Friday, October 23, 2009

Just Because We Can, Doesn't Mean We Should, Unless You're Talking About Cleaning Out My Basement

Very sorry for the monstrous gap between posts. Went on a jaunt, then came home and promptly fell ill. Still not feeling up to par, but oh well. We do what we must.

This little newsish item caught my eye for some odd reason. A clump of Elvis Hair, vintage 1958, went up for auction and actually sold for $15,000! But allow me to clarify: this is hair believed to be Elvis's. Heaven only knows what, if its provenance was more reliable, it would have sold for. Perhaps eleventy billion. Especially since an Elvis Shirt went for 52K. Just a shirt--not something that actually may hold the DNA of The Pelvis himself. (Who may or may not still be alive, by the way.)

Personally, I have never understood the Mystique Of Elvis. I never liked his music, not any of it. I don't get the pilgrimages to Graceland or the people who buy the Velvet Elvises (Elvi?) or the collectible plates or any of that stuff. But the hair thing really creeps me out. What will the buyer do with it? Ever since reading and seeing Jurassic Park, the story in which scientists successfully extract dinosaur DNA from prehistoric bugs preserved in amber (the dino blood was still in the insects' system after they bit them) and then recreate the long-dead species, I can't help but think about the motives of some people. Oh sure, for some fans, it's merely a desire to hold on to something that belonged to someone they admired. Or to own a piece of someone famous. For others, celebrity memorabilia is an investment like stocks or gold.

But in this age of highly advanced science and technology, it sure would give me pause if my dad or daughter or husband were a bigdeal celebrity. The weirdo stalkers are bad enough. Can you imagine if some superfan with big bucks decides that he wants his own Beyonce 2.0?

Hey, did I just write a Script Treatment for a movie?


On a related note: The seller of the Elvis Clump, a Mr. Pepper, was apparently a friend of Elvis's and a president of one of his many fan clubs. Actually, the seller had to have been the friend's estate, because Mr. Pepper died in 1980. So, it seems that perhaps Mr. Pepper's family may have been de-cluttering things a bit and found that the Clump and assorted shirts and Pez dispensers really weren't doing much more than taking up space. I can relate. I bet you can, too.

How do you know what to save anymore, and for how long? It's just terrible. My kids are 24 and 21. Confession: I did not save all their baby clothes. Am I a terrible person? I also did not save every single card they gave me, nor did I save every single one of their elementary school papers or projects. Did I just lose my Mommy Card? I can't stand saving a lot of stuff. I don't want to end up on that tv show "Hoarders."
Right after the tragedy of September 11, I was talking to my friend Ann, and she said, "One of the things that struck me when I saw those towers come down was all that paper. Everywhere, there was paper. Right then and there, I decided that it was time to get rid of all the junk in my house. Because when I die, I don't want to burden my family with having to go through all the papers and all the crap in my house." She was so right.

That, however, was eight years ago, and although I made a similar pledge right along with her, I have a bunch of crap in my house that would not bring anywhere near fifteen thousand bucks, total. (Although I do have a clump of Rick's hair from when he had to get his long, long, LONG hair cut in order to get a "real" job many years ago. Anyone interested?) Rick even has his first five-speed bike that he bought with his very own money back in, like, 1875 or something. Why he has it, I'm sure I have no idea. It's lying in the basement, dusty and forgotten, but he needs it. It is a valuable relic of his Past.

And me? I am, at present, trying valiantly to think of a valuable relic of my Past that I am stubbornly holding onto. Aside from the abstract and intangible, I honestly cannot think of any. As I have often wondered before, I fear I have become Sentimentally Autistic; in my desire to always move forward, I willingly leave things behind, knowing that the truly important things travel always within me.


  1. I never understood the Elvis craze either; all around me girls were moaning and swooning. I listen to Randy Bachmann's Vinyl Tap, however, and when he plays an Elvis number it comes to me forcibly how much better the man was at singing than a lot of the poor shouters singing now.
    I have hair; mine and my daughters' braids. My mother cherished these, all done up in a gold frame. I can't bear to throw them out. This also goes for a filing cabinet full of stuff, inclucing my mother's typescript of her MA thesis.
    And some of my daughters' art work, circa the early '70s. It gives me some pleasure to think that someday this will all be their problem. I think I may qualify for mean mother of the year, at least.
    Glad you're back. I have been having bloggy aphasia too.

  2. I wish Mr. Pepper had been a PhD. Or perhaps an MD. That's all I ask.

    We have a small condo, so clutter is our foe, and we have little patience for it. That's probably a good thing, because I'm somewhat sentimental, and would probably keep every stupid thing forever.

    Elvis? Before my time, though not by much. Never cared one way or the other. I think that by the time I realized he existed, he was dead. Then again, the Beatles had broken up by the time I knew they existed, and I'm a big fan there. I'm pretty much unwilling to invest a bunch of money in that kind of relics, though. I heard on This American Life recently about a guy who got really interested in Louis and Clark, and eventually built himself a huge collection of books. He eventually sold it to the college of Louis and Clark, and made enough to retire early. So maybe there's a time and a place for everything, huh?

  3. Fis4Freak10:53 AM

    Nance don't you still have the woven wool robe? The one that looks like what Moses wore when he was banished to the desert by Pharoh?! Isn't it hanging on the hook in your bathroom?? That is some relic! You need a septor!! ;)

  4. Fis4Freak--Oh that robe. It was terrycloth, BTW, and it was Patti's at first. No, I do NOT have it anymore. LOL. "Oh,Moses, Moses!" Hee hee. Do you still watch that movie whenever it's on? I haven't seen it in YEARS.

    J.@jj--You know, this post took a strange detour as I was writing it, so I just followed. I was originally going to chat about what I would be willing to have of any famous person's, if anything. You know I have a great interest in Pres. and Mary Lincoln, but I seriously doubt if I'd care to own anything of theirs. And that show "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS--I am constantly telling my kids "FORGET IT. THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS HOUSE WORTH A THING!" I am seriously not a saver, and I think I am the oldest thing currently in my house.
    PS--LOL Dr. Pepper.

    Mary G.--You're right; I was already in sort of a BlogSlump, and then when I became ill, it was the Deciding Factor.
    Re: saving hair. what IS it with us and saving hair? what will we do with it? it's not like we can reattach it, nor can we really hold it up and re-imagine it back on their heads because now they look totally different, etc. it's simply goofy. Duh.

  5. Do DNA testing on the hair for traces of Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich residue. And drugs.

  6. I'm the sort of person who holds onto lots of random crap but only for short times; every year or so, my stuff gets too cluttered and I trash most of the junk.

    As far as Sentimental Crap goes, I only keep a few things. I have a tassel from my undergraduate commencement, but I think that's really the only thing I've held onto. Having to move across the country on a plane really does limit the crap you can hold onto.

    I don't know what my mom has from when I was a baby, but I hope she's thrown enough of it away that I don't have to wade through it when she dies. Unfortunately, she's a hoarder, and so I know that's going to be a hellish project.

  7. Mikey--No tassels here. Mine got burned up in a car fire. As far as your eventual "hellish project"--it will only be terribly hellish if you feel guilty about throwing stuff away. Otherwise, you can simply get a dumpster or two and toss it all.

    apathy lounge--as i was google image searching for a graphic for this post--an increasingly awful task--one picture came up of a pb and banana PIZZA. urg.

  8. The thing is, she does hold onto a few important things (social security cards, money, insurance information, and other importantish documents), so I'll probably be obligated to at least go through things thoroughly enough to make sure none of that is thrown out.

  9. Loved this post. My husband and I are the King and Queen of Clutter. As an artist, I always think something will come in handy for a piece of art work. I used to collect a dozen different things ---cow paraphernalia, postcards, depression glass, for example ---but at some point one loses interest ---but always long after one runs out of space. And with so much, it is nearly impossible to find something when we need it. We moved to this house in 1987 and there are still boxes in the attic that have never been unpacked, so you can tell how much we NEED all that stuff. We will probably end up being those people they find dead under piles of junk that toppled on us in one of the narrow pathways through the house. Relatives will find stacks of books, art work, file folders, and other useless paper. I tease my husband that when he dies, I will have the world's largest garage sale ---I'll sell all his tools and car parts in our 5-car garage complete with office and 2nd story storage. Well, it would be a 5-car garage if he didn't have all that equipment and tons of tools in it.

  10. We moved into our house in 1985. There is, in the crawlspace,still ONE unpacked box. What's in it? NO IDEA. Someday, I will find out.

  11. So glad you had your jaunt, but bummer on the illness. Hope you're back to being 100% since it's been a while since you wrote this post.

    Dying to know what's in that box in the crawlspace. LOL

    Well, I lost my Mommy Card, too, because I kept no clothes of Son's. I have a few cards. I never even finished his baby book. The blank baby book with scraps of stuff that's supposed to be written in it is in a closet somewhere.

    LOL on Rick's hair and his bike from 1875. Supposedly men keep different things from women--things that represent their youth ... or so I've heard. Hubby still has his track uniforms from college. Most are in shreds. I don't think we'll ever be on Hoarders, but it is a constant battle. Paper is definitely my nemesis.



Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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