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Why My Mother Made Us Take Up Hobbies Is Still A Mystery to Me!

When I my sister Carmela and I were little kids, our mom, for unknown reasons insisted that we start scrapbooks. Inexplicably, Carmela’s topic (not her choice I assume), was the U.S. Space program. I know, I don’t get it either! As far as I know Carmie never had any real interest in space or the race to the moon, but our parents did and so the scrapbook.

My scrapbook was all about animals, which made sense, because I did and do love animals. I loved finding pictures of my favorites; horses (first & foremost), followed by pandas, dogs, cats–you name it. If it had fur and big, beautiful eyes or was simply adorable without even trying, I’d cut it out of whatever medium I found it in and paste it in my scrapbook.  I loved it- – until it became a chore.

My very Irish-Catholic mother was a professional when it came to laying on the guilt and when I lost interest she would make comments like, “Geez, Patricia! All that hard work and now you’re letting it go to pot! Well, I guess that’s your choice, I can’t make you work on your damn scrapbook!”

At the age I was then, she really couldn’t. I had done three giant scrapbooks which bulged at the seams without much prompting up to that time, but the meaning, for me anyway, was starting to wane. “The Guilt” as my sisters and I came to call it was unpleasant, but not insurmountable. So I stopped scrapbooking.

Apparently my mom lost the impetus to force hobbies on her kids after my guilt-ignoring behavior. My younger sister Carolyn (as far as I can remember) didn’t have to scrapbook, but perhaps there were other things she collected or did. Maybe if I had children of my own I would understand this drive that certain parents have to ingratiate their progeny into hobbies of all kinds.

I will admit that scrapbooking was not the only hobby I was gently coerced into taking up.  These nudges usually came in the form of some Christmas present, like my little spinning wheel which I did weaving on. Sometimes I would pretend I was Rumpelstiltskin spinning the yarn into gold. (And yes, I still have the spinning wheel!) I also took up beading, making potholders, knitting, crocheting, playing with and collecting marbles and (strangest of all) started a collection my dad’s empty cologne bottles!

I wish now that one of the avocations my parents would have encouraged my interest in involved the stock market, electronics, computers, or as Lucy Van Pelt might say, “real estate”! My scrapbooks are gone, I have still have some colorful potholders and jars of marbles, but a vacation home in Curacao, now that would be a nice hobby!

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