Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tchotchke Treasures

Tchotchke (pronounced choch-ka ) is a small toy, gewgaw, knickknack, bauble, lagniappe, trinket, or kitsch. Depending on context, the term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability, as well as tackiness, and has long been used by Jewish-Americans and in the regional speech of New York City and elsewhere.--Wikipedia

When I was a child in New York, I had a toy box in the bottom of my closet where I kept all the little toy “treasures” I collected from cereal and Cracker Jack boxes 

Also included, were the promotional items from serial radio programs (badges, spy rings, Little Orphan Annie code-o-graph and other thingies).  They were all added to my motley collection of toy cars, miniature guns (Cowboys and Indians were big—Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, etc. made even little girls fans of guns and horses) and other what-nots. 

Like a bird attracted to little sparkly rocks, feathers and imaginative bits and pieces, I tucked them all away in that toy box, occasionally taking them out to inspect them and dream the dreams of an imaginative seven year old.

The other day, while trying to get rid of clutter in my office, I found a hat box full of small tchotches. No longer the stuff of childhood, this box contained empty perfume bottle samples, a handmade dinosaur my daughter made thirty years ago,  some crystals and various touch stones collected during my New Age/Hippie days and other bits and pieces of silly and serious things.  

After pulling the hat box out this time, I remembered the toy box I had as a child and realized that I still have a thingie box of collected items that continue to inspire and delight me when I pull them out to inspect them. My creative child is alive and well.

Then I wondered, how many other people have boxes like this (or maybe a drawer somewhere). I’m sure you creative types have something similar, if not an actual box. 

Do you?  What do you collect?  I’d love to hear about it.


Barbara Forte Abate said...

I not only have a "thingie" box, I have several, plus a couple drawers! I still have the cigar box with my Cracker Jax prizes, gumball machine do-dads, and various found treasures. I never stopped to really think about my penchant to stow away these small bits of accumulated trinkets then and now. Security blanket in a box? Nostalgia? It's anyone's guess. I'm just happy to have them for whatever void they might be filling.

Cora said...

Your comment pinged my phone while I was driving. I had to pull over to read it because I was giggling so hard that someone else actually saves stuff like I do. I sighed in relief that I'm not alone in this penchant to squirrel things away. Thanks for sharing, Barbara.

Anonymous said...

MY top desk drawer is basically this. Old pieces of jewelry that either broke, or are too small. Coins I've picked up that I like, interesting beads. It's always fun to clean that drawer out.

Cora said...

Oh yes, the coins--I have lots of other country's coins. Beads are a staple in my box-pretty little things, aren't they? Thanks for commenting.

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

I'm not usually a "saver" but I do have a couple of boxes that fit your description. One is a big box on a shelf in my closet; it's labeled "Keepsakes" and it holds larger items from years gone by. The other is an old cigar box. It holds the smaller stuff. Sometimes, when I go through them, I have to laugh at some of the things I've saved but, no way am I throwing them out!

Cora said...

It is hard to throw those "thingies" away. I can't do it. Thanks for commenting.

marta chausée said...

I have so many thingies and tchotchkes, Cora, that it would blow your mind. I turned into quite the collector, over time. I have a table linen fetish, an addiction to porcelains, ceramics, tea accoutrements, and a wooden chest my father made for me, full of childhood toys. and get this-- i had all smooth countertops in my room as a child, did not go in for stuffed animals or dolls. WHAT HAPPENED?

I also collect art, mosaics and santos. I have a garage full, from top to bottom, of seasonal decorations, art work and decor pieces. Oh, and the antiques. I need a 3000 square foot home, minimum, to house all this shi__. As George Carlin said, "Your stuff is sh__. My stuff is collectibles."


Cora said...

Ah, the table linen fetish--I have one of those. Thank you for that George Carlin quote--love his humor.