Retired, and I Collect Boxes
by MARY ANN CARRICO-MITCHELL
You ask about collectors; what do you collect, where do you find them, and where do you keep them?
Yes, unfortunately, I do! Collect: Boxes, autographs, dolls, seashells, baskets, good ole wooden furniture pieces, and jewelry.
I started with boxes first; because I received one from Taiwan when I was about six years old. It was given to me by a favorite uncle who was a Navy Corpman at Iwo Jima.
My box was beautiful, but it warped about a year after I received it. I was broken hearted and tried everything I could think of to try to make this wooden, hand-carved box, go back to it's original shape. Impossible! . . . I thought, and after struggling with it for twenty years, I threw it away !
No sooner did I throw it out, of course, than I married a man who knows all about wood and has lots of equipment to use on wood. He told me all he had to do was to plane the bottom for three seconds to make it lay flat and I was distressed that I had thrown it away.
So I started collecting boxes. I have so many. I had so many!
I used them instead of wrapping paper, for presents, and gave away at least fifty percent of the ones I had. I found out that I have a niece who collects boxes and so she receives one of my really good ones each year at Christmastime.
I have a continual source of boxes as now friends and relatives save them to give to me. I have boxes that are made of wood, precious metals, precious stones, boxes painted and carved and decoupaged. Some boxes are covered with silk, reeds, and jewels.
My only requirement for collecting boxes is that they are small... relatively, that is! Box collecting has become, for me, like second-nature; the "what" is still appealing after sixty years; the "where I get them" is practically automatic, as most are given to me; and the "where I keep them" is practically a recycle project, as I use them for those folks who love receiving my "box-presents".
One of my favorite friends has been, for fifteen years, a group of women who had lunch together once a month and I provided the door prizes, usually one of my boxes filled with a surprise.
Our group is now disbanding, as few of us are able to attend any longer. I decided to rent a space in a flea market for thirty dollars a month. I probably won't make any money, but I have done this before and find it great fun. Everyone loves boxes!
However, I have talked of my "first" collection so long that I will have to save talking about my other "collectibles" for another day.