By Amanda Curtis, Staff Writer
Click the play button and allow Cheap Trick to serenade you in the background with their hit song, “I Want You to Want Me.”
The truth is, I want people to want my stuff. Long after I’ve gone from this earth, when my pen no longer graces the paper pages that I release my thoughts onto at night, when my hands no longer braid my nieces hair for dance routines and ball games, when my heart pumps it’s last beat of love-infused blood through my body, and when these vocal chords sing their last note of praise to my Creator. When all that remains of Amanda Rose Curtis are memories and few earthly treasures, I want people to want my stuff. Because by having my things, they continue to have a piece of me.
Obviously, this isn’t some amazing, new discovery. People have collected passed loved ones’ treasures since the beginning of time. That’s why there are memoir bears made from clothing of fallen service sons, dads and brothers and shadow boxes of ticket stubs, photos and other personal belongings. That’s why there are albums that span generations and continue to be sung by the masses, with no regard to age. That’s why there are museums housing the most precious of artifacts. ‘Things’ are collected, because we, as a human race, want to hold on to what ignited emotion within us, even if it is just a small piece of property the owner once possessed. It’s an important part of our culture and helps keep the magic alive, helps us from repeating history and allows our ancestors’ wisdom to continue guiding our lives.
As the Notre Dame Cathedral burnt this week, I was reminded of the treasures preserved inside. Relics like the crown of thorns that was forced onto the head of my Savior, the grand organ and numerous musical works were thankfully spared from the flames that ate holes through the vintage architecture. And, with the mulitimillion dollar pledges to rebuild the structure already pouring in, it’s obvious that preservation of history is important to us.
Growing up in my parents’ thrift store, I understand and appreciate the process of collecting and historical preservation. Through that shop, I saw antiques, family heirlooms brought over to the states from their homeland and even the ashes of loved ones. People want to be remembered. And, I am no different.
Those aren’t just a pair of silver spoons in my room. They are a memory of a time when I risked it all to move to California with stars in my eyes, hoping to work hard enough to be the ‘Next Big Thing.’ When I came back, it was with nothing but two suitcases of things. In that collection, was that set of silver spoons I bought on Fourth Street, aka Retro Row, during my time in Long Beach. A time when I grew wiser, stronger, more cultured and more confident. A time when I left everything I’d ever known to travel across the country to expand myself. I was a big fish in a little pond moving to a huge pond. I wanted to see if I could proverbially keep my head above water; to allow myself to become exposed to a different way of life; to experience a world I had never before known, try things I had never attempted before; like playing spoons.
So, when that pair of spoons gets auctioned off after I’m gone, I want them to be warm to the touch like the California sun was on my skin. I want the person who bid to win them to be able to hear the waves of Long Beach crashing against the shore every time they’re played. I want the sense of fear, courage and accomplishment I felt during that season of life to be felt by him/her.
Experiencing life has always been important to me. While there are many ways to do that, my favorite is by listening to others’ stories and experiencing life through them. “Stand up tall and straight, work hard and invest in yourself,” are words of advice from my long-time friend, Aline Defoe that continue to ring in my ears today.
Growing up on Main Street as a child alongside Burl Brown, Rosemary, Keddith Maynord and Aline Defoe, I had the pleasure of knowing just about everyone in Hohenwald. I’m blessed that Aline was one of them. She was one cool lady. In the winter, she would be draped in gorgeous furs, and in the summer, adorned with the most beautiful pieces of jewelry. I knew we were soul sisters just by the things she bought in my parents’ store. Imagine my nostalgic thrill of bidding on those same items during Saturday’s auction of her personal belongings.
As of last week, I am now the proud owner of four pieces of halite. Yes, I actually paid money for rocks. But these aren’t just any old rocks. I remember gazing at them through the window of her store, Defoe’s Jewelry, as they displayed the newest addition to her retail collection. The lady had style. That’s for sure.
Speaking of style, my favorite treasure of hers I now own is a beautiful fur coat with leather detail. I’m no PETA member, but have never been one to own a fur. However, if I could look half as classy as she did wearing this coat, I’ll be happy.
Speaking of class, she carried herself with pride. Class, walking. That’s what my view of her is. She also carried a German, hand-made pocket knife with pearlescent detail of which I am now the owner of. Along with 14 pieces of vintage luggage, a paperweight Florida souvenir, a pair of hand-made, wooden/ivory elephant bookends and a very cool vintage camera that I have every intention of learning how to use.
I feel like the Hohenwald icon known as Aline Defoe will live on through her trinkets. My hope is to have an effect on people’s lives the way she had on mine and so many others in Hohenwald. Even after I’m long gone from the earth, I want you to want me.