Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Don’t cry for me, Perón’s bathrobe

I will admit that I have plenty of odd-ball junk hanging around.  I have the collar (with tags) of a my late, lamented pooch Grimbald – dead, now, for nearly 30 years. Squirreled away in my mother’s hope chest, I have my father’s bathrobe and the Pendleton shirt I gave him for Christmas right before he died. I have one grandmother’s cookie jar, and the other grandmother’s sampler (which she did as a 12 year old, so there’s really no excuse why the alphabet is in a weird order, is there?) I have the steer horns that hung in my grandfather Rogers’ saloon, which went out with Prohibition. I still have my beloved stuffed dog, Sniffy, who I got for my 4th birthday. (My husband recently offered Sniffy to our dog-nephew as a plaything, before I snatched him – Sniffy, not my husband -  from Jack’s jaws. Sniffy? A plaything for a toy-gnawing lab? I. DON’T. THINK. SO.)

Just looking around me, I can spy with my little eye all sorts of weird little things.

On one book shelf alone, there’s a bit of pre-Columbian stone carving sitting in front of a bendable Bullwinkle, that’s leaning up against a clay pig one of my sister Trish’s college roommates sculpted. The pig appears to be charging a nice little sandalwood box on which a mini-sock monkey is perched.

I forgot to mention the tiny Cloisonné vase, the toy London bus, and the praying hands pencil sharpener that are also on this particular shelf.  Plus a couple of family pictures. (And a bunch of knickknackery left out for the sake of brevity. You’re welcome.)

All arrayed in front of the Irish lit section of my library.

The whole thing looks like it sprung from the mind of James Joyce, so I’m sure the old Jimbo wouldn’t mind the rubber squirt turtle in front of Ulysses.

Okay, okay.

I could sorely use a dumpster. And I’m quite certain that a lot of my stuff will end up there, tossed in what I hope is the distant future by my nieces, who will be asking each other ‘what was she thinking?’

But all of the junk I have is, more of less, personal. It all came from and/or is related to my life, my family, my friends, my travels, my jobs.

Sure, there are a few antiquish things that I picked up in junk antique stores, but, once I paid for them, they became my personal junk.

Anyway, I get why people accumulate “stuff.”

But I really don’t understand the thrill of accumulating stuff that belonged to “famous” people, unless, of course, they gave it to you as a gift. (The closest I come to near greatness is an autographed photo-portrait of Cardinal Richard Cushing that The Cush gave to my father.)

And I really don’t get the thrill of accumulating stuff that belonged to infamous people.

Yet it doesn’t take much sleuthing to find all sorts of things for sale. A few years ago, you could bid for Hitler’s typewriter on eBay.

And now, if you’re looking for objects that belonged to Juan Perón, you may be in luck. (I know, I know. Juan P is not exactly in the same league as Hitler, however many Nazis he welcomed to his country after WWII.)

I saw an article in a recent Economist about one Mario Rotundo, a friend of the late Argentine strongman, who was left Perón’s personal belongings. He’s already offloaded some of what he was left, and used the $500K he’s raised to  - via Perón’s instructions - “fund good works.” Which is I guess what Juan and Evita were known for. Or am I confusing them with good workin’ Madonna? Not that I ever saw the movie, mind you. Still, the tune rattles around in my fevered little brain….

Anyway, 14,000 items are on the block.

They include the green silk dressing ground that Juan donned the day he died. (Shudder, shudder.) The gravestone of his dog, Canela. (“The best and most faithful of friends.” True dat, I’m sure.) And a Limoges box that Josephine Baker had given Juan. (Do all famous people know each other or what?)

The auction hopes to raise $20M for worthy causes.

No mention of the one item – or two, depending how you count – that might be of the most interest.

Apparently in1987, when I must have been paying attention to other things:

… his tomb was desecrated, and his hands and some personal effects, including his sword, were stolen. Perón's hands were cut off with a chainsaw. A ransom letter asking for $8 million dollars was sent to some Peronist members of Congress. (Source: Wikipedia.)

Live by the sword, perish by the chainsaw, I guess.

Think I’d rather have the dog gravestone, by the way. Although I probably won’t be bidding on anything.

I’ve got plenty enough junk around here already.

1 comment:

valerie said...


Although not a saver, I still have Tiny and Bunny stashed safely away from the dumpster.

Clearly our great gifts of verbal mastery were late blooms in our respective gardens of creativity. You crack me up.