My mum has moved house for the first time in over 30 years, and her big clean out has not only unlocked a treasure trove of childhood and family memories, but provided some great early insights into components of my personality.
While I’ve previously disclosed my guilty addiction to all things royal, it turns out Charles and Di weren’t the only things I was busy creating slightly obsessed scrapbooks about as a childhood. I remember being gripped by the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but most of my memories related to my short-lived but intensely passionate desire to the next Nadia Commenici after her incredible series of perfect 10 perfomances. Clearly my lack of gymnastic ability ruled that option out pretty quickly, but Mum’s clean out has revealed that same period may have seen the birth of another talent that I now realise I’ve been able to move forward with and take to whole new levels.
I may not be a gymnast, but what I was blessed with (or Stuart sometimes feels the more appropriate term would be cursed) is the talent of procurement, which is particular powerful when combined with a personality type overdosed on persistence.
My Olympic scrapbook revealed that I had been able to track down an extraordinary number of Mischa the bear mascots from every newspaper in circulation in regional Victoria at the time. There are pages and pages of them carefully cut out and glued in, but the piece de resistance of that particular obsession surely has to be this hessian wool embroidery that I managed to source and execute.
Similarly, my swap card albums contained reminders of the lengths I was prepared to go to in tracking down rare cards that no one else could ever source, and that I smugly then refused to swap.
The Charles and Diana era clearly allowed for a further refinement of that talent, and I remember trekking into stores all over Victoria while on trips to visit relatives in my quest to track down the limited edition and insanely hard to come by souvenir RedHeads match books.
Clearly the arrival of eBay in the early 2000’s was manna from heaven for me, as it meant I could take my quests global. While my desire to acquire the entire discontinued range of Madeline dolls and accessories was obviously more about helping a two year old Sascha realise her dreams than my own personal obsession, I’ve had to rethink that a little after seeing how quickly she was prepared to discard them as we prepare to pack up for our own house move. I’m happy to say she’s now realised how many hours went into their sourcing and they’ve switched from the ‘cull’ to the ‘keep’ list.
We also discovered a quite insane number of Smurfs during last weekend’s sorting and culling efforts, the outcome of another eBay mission to track down a particular Smurfette. Sadly I was unable to convince anyone of the need to keep that collection intact, so they have gone off to find another family of Smurf lovers.
eBay was also my enabler in allowing me to source a number of rare Judith Leiber handbags, (post GFC America saw a wealth of ladies offloading their Leibers online) so it’s probably a good thing that my account access was lost in the reset that followed their data breach a couple of years ago.
It’s been fascinating to realise how early my (I’m still going to call it a talent) ability to latch onto a goal and pursue it to the extremes of my capability started, so thanks Mum for not only hanging onto the fruits of all of my crazy obsessions for so many years, but also for indulging me as I fixated on tracking them down at the time.