When I was younger, I collected things. I had collections of music boxes, seal statues, Lladro porcelain, Hummel figurines, baskets, antique jewelry, books, blue glass and Williamsburg pottery. My mother used to call my "stuff" 'dust catchers.' She tolerated my collections, but she couldn't understand them. She didn't have a collection of her own.

However, when Mom died and we started to clean out the house, we found a collection of hers. She had kept flag sticks that she had picked up from the cemetery. There must have been 200 of them, tied together with a rope. What did she plan to do with them? We'll never know. Perhaps she was thinking of starting a tomato plant farm?

We also found a stack of aluminum foil pieces - all too small to use in the regular way. I'm sure she just couldn't throw them out. After all, she had survived the Great Depression and had the attitude of "waste not, want not."

When I cleaned out her bedroom, I found pairs of panty hose with one leg missing. She didn't have the heart to waste the good half. Apparently, she wore two one-legged pieces. Smart and thrifty lady. But, no wonder she always complained about her stomach looking too fat.

My husband has taken over where my Mom left off. He calls my collections 'dust catchers,' too. He insists that I keep making and buying baskets so that I don't have to dust that area. He's probably right, because moving all the baskets to dust is a pain in the neck.

I began to wonder why I collect things. Perhaps it is this - when you really like something, you want more than one. I really like baskets. Regular readers of this column know that I took classes to learn the art of pine straw basket making. So far, I have made 6 of them. There's one under construction as I write this.

As for the other collectibles, I still have most of the music boxes. Through the years, my grandchildren have asked me to give them certain ones. Although it was hard, I can still visit the boxes when I go to see the kids. There's one special box that has an ice-skating seal. Colton loves it and plays it all the time. If it were here in my house, it wouldn't get all that exercise.

The Lladro pieces are safely ensconced in the hutch in our dining room. They bring me much joy. The first one I ever owned was a gift from daughter Jennifer. She was stationed in Europe in the Air Force 25 years ago and traveled to the Lladro factory in Spain. She sent me a statue of two nuns and another of a fairy princess. They are still my two favorites after all these years. We still add to that collection every time we go on a cruise. (Tax exempt!)

While Jen was in Germany, she also started my Hummel collection. Instead of figurines, she gave me wine glasses with the figurines as the base. There are also salt and pepper shakers, a wine carafe and a sugar/creamer set included. All of the pieces have gorgeous Hummel figures involved somehow. To tell the truth, I am afraid to use them. Doubt if they can be replaced.

I still own a few pieces of antique jewelry, but I have given most of it away to Jen and our granddaughter Kiele. As a matter of fact, Kiele just wore my Mom's rhinestone necklace to her Homecoming Dance. Mom would have been so happy.

There are still quite a few books in my collection. I don't buy many books, but when I read a book that I love, I must own a copy. So, I search for it at book sales or at the farmer's market. And, once a book gets a spot on my shelf, it stays. Luckily, my husband has ordered a Kindle for me as a Christmas present. That will be fun.

My blue glass pieces went from a dining room shelf in PA to the enclosed porch in SC to the FL room in our current home. I left a few pieces in SC because the sunlight caught them so beautifully and spread the cobalt blue throughout the room. I didn't have the heart to move all of them. Since Jen and her family now own the SC house, we can still enjoy the blue glass there.

Last, but definitely not least, I still have some pieces of Williamsburg pottery that didn't get broken during two moves. In the old days, we would go to Williamsburg, Virginia every spring. Part of that trip meant a visit to the Williamsburg Pottery Factory. That place is amazing. There are many buildings, all full of various pottery items and other crafts. When you go to the colonial section of town, you can see the pottery on display in the homes. I love Williamsburg and cherish the pieces of pottery I own.

So, my collections are now fodder for public discussion. Maybe you think I am a foolish woman, keeping these items through so many years. But, I choose to think of my possessions as extensions of me as a person. They are tangible evidence of my life.

IF YOU WISH TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.