Stalking The Wild Ozarks Tchotchke – Earlier Expeditions
I introduced the world to my mother’s home and its contents in an earlier post, In My Mother’s House Are Many Tchotchkes, with this description:
For you fans of geosociological phenomena, my mother’s home is the nexus of Ozark kitsch and the Newtonian axiom “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Every horizontal space and an impressive percentage of the vertical planes are packed of magazines, books, toys, food, plants, ceramics, linens, doodads, gadgets, widgets, and on and on – and on and on and on and on … .
One consequence of this accumulating mass is that my parents’ retirement cabin has achieved a profound, astronomical scale density, which, at the current rate of increase, will, sometime in June or July 2019, result in the transformation of the southwest corner of the basement into the first documented home-grown specimen of antimatter.
… my mother’s decorating scheme … is variously labeled as The Glass Is 110% Full, More Is More, or Nothing Succeeds Like Excess.
During our Christmas 2006 trip to the Ozarks, I snapped A few photos of some of the items mounted on the walls of my mother’s home primarily to prove to doubting readers that my printed descriptions were based on observable facts. Those photos became `, a post that enjoyed a gratifying burst of popularity due to viewers referred by StumbleUpon.1
The pieces pictured, while plentiful, were only representative of the larger universe (barely) contained within the walls of the family cabin. The shot selection was driven by impulse and whim so not all the items on all the walls are displayed. Moreover, I lacked the fortitude to explore the loft of the house, its closets, the garage, or the outbuilding that previously housed my parents’ RV, all of which now serve as repositories for still more miscellanea.
The Thanksgiving 2007 Exploration
Heartened and energized by the high number of viewings of the previously posted photos and, even more significantly, the positive reviews of and email about Mom’s collections, I spent part of Thanksgiving morning photographing the items my mother has accumulated and mounted for display. While the results are still not an exhaustive catalog,2 I can now offer pictures of many items not seen in earlier posts.
Important Characteristics of The Collection
1. Almost all the multitudinous items were collected in less than three years. Those pieces lining the cabin’s walls, shelves, mantles, and tables (and those stored in boxes and chests) belonged to someone else prior to 1988, the year my parents moved into the house where my mother now lives.
In fact, the walls of our family home, at least prior to my departure to medical school, were downright austere. The only interruptions to the panels of off-white, buff, sand, beige, sand beige, medium beige, tan, light tan, tan buff, buff tan, golden beige, tawny beige, and saffron beige were the obligatory portrait of Jesus3 and the sunburst lamp popular to the point of ubiquity in some regions during the 1960s.
Most of the collectibles were purchased by my mother and dad at local estate sales for a dollar or two (I remember my folks discussing a length whether a spinning wheel they coveted would warrant going as high as unprecedented $20 bid). It turns out that almost nothing was added to these collections after my father died in 1991.4
2. The collection is semi-kinda-sorta-organized. After cleaning the newly purchased items, my father would then mount them in the place mom selected. While similar items were placed together, it was, of course, impossible to anticipate, for example, exactly how many meat grinders the would end up in the collection. During the same time that the set of meat grinders were growing, other items (e.g., oil lamps, butter churns, wrenches, … ) were also being mounted on the available wall space. The process was not unlike playing a huge Tetris game, rearranging furniture, tools, and implements randomly falling onto the walls of a house into similar groups. Consequently, most of those meat grinders are in one batch in a specific area of the wall but another, smaller group is located across the room.
3. My exploration was carried out under arduous if not treacherous conditions. Some of the photographs are suboptimal because well, I’m a suboptimal photographer, but others suffered because of insufficient light (the consequence of an overcast day and the lack of windows in some rooms), and still others are distorted because the the masses of random pieces and detritus that fill the floors of some areas (e.g., the loft) forced me to shoot some photos at radically acute and obtuse angles.
The Photo Postings
I plan to publish these photos, beginning tomorrow (or as soon as I can travel to a site with decent internet access) and extending over the next two or three weeks. Most of the delay in bringing these online has to do with the need to edit many of the shots to bring out the detail or increase the clarity. None of the editing is directed toward changing the look of an item. I have, on a few occasions, removed a distraction; the example that comes to mind is eliminating a set of wind chimes constructed from psychedelic colored chunks of stained glass that intruded into an otherwise elegant composition of hand tools.
I anticipate grouping the items by the room in which they are found, so all the articles found in the bedroom, for example, will be found together. In many cases, the same category of items will be found in more than one room. Some items may be shown more than once. An oil lamp might, for instance, be photographed as part of a group and also alone in close-up to display the details of its design. Some of these items will have also been featured in the earlier photographs in Gallery Of My Mother’s Inventory.
I hope you enjoy viewing these pictures as much as I enjoyed preserving these images of my parents’ collectibles.
The links to the groups of images will go live as the photos are posted:
- Bedroom Exhibits
- Kitchen Exhibits
- Loft Exhibits
- Basement Exhibits Part 1
- Basement Exhibits Part 2
- Deck Exhibits
- Hallways & Bathrooms Exhibits
- Living Room Exhibits
Note: Originally posted Dec 1, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of AllanShowalter.com
- See Mother’s Tchotchke Inventory Hits The Charts [↩]
- Many items, for example, have never been unpacked from the boxes where they were “temporarily” stored years ago [↩]
- I recall that picture being the classic full face Jesus with the eyes that follow you; Mom remembers it as Jesus at the door of your heart (the important feature is that there is no door latch on the outside – one has to open the door to allow Jesus into ones heart) [↩]
- I don’t find anything odd or profound about the collecting ceasing with my dad’s death; it was an activity that they enjoyed doing together but Mom didn’t enjoy doing alone. [↩]