Adding to collections takes you into the community

Posted7/15/2018 7:00 AM
  • Susan Anderson-Khleif has many collections, including a cat collection.

    Susan Anderson-Khleif has many collections, including a cat collection. Courtesy of Susan Anderson-Khleif

Once a friend said to me, "You are quite a collector." It's true.

A good way to get out there in the community is to build "collections" and then go to farmers markets and estate sales to add to your collections.

Getting out there in regular life is fundamental to managing long-term grief. It makes you feel better, really.

What you collect may be what your mother, your father, your child, your friend or your spouse collected. Or perhaps, it's just an interest of your own.

Now, I'm not talking about hoarding. My own rule is never bring anything home that does not have a place -- no storage. Or you plan to give it as a gift. There are lots of treasures out there your friends or family might appreciate.

I personally have quite a few active collections. These include:

• Roosters

• Folk and art pottery

• Tiles

• Cat figurines

• Horse figurines and carvings.

• Blue glass things

• Trolls

My collections of fine china and of holiday decorations are pretty maxed out. Perhaps a few more Easter Bunnies could be added. But not more china! (And my husband Baheej loved fine china so my cupboards are already loaded).

And these farmers markets have lots of attractions including fresh vegetables, flowers for planting, fresh honey, and lots of cheerful people.

Being around cheerful and positive people is crucial in managing long-term grief.

At a recent farmers market I found some Swiss salt glaze pottery. I have lots of blue and white/gray pottery, so it fits right in. I bought it from woman whose husband brought it from Switzerland years ago. I told her it would have a good home.

Estate sales are interesting because you get to see the inside of houses and drive through surrounding neighborhoods. You discover how people live and where.

Within an hour from my place, I've been to many neighborhoods that I previously didn't even know existed.

Go on the last day of a sale and everything is 50 percent off, so lots of good buys.

The point is … this is fun and it gets you to go out with friends to search around, and discover new things.

For instance, the other day I went to an estate sale with my friend Mary and got some sweet things including three Easter Bunnies and a folk art rooster. And in the process we discovered the most delicious and extraordinary restaurant and fish market on the way home.

One thing leads to another. Look outside. You'll feel better.

• Susan Anderson-Khleif of Sleepy Hollow has a Ph.D. in family sociology from Harvard, taught at Wellesley College and is a retired Motorola executive. Contact her at or see her blog

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