Well, it’s interesting that Sigmund Freud harkens the psychology of collecting with ties back to toilet training. And in his way, he says that the loss of control and what went down the toilet was a loss we strive to get back by collecting things. Give or take a literal translation of his theory.
It’s interesting because my pig collection started in my bathroom on a little knick knack shelf above the toilet. And here ends the parallel to Freud’s explanation. (Although I admit I did have to fish a pig out of the toilet now and then as they slipped off the shelf.)
My first pig is a little pottery guy with a straw tail that my parents brought back from Arizona. Still one of my most cherished pigs.
Second pig came from my brother-in-law Roger (I’ll bet he doesn’t even remember this). A little brass pig he brought to me. It seems that after a party or event at my house, where guests visited my bathroom, the talk turned to the shelf with the pigs above the toilet. And from there the “collection” came into being.
I decided that “the rule” would be that I could not buy any pigs myself. They all had to be given to me and come with a story. Unlike the collections in some houses I’ve been in; frogs everywhere – hanging from every curtain rod, peeking out from every couch cushion in a green world or owls that blink with glittery eyes, hoot when you walk by and look up from rugs, freaky snowmen living on every surface all year-long, my pigs are more or less confined to a china cabinet.
Every pig has a story. The pigs a newspaper editor brought me from Russia. The tiny boxing pigs tucked in a backpack travelling back from Thailand.
A folk art pig from a friend in Texas sent to me because she had heard I liked pigs.
Pigs hand-made, too. The pair of pigs dressed in coveralls and dress that my Step-Mom made and brought to me as I came out of cancer surgery in the hospital. She tucked them in a chair in the corner. As I lay there in my pain medicated haze, I called my nurse in. His name was Roger and I remember telling him ” hey Rog, I know this isn’t real, but those pigs are talking to me. Can you make them be quiet?” He covered them up with a towel and told them to be quiet. And I told him to cut off those weird meds, please.
And the pigs kept coming over the years.
I have a pig made out of elephant poo that a Deputy Sheriff brought me and a beautiful concrete pig my husband gave me one birthday. A flying pig tie-tack from a Harley-riding police officer. Each and every pig is precious for the story it brought; for the memories they give.
Pigs given as tokens and pigs shared with meaning.
My grandson always asked to “see the pigs” and we would open the cabinet so he could hold them and hear the stories. He had some he could play with and it was always special.
Of course, pig slippers. And they were well-loved and used.
A few years ago I declared a moratorium on pigs but they still trickle in. A beautiful little cast iron pig (one of my favourites) from son and daughter-in-law and the last pig to join my cabinet was hand-made by a work colleague. A little soft pink pig made from circles and circles linked together over a soft squishy little pig body. So very unexpected and such a delight to receive from a man who is a safety professional.
So while people call me a collector, I really am just a recipient of a lot of moments and memories linked to stories given to me. There’s a difference between rushing out to buy; to find and collect, and being gifted with moments.
My accidental pig collection is a gift of moments I treasure.