2.1 Pirate’s Treasures

I have touched and examined all the bits and pieces necessary to run my life and ever more ruthlessly choose what to keep and carry. Weighing practicality and sentiment against the Gross Vehicle Weight rating of the Jolly Swag. Much went to the yard sale, was delivered to Goodwill, the local school district or even a local women’s shelter.

I don’t think you can know what your true treasures are unless your quest takes you into the fire of don’t-look-back downsizing. Some of my friends have done this. Some have moved from the four-bedroom house where they raised their kids, to the quarter-size two-bedroom retirement condo. My move from a two-bedroom condo plus a1000 square foot office to the micro-planet of my 28’ motorhome was right up there on my fun list with cleaning up after my pet elephant and root canal work. It was my intention not to store anything. There are too many stories of people storing their precious baubles and visiting them a year later to find they’ve paid $1000 to store $500 worth of stuff you don’t want to touch because of the mildew. But I did keep a few personal things only to give myself a little more time to become clear on whom to pass them on to.

I think it was a good personal exercise to identify the irreducible minimum of artifacts that I value. I listed them below. The first item is the one I value most. Everything else ties for second.

1.My father’s butcher tools. A steak knife, a boning knife, a cleaver, and an edge-straightening bone. They were probably 30 years old or more when they retired 25 years ago, but they are bright and ready to work today.

2. The world’s handsomest chess set.  The pieces executed in a medieval theme are bronze and nickel plated bronze castings.  Found under a tree at Christmas in 1971.

3. Hand-carved sign, “AL Levenson, he Yacht Broker” from the 70’s in Florida.

4.Five pieces of artwork. Two posters from Around Puerto Rico races nearly 40 years ago, two Henry Sandbank dye-transfer prints that must be close to 50 years old, and a print of Cheers, 3rd place finisher in the ’68 Observer Single Handed Trans-Atlantic Race.

5.My stamp and coin collections

6.High school and college yearbooks

7.Twenty-four yacht racing trophies.

I managed to find a home for my grandparents’ 135- year-old samovar.

I carry with me a few pieces of raku sculpted by Mas, for 60 years one of my most durable friends.

I am curious what interesting things you may have buried like pirate treasure in the back of a closet and, of course, the stories that go with them.

16 Responses to 2.1 Pirate’s Treasures

  1. Linda Brown says:

    Al-didn’t know you raced. Good job and great memories.

    • allevenson says:

      I tend to be obsessive in my hobbies. Stamps as a teen. Chess in my 20s. Cruising and racing under sail in my 30s and 40s. Bicycling and bridge my 50s. And now writing and RVing.

  2. Carol Talbot says:

    And the chess set….?

  3. I can’t answer that one, yet. My wife is a sculptor and may have a few valuable things, not including the grand piano. I might have a few books.

    AL: I’m having trouble getting your e-mail, as I’m getting the “Miller-Daemon” whenever I send you links to my postings.

  4. karen wittgraf says:

    This is a scary look for me, but just a touch of ALL my junk:
    A Mickey Mouse pacifier of my grandson’s (now age 13).
    An incredibly ugly bedspread (quilted, bright aqua) from 1970-twin size- I have no twin bed.
    A “love letter” from 1959 from someone I didn’t even like.
    A 1950’s book called “Helpful Hints”- (in housekeeping) which I have never read.
    Numerous amounts of sheet music for guitar and mandolin. I do not play an intrument.

    OK- that’s just a wisp of the “stuff”..I’m afraid to open closets.

  5. Colleen Rae says:

    a pair of bell bottoms from the 1960’s, tie-dyed, no less…a broach of my great grandmother’s with her name, Bertie carved on it by my grandfather…an original list of the first ‘subversive organizations’ saved by my mother when she worked for Militry Intelligence. These things are easily stored and I have kept them for several decades.

  6. Michael and Marsha Joyce says:

    Our first motorhome voyage in ’74, kissed off the corporate world, and relieved ourselves of a Palo Alto household. Found out there is a key item to let go off, like the plug in a bath tub, once it’s pulled every thing drains easily. In our case it was a Mooney airplane. After the new owner flew it away, the door opened to a new adventure.

    Totally worth it Al. And yours will be too!

  7. Christine Thomas says:

    Al-Brilliant, as always.
    If I had to suddenly leave my home, I would run off with: treasured pictures of sailing, staying aboard our Cal 20, Cal 25, and Newport 28 with children in various harbors in Catalina, Mexico; all 12 saiilng trophies (I got half from the divorce-the ones I won), + the ones I won skippering other people’s boats as a single person; newspaper clippings from the Singles’ Sailng Club I started in Connecticut; tools my grandfather made in his basement as a tool-and-dye maker; pictures of my grandparents, parents; some of my lapis-blue glass collection; my Mom’s old Singer sewing machine-still works, I still use it; little things my kids made in school: the “Green Mary” to commemorate the arrival of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, a moveable little cow, whales they made; pictures and computer-stored stories of my 3 grandchildren and the hikes we did, sailing with them, birthday parties, fun times; some clothes…most of it would stay….
    AND-oh-my favorite alter-ego Halloween costume-what else-a female PIRATE!!!

  8. JSib says:

    I have in my basement under the stairs in apple boxes many treasures collected over the years that my kids and I went exploring ghost towns in the Sierras and old gold mines which were really fun to go down in some of which still had those little mine cart rails and ties. I’m afaid to take any of this stuff to the Antique Roadshow because I’m sure it would sell for so much I would become rich and then appropriately arrogant.

  9. bob marcus says:

    i have ur dads chopping block.. that goes with the tools…

  10. David Bauer says:

    I am in Denver at the moment, but your list prompted me to remember an old wooden painted sign that is in my study at home in Chico and that dates from the early 1900’s. It reads in bold black letters, “Charles A. Stouffer, Tinsmith.” Today, tinsmiths have vanished from the scene, I believe. Charles was my great-uncle whom I remeber with great affection. Along with owning his own business and being a craftman, he was also an active member of the Socialist Party in Pennsylvania. One of his good friends was a fellow named Darlington Hoops who ran for the US Presdency on the Sociatist ticket in the 1930s. That political party no longer exists in the US, that I know of at least, and the name is used often in a negative way to criticize President Barak Obama. Incidentally, Pennsylvania was the only state ever to have a member of the socialist party as its governor.

    So, this is my contribution to the relics in the attic theme in Al’s Blog. Onward to spend time with my grandchildren.

    • Karen says:

      Hi David,
      The Socialist Party does indeed still exist. You can explore it at: http://sp-usa.org/

      I had several relatives who were quite active in the party, and a couple who still are. As a child my parents had to hide a number of items (record albums and such) they had because my dad needed a security clearance, and any association with the party would have cost him his job. He was always an American patriot and would never have shared anything with ‘our enemies’ but the folks who gave the clearances would not have trusted that. Some people think if you are not of the far right ilk you are not a good American.

      As an aside:” to call Barach Obama a socialist would be funny if so many people did not take it seriously….

  11. Pingback: Welcome | AL's Blog

  12. I have thought often of the things I cannot do without, and always they boil down to the items I once listed that I must save if the house caught fire: my personal documents that repose in my purse. The personal telephone directory is a runner-up. Having cash or access to same is paramount. In hard times, a jade ring will buy only a bowl of gruel. That is the bare reality. If nothing else, I know where that list is kept.

  13. karen says:

    I once asked myself what I would keep if I won the lottery (not real likely because I’ve only bought about 5 tickets over the years). My brother was a troubled soul and eventually died a tragic death. About 6 months later I found a box of his prized possesions in my storage shed. I think he knew that was the only place they’d really be safe. That was the sum total of his treasures, one cardboard box, and I have not been able to part with some of the items in it, including a dominoes set, a cribbage board and some knives he inherited from my grandfather. I also have a framed and signed photograph my uncle, a semi-professional photographer, took 45 years ago in Rome. Of course there are many photographs from over the years, but I am hoping to eventually digitize all of them. My laptop computer, which has many of the papers I wrote while a Philosophy student, and that I like to revisit from time to time, and also many photos of grandchildren and events of the last 10 years or so. I have a couple of pieces of art work that I would keep and a couple of pieces of furniture. The rest would go.

    I have in fact been boxing up many items that I plan on disposing of. A very few of them will go to friends and family, and a few I would like to sell. The rest will go to “The Arc”, which promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and
    developmental disabilities, my favorite charity that has thrift stores. (I give money to others, and time to a few…but that is the one I donate ‘stuff’ to.)

    I am a bit of a hoarder, not to the extreme that some people go, but I do have trouble letting go of some ‘things’. I would like to get past that…but one day at a time.

  14. Evelyn Washington says:

    Things, I love things. I fancy myself somewhat of a serious collector: glass, books (only a few catagories, thank God, but its still a lot) vintage clothing and jewelry,cloth dolls along with found items that I paid nary a penny for. It’s all about the hunting and gathering and the never ending element of surprise. Finally, I am in the process of relieving myself of many of the THINGS I have been caretaker for, for so many years. It really is empowering to let some things go.

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