It’s All Just “Stuff”

Mink Mouse

I have a lot of stuff.

If you ask my husband, he will tell you that I am a pack rat and have a lot of junk.

Same thing, different view. Most of the stuff that I have, I have hung on to because I am a collector. (My given name actually means gatherer, reaper, or harvester). Over the years I have collected things (Unicorns, Crystal Dragons, Angry Bunnies) but much more than things I collect stories and memories.

What looks like a completely random collection of “stuff” to other people is a collection of beautiful and happy memories to me.


When I was little I spent time at my Grandma and Grandpas house like all kids do. My Grandma had a little stash of special toys for me that were kept in a cupboard in the office down low so that I could reach them. I liked to play with them at holidays when the cousins were there. Those were the toys for sharing.

Upstairs in the kitchen is was where I liked to hang out with Grandma and visit. She was in the kitchen doing stuff and so that was where I wanted to be too. I had a special chair with steps so I could be up high and feel a part of. Grandma had a series of shelves built in the wall where she kept her knick knacks. Her fun salt and pepper shakers, her collection of thimbles and a variety of other little goodies. Grandma and I would hang out in the kitchen and she would tell me the stories for every one of those things. They were just dust gatherers to my Grandpa I am sure, but Grandma would tell me who gave her every single one and when. The thimble my Dad mailed her – the little vase my mom bought for her. They all had stories.

My favorite was tucked away and I don’t know how many people even knew it was there.

There was a tiny little teapot that looked like a cottage. I don’t know if it could have ever actually been used for tea or not… but it was definitely cute. Inside of that was a couple of things, but the important one was a tiny crocheted tea cup (and saucer) that one of her friends from lodge made for her.

Inside of that snuggled in comfortably was the mink mouse.

To the best of my knowledge the mink mouse never had a name. But he had the best story of anything on the shelf. My favorite story. The one I asked Grandma to tell me all the time.

When he was very Small… my Uncle had decided that he wanted to buy my Grandma the best gift ever. Ever. In the whole world. I don’t know what the event or the occasion was. That part of the story has been lost. But I do know that what he ultimately decided was that my Grandma needed and deserved a mink coat. He didn’t care how much it was going to cost him. He busted out his whole change collection and talked my Grandpa into taking him to buy the coat. Now my Grandpa was always (to my knowledge) a very practical and logical sort of guy. I can’t imagine how my Uncle convinced him to take him to the store to shop for furs.
As I am sure that you can guess, the change jar did not contain sufficient funds for the Dream Coat.
The cheapest thing in the store was the mink mouse and the jar didn’t actually contain enough for that either. This news was hidden from my Uncle and Grandpa chipped in enough money to cover the difference between the precious jar and the gift.
Grandma was presented with the mink mouse.

She loved the mouse.

When I first discovered the mouse I loved him because he was cute. I came to love him because he represented so very much to me. A child’s innocence. Parental love. Gifts given from the heart and cherished. Secret memories tucked away in teapots but held tight in the heart.


When we closed up the house there were two things that I really wanted out of the house. I figured that there was no way I would get the mouse since I figured that he should go back to my Uncle. Turns out my Uncle was too little to really even remember the story. I wound up with the teapot, the crocheted teacup and the mink mouse.

To make sure I never lose the mouse he is tattooed on my leg with other things that represent my Grandma and Grandpa. They wouldn’t make any sense to anyone but me.

And some day all of my little treasures will go back to being just stuff. Some day my daughter will go through my things and wonder why the heck I would have kept such a little useless bit of the past. That’s okay. After all, it really is all just stuff.

It’s the love that matters.

~ by justteejay on January 1, 2012.

2 Responses to “It’s All Just “Stuff””

  1. I would like to write something profound here but I am having trouble seeing to type through the tears in my eyes. Thanks for the great story! Love ya bunches.

  2. Touched. Thank you for sharing. It is beautiful to learn about the moments that made you. As well as, the stuff that you hold. In all ways.

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