What’s in Your Home? Weird Things Hang Out Here…

A quick glance at any room in our house will confirm that weird things hang out here. Since I am normally blamed for this phenomena, I want to note from the beginning that Peggy shares equal responsibility. As an example, she collected these two mola designed creatures in Panama years before we met.

You can blame Leonardo for today’s post. That’s Leonardo as in Leonardo Da Vinci. I was reading Walter Isaacson’s magnificent biography about him on Monday and he attributed Da Vinci’s genius to “an omnivorous curiosity, which bordered on the fanatical, and an acute power of observation that was eerily intense.” So that’s what it takes to be a genius, I thought, and determined to test the theory by curiously observing my surroundings in an intense, eerie way. A large toad stared back at me. A sometimes doorstop, sometimes bookend frog was lying down on the job. I don’t know if my I.Q. jumped, but I did observe that weird things were hanging out in our home. I decided it was a subject worthy of a blog post.

This toad is relatively harmless but you don’t want to stub your toe on him. He’s heavy. Nor do you want him staring at you.
This lovely gal makes an excellent door stop and can double as a bookend in a pinch. She also serves as a conversation starter.

Who is weirder than Bone? You’ve all met him if you follow this blog. This past summer he hiked down the PCT with me. And of course he loves Burning Man. He has traveled to over 50 countries with people on adventures that have ranged from being blessed by the Pope to deep sea diving. There is much more. What you may not know about Bone, however, is that when he is at our house and isn’t carousing with his wife Bonette or the jackass Eeyore, he likes to hang out on a pedestal.

Bone on his pedestal.
He and Eeyore have been bosom buddies ever since Eeyore rescued him from being hung in Tombstone.
Wyatt Earp had arrested him for robbing a bank. Here, Doc Holiday was checking him for weapons.
Eeyore now shares our bedroom. Way back in time when Peggy was an elementary school principal, he lived in her office. It was bad enough being pawed over by every kid who came through, but one day Peggy walked in and discovered Eeyore was missing. A ransom note had been left behind. He would not be returned unless Peggy refilled the candy jar that she kept for teachers with chocolate. Great trauma was experienced in the school when Peggy got on the intercom and announced to all of the classrooms that Eeyore had been kidnapped!
While we are on the subject of cute, furry animals, I might as well introduce this engaging bear. Nothing weird here. There are millions of cute bears. I gave this one to Peggy on Valentine’s Day in 1991. Ever curious, she decided to open the zipper. Out popped an engagement ring! My ever voluble buddy became scarily quiet for a very long minute. Then, she squealed.

Many of the ‘strange’ art pieces found in our home reflect that both Peggy and I like so-called ‘primitive’ art. Like children’s art, it carries a level of creativity and even power that is lost as children and cultures ‘grow up’ and lose their connection with nature, “omnivorous curiosity,” and “acute power of observation.” The mola at the top of the post was obtained by Peggy in Panama from an indigenous tribe. A number of modern artists such as Picasso have used primitive art for inspiration.

I’m sure that most of you as parents or grandparents have had the opportunity to post your children’s/grandkid’s art on the refrigerator. Maybe you even have some of your own childhood efforts buried deep in your memorabilia box. This fantastic beast jumped out of the mind of our grandson Chris. A budding Picasso, perhaps.
This is an authentic African medicine mask from the Ivory Coast that I picked up as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa,
You are greeted by Jungle George, the Poro Bush Devil, every time you visit my post. He was carved by a leper in Liberia and came home with me.
He’s quite proud of the fact that I chose him for the cover of my book about the Peace Corps.
The fact that many cultures have discovered the commercial value of traditonal art and replicate it to sell does not take away from its unique look. These Mayan dogs are an example.
And here we have a Mayan god.
Several examples of Mexican folk art can be found in our home. This frog in its Zen-like pose is from Oaxaca.

Our kids, recognizing our quirkiness, have contributed some of the weird things but I am usually the target. Mom gets more practical things, like chocolate.

Our daughter Tasha gave me this. It sits on the edge of our bathtub with a continual look of shock and amusement on its face. I like the way it is reflected in the faucet.
The bear and the moose are from our son Tony and his wife Cammie. Peggy once spent a whole year looking for moose, and I have had more than my share of finding bears.
This is here because it reflects Tasha’s sense of humor, and hopefully mine. We were visiting the San Diego Zoo, which I really like. But the visit went on and on and on. And I got a little grouchy. It happens. So I left Peggy, Tasha and the grandkids and headed back to the car to read. When the family finally returned, Tasha proudly presented me with this.

Much of what we have simply reflects our own unique brand of quirkiness and can be found outside of our home as well as inside.

Three buddies. Lots of Eeyores remain from Peggy’s days as a principal. The pigs seem to be attracted to me.
We were both attracted to this giraffe.
If our bird houses seem to be a bit rustic, Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee don’t seem to mind. Note the head staring out the hole. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
The last time you saw this rooster, it was covered in snow. While its strange eye makes it look like a dead rooster, it’s the tail made out of tools that amuses me.
We liked the rooster so much we commissioned a pair of Stellar jays!

There are more, lots more in fact, but you get the idea. And that leads me to a question: What strange things hang out at your house?

30 thoughts on “What’s in Your Home? Weird Things Hang Out Here…

  1. You are right, Curt. Children express themselves wonderfully without constraints. It is in the growing up that many lose that spontaneity and when coupled with conformity, the creativity often gets lost.

  2. The only strange thing that hangs out at our house is Ken. Well, maybe not the only one, but the one you notice the most!

  3. Well we have a few strange things, but not as many as we had before sold off everything and did the nomadic thing. Strange things include a life-size ceramic cockatoo on a stick that sits in a huge ceramic pot, a mask that fits my face that I decorated myself, a small African sculpture that I bought from the artist in Tanzania in 1980, and Don’s 3 bears. I have to say they are definitely Don’s. I have little to do with them nor want to, even thought they are quite sweet.
    You and Peggy have quite the collection. My faves (in no particular order) are the rooster and Chris’ drawing. And I love the way you proposed!
    Alison

    • The nomadic thing will definitely do it. When I started on my bicycle trip around North America, I reduced my possessions to what would fit on my bike. (The exception was a few boxes of books I had stored, George the Bush Devil, the African mask, and Bone. Bone went with me, of course.) Most, but not all of my African artifacts- including some beautiful wood carvings I bought in Mombassa, went out the door with my first wife. What’s with Don’s bears? 🙂 Chris was lucky to have a very good art teacher, one who could pull his creativity out instead of stifle it.
      And the bear with the ring was just fun. I do confess to being a bit (make that a lot) nervous, however. –Curt

      • He just likes bears so we have a biggish black bear called Edward, a bigger white bear called Sophie, and a tiny sparkly bear that I was gifted in Japan, and bear mugs galore.

      • Got it! And once you are known for liking a particular animal, they tend to gather! Peggy had a thing for moose, and quite a few came to live at our house. 🙂

    • I’m lucky that Peggy and I have similar tastes, Andrew. We have slowed way down in collecting stuff and have been more aggressive in reducing clutter. Old favorites hang in there however. Especially those with stories attached, like George and Bone and Eeyore. –Curt

  4. You definitely have more weird things than I, my friend. My other-half made me get rid of a bunch during a spring cleaning many years ago! Now, when I acquire something weird, I get the usual, “And where do you think you’re going to put THAT?”

  5. I do think curiosity is not only a sign of great intelligence, but also a very important factor in our ability to hold onto happiness. Thank you for sharing these interesting things from your house!

    • It’s a little bit of Curt and Peggy, for sure, Sylvia. In ways, a bit like your collections. Many, but not all of the pieces, reflect an important event or time in my life. I don’t spend a lot of time looking back, the present is far too interesting, still, I have sentimental attachments. –Curt

  6. What’s weird is what isn’t in my house. There are a couple of photos from my sailing days, but that’s it. Here on the coast, there are houses (and shops and restaurants and offices) filled with nautical crap, but I don’t have a bit. Well, except for my foul weather gear and a hand-bearing compass. You never know.

    I suppose the weirdest things I have are from Liberia and and such. I have a medicine pot from Ghana, a tiny lidded box meant to hold a piece of your umbilical cord (for reinvigoration later in life, of course), some gold weights from Ghana, and a “something” that still doesn’t have a firm identity. When I first saw it, I thought it was a trivet — something to put a cooking pot on. Not so much, I guess.

    Otherwise? I’d have to point to my china collection generally, a copper basket filled with rocks from here and there, and a small collection of paintings and photos done by blogging friends. Some were purchased, but most were gifts, and they’re really quite wonderful.

    • Sounds like a good fit, Linda. I still have several things from Liberia. I couldn’t resist when the “Charlies” came by with gunnysacks filled with treasure. About half went out the door with my first wife, which was okay. I just looked up and saw a print block that the Liberians used in making up country cloth. Interesting, when I wrote my Peace Corps book and sent it off to Jo Ann, she bundled up some our treasures and sent them back to me. 🙂

  7. It’s always fun to see what people bring home from their travels (from overseas or out of the backyard). When we moved a few years ago, I purged a lot of the smaller oddities we’d collected, but we still like seeing certain “weird” things on a daily basis, whether they originated from our kids’ art classes or some little town or shop across the globe. I did a post on this once also! Your stuff is colorful and quirky and fun.

    • Thanks, Lexi. I have a great fondness for quirky. 🙂 Kid’s art always has a place. And I can bet that your globe trotting has brought home some interesting additions. An 8-ft giraffe is staring in the window at me as I type this. –Curt

  8. You certainly have a noteworthy set of oddities. I can’t compete with that, although I do have a sizeable menagerie of origami creatures, and a Bengal Tiger sitting on the window seat.

  9. Like shoreacres, I usually find myself with a collection of rocks. I wonder if that contributed to Tara’s interest in geology? Anyway, I even carry a rock in my purse! A piece of jade from the beach at Shemya, Alaska. I like to bring at least one thing home with me, when I visit another country, so I have a lovely curious collection. I’ll admit that you and Peggy lean toward the odd and fantastical, which I love. My favourite of all though is my dragon collection. I have lots of dragons in my house. Of yours, I’ve always loved the giraffe, and Bone (he was blessed by the Pope?!). That artwork by Chris is some of the best refridgerator art I have ever seen. I can tell you are proud.

    • Peggy is big on rocks as well, Crystal. Just about everywhere we go, she picks up a rock. Size, of course, is limited. (Grin) I can picture you with dragons… And yes, Bone was blessed by the Pope. Or, put it this way, he was in St. Pete’s Square when the Pope blessed everyone in the square and Bone figured it meant him as well. 🙂 –Curt

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