I collected.

The Clockman might disagree. Although on the evening this was a topic of discussion, he made no comment.

He has had the task of moving what he likes to call my “collection” of musical instruments. The instruments in my collection are not only small bells or maracas but a pump organ and electronic organ, too.

As I have mentioned before, I love music, especially the music of James C. Philips. It is always with sadness that his Christmas CD has to be put away for another year. I especially enjoyed listening on YouTube a few weeks ago to an amazing duet this extraordinary musician played with the Rev. Judy VanKennen. The piano and organ duet was marvelous!

There is a soft spot in my heart for musical instruments in which others have seemingly lost interest. One organ I have collected (with the help of The Clockman and a number of friends drafted for heavy lifting) is a pump organ from a local church.

The pump organ was no longer needed. I honestly could not see it being discarded and found a place for it in our home.

The other organ that holds a place of honor in our home also was soon to be discarded by a church downstate near Aurora. That organ was carefully brought home by The Clockman and moved in again by friends and neighbors who were drafted to lend a helping hand.

And of course, there are penny whistles, tambourines, rhythm eggs and even a musical wooden frog in my collection. (It was pointed out there have been pianos added and taken away and a keyboard, which required assembling!) Since those instruments are not lined up on a shelf for display, though, I have never thought of the items in my music room (and living room, too) as a personal collection.

This week I realized that perhaps my coffee mugs might be considered a collection. (The Clockman — now Proofreader — counted the coffee mugs in our kitchen, adding the one in my hand and decided there were 134 mugs in my collection. This did not count those Christmas mugs just put away for another year. Perhaps that is a few too many!)

There are a number of mugs I can choose to enjoy my coffee in and with each one there is a memory of a family member or dear friend. There is a mug from our youngest son, Gregg (there are a number of mugs from family members). This mug is from Disney World in Florida.

Gregg got this mug for me when he was on a high school jazz band trip with director Lyle Crofoot for a competition there. How special that mug is.

And there is a coffee mug hand crafted by Phil Sheehan that commemorates this column. Phil created a coffee mug complete with the title of this column, a newspaper and steaming cup of coffee. What fun! I saw Phil recently and was so pleased to learn he can still make the cups he created now some time ago.

Monday morning, as my thoughts turned to what I might share this week, I held my morning coffee cup. It is a new one added to my “collection” this past week.

The cup was purchased at Dunkin’ Donuts in the Speedway Plaza near our home. The young woman who assisted with my purchase of coffee and the bright yellow mug was so kind, wrapping it carefully so it wouldn’t break on the trip home.

Yellow is not usually my color of choice. But on this coffee mug, the graduated shades of bright yellow are perfect.

On an overcast Monday morning, the bright yellow mug reminded me of an early morning sunrise and made me smile. The words on the side of the mug announce boldly, “Wake Up!”

As I finished my coffee, there were words on the bottom of the mug as well telling the user of this cup to “Be Awesome!” What a terrific message to begin my day! My thanks to Dunkin’ Donuts for a terrific coffee mug that made my Monday morning brew a fun one.

I would urge you this week to look around your home and think about a collection you might have, take a moment and enjoy it this week. Enjoy every moment, including time with a favorite cup in hand, making that cup of coffee a perfect one filled with memories!


Our neighbor Keith Edwards celebrates his birthday Friday. Keith and his lovely wife, Pat, are wonderful neighbors and extraordinary individuals. What a joy it is to visit with them both.

My warmest birthday wishes, Keith. I hope your birthday is a wonderful one. Have a great day.


Gloria Compeau of Brasher also celebrates her birthday Friday. Gloria cares deeply for each one serving in the military, reminding each of us to remember our veterans and those serving today. She has sent boxes to our military and written letters to each one.

My heartfelt thanks, Gloria, for your concern for family, friends and especially for those serving in the military to protect the freedoms we enjoy. My warmest birthday wishes are sent your way, Gloria.


My thanks to Alexis in the seafood department at Price Chopper. This lovely young woman has been so helpful the past few times I have stopped to make my salmon purchases. She has been understanding and kind, too. And for that I am most grateful.

Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live and shop on a Saturday? I certainly think so!


“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

— John Steinbeck

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.