A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ask Me First!: Guest Post from D. G. Hudson

         After reading a very fine recent blog post by D. G. Hudson, I invited her to come join us with more of her helpful insights about documenting past history through personal collections and retained heirlooms.  I'm pleased to welcome her here today.

Ask Me First!

Thanks, Arlee for allowing me to write about an aspect of documenting one's family history that may not occur to many parents.  I'm referring to a child's right to say yea or nay about his 'stuff', some of which may become his own future collectibles.   

At NASA, they collect Rockets for a Space Garden

Does your child have a collection which he treasures? Regardless of how age inappropriate it may seem, don't give away those items without his permission. Let the owner of that object decide its fate, perhaps after beginning elementary school.  The concept of ownership has to be understood.


A child's collectibles can be driftwood, badges, favourite books, games, train sets or a special comfort toy. Doll collections, action figures, signed toys, a favourite teddy bear, all are reminders of our past. On the serious side are collections of coins, stamps, sports cards, or sports paraphanalia. If an item has heritage significance to the child, such as a gift from a doting relative, ensure the child is aware of the value and background. Some early collections may turn into a main interest in a person's adult life or perhaps influence a career choice. Don't stifle that urge to hold onto a moment, nurture it.


Have a keep and a recycle box, just like in Toy Story, and let your kids decide what is to be given away. Don't get the boxes mixed up, and never keep collectibles in a garbage bag. It might end up at the curb (just like in the movie). Always keep collections clearly marked in boxes or bins, protected from dust and damage.


Kids may become more involved in the winnowing process, if they are going to be selling the toys that are no longer wanted. Recycling toys at a kids' swap meet with your child is a great way to teach several lessons at once. Packaging the items that are small in ziplock bags keeps them clean, and teaches little ones how to display the items, determining prices for the objects teaches value, handling small sales (with supervision) for the younger ones, and helping sort money promotes a basic understanding of our money system. Don't forget to have a 'float' of small bills and change and be prepared to bargain (older kids can do this). The trick at swap meets is to let the kids keep the money they make or agree to share the profits.


This post originated with the idea that a child should have the right to decide what's important in their 'stuff' and not have it given away as if it's communal property. I've heard my hub's sad tale of loss of a collectible electric train set and hardcover comic books which he had slowly acquired. He was never asked, when these items were given to children of his parents' friends. His regret at losing the early collections spurred him to start anew.


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Think of your own childhood toys or items like chairs, cradles, wagons? Do you still have any of them?  Have you ever been to a kids swap meet or had your own toy yard sale?

What did you collect as a child?  Do you collect anything now? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Related posts from DG Hudson's blog:

Tips on saving and sorting those boxes of memories, and a 'Memory Quilt' overview, a free-style version.


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Keeping family records and stories alive, collecting that information, and protecting your history for your descendants.



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16 comments:

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Excellent advice! Our kids always had their own memory boxes of treasures. I have some of my own memory treasures and they are insights into my life.

Inger said...

This is a great post that I hope parents will read. Kids have so much these day in this country and of course they can't keep everything. So let them decide to the extent possible. I had no children of my own, but I do remember my own childhood. We had fewer things. I don't remember things as being important. But I had a toy dog, named Patrick, who is still with me. As a grownup, I used to collect demitasse, and I have a nice collection. I documented my treasures on my blog these past few years and found that each one had good memories connected to it. So it was a lot of fun to share a picture and some memories connected to that picture.

D.G. Hudson said...

Cassmob - I have a treasured glass dog from my brother's collection which reminds me of him. (He died young.)

Inger - I had a toy dog, too, but he didn't survive. Hub's has an antique teddy bear. I collect a few other things now. . .

Thanks for stopping by Lee's blog to visit!

D.G. Hudson said...

Thanks very much for letting me invade your space, Lee! I'm sure you had to be one of those kids who saved some of his 'stuff'. (if you were asked, that is)

Your support is appreciated. I'm so thankful I did the A - Z Challenge this year, thanks to you and the others on the team. I encourage all who haven't tried it to sign up next year.

Wendy said...

I agree completely. I remember my cousin being crushed coming home from VietNam to find his father had thrown out all his baseball cards.

D.G. Hudson said...

Wendy, some of those baseball cards probably had cash value, too. It doesn't take much to ask, but sometimes a parent assumes because the child no longer plays with the toy or item that they don't want it.

This is just a 'heads up' to parents.

Dee said...

Dear D. J., to answer a couple of your questions--I used to collect (on a very small and inexpensive basis) small statues of geese. I still have one that my aunt gave me. It was made in occupied Japan. As to toys--I still have a doll (Suzy). She sits here on my computer desk and has been with me for 68 years. Thank you for this article which really made me think. Peace.

D.G. Hudson said...

Dee, I'm glad this post brought back pleasant memories. And, I'm impressed that you were able to keep your doll for that long.

Thanks for dropping by.

happenence said...

I got my teddy when I was two days old, and she still sits by my bed. My parents are the complete opposite. They have so much clutter because they never throw anything away. Now I have a thing for sea glass and pretty shells which I keep in glass jars.

Kate

D.G. Hudson said...

Hang on to that teddy, Kate. Remember that as one gets older (as in parents) one has much more to remind them of moments or people.

I like the idea of sea glass and shells, I like coloured glass too. Blue and green glass looks great when the sun shines through.

Thanks for stopping by and telling me about your favorite objects.

Donna Hole said...

I'd never heard of a kids swap meet, but I like the idea.

And I think kids do need that sense of ownership and to have a say in how long or what to keep. My kids were always a bit of hoarders, kept things until they were too damaged to remember how they worked.

I still have a few of my favorite toys from childhood, and a I know all my kids do to. Some fond memories associated with the objects.

.......dhole

Lynn Proctor said...

i love this! i wish i had some of the great things i collected as a child--my ceramic dogs, troll dolls, rubber frogs---:)

D.G. Hudson said...

Donna,
We had two or three of these kid swap meets hosted by our community centre (one table $5) and we considered it worthwhile. Of course, our kids always found at least one thing from what the other tables were selling. . .

Lynn,
If you don't have them, then write about them so your family will know what a kid thought in your childhood years.

Thanks for stopping by!

J. Burroughs said...

Great post, D.G.! I love the Toy Story reference.

My husband and I are both pack rats to an extreme, and our four year old seems to be following in that direction.

My parents did throw out things, though not all, and their choices were not mine, which can lead to lingering hard feelings.

I really want to simplify and get rid of a lot of "stuff", but I want to focus on my stuff in that process, so as to avoid making everything communal and leading by example instead of choosing for my son.

D.G. Hudson said...

Thanks, J. I was hoping you would see this. Thanks for stopping by!

This is a good opportunity to teach decision making skills. Weigh the pros and cons, etc.

Maybe this should be a family affair, but clearing out clutter can be harder for adults. . . (when it's their stuff).

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lee - another great guest ... Hi DG - I can relate to this in another way ... my father died suddenly and I was out of the country - so everything went; I've also filtered my own things down - especially when they'd be a nuisance to others to keep for me .. space being a premium; then I've watched my mother over the years give stuff away, or 'chuck it' ... and now she's died, I'm trying to garner in some pearls of wheat as we don't have much personal stuff left.

None of us have children .. so from that point of view - it's just me with my enquiring mind ... both sides of the family have a great deal of interesting history. However I just accept that's the way it is - I must respect what has happened has happened for a reason ..

But I can quite see the sadness of your husband .. and see the point of your story ... "ask me first" - so true ..

Cheers Hilary