Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pins Envy

Nancy kindly let me read her copy of Madeleine Albright's book Read My Pins. Albright was Secretary of State during the Clinton years and is now a professor at Georgetown University, and for much of her career she has adorned her business clothing with pins. Me, too, Madeleine! Me, too!

Albright used her pins to send a message to those she was interacting with, usually positive but sometimes with a twist. For instance, Saddam Hussein called her a serpent and so when she went to Iraq to deal with him she wore a snake pin, although she abhors snakes. (Me, too, Madeline!) She also has a huge collection of patriotic pins (flags and such) as well as flowers, animals, buildings, and anything else you can think of. Me, too!

I've collected and worn pins for many years, during many years when they were popular and fashionable and many when they weren't. (More of those latter, probably.) I have, I think, around 140-150 pins, most of which live in two over-the-door cases.  Others hang out elsewhere. Each case has 40 pockets on each side, so there are a total of 160 pockets. Some of those pockets hold earrings, but most have a pin and sometimes two.

Many of these pins have a story behind them. Many were bought with my friend Nydia. We started buying them at craft shows and continued buying them together and separately for years. I'll have to ask her whether she's still got hers--mine are mostly all still here. Others were gifts--my sister Deirdre has given me some really interesting pins. One's an old native American turquoise pin that's as big as a dinner plate.

Then there are the ones I can't find--like the ceramic fish I bought in Massachusetts when Mr. Pug and I went there with his daughters. And there are the ones that got broken somewhere along the way--I have a Robert Shields wooden fish with one of the feet broken off. Yes, I said "feet." Shields put feet on his fish. But I did find the replacement fish I bought when he still had a storefront in Sedona. Alas, he's gone from there now but I still have the fish (with and without feet).

I did find an old blazer in the closet the other day with a pin still attached to the lapel. That makes me think there are probably a few more that didn't get detached before the jacket went to the Women's Shelter or Goodwill or Dress for Success. Rats!

Anyway, what got me started thinking about all this is that one of Albright's pins also lives in my collection--the gold and marcasite Ginko flower on page 7. Mine is lying to the left on the book.

I was really excited about telling Nancy that until she told me she has two of the pins in the book. (Her, too, Madeline!) Then I saw another pin farther back in the book that looked familliar--surely I have that one too! It's the one with the line of attached stars--don't I have that? Nope--mine is similar but it's hearts, diminishing in size and falling away down my shoulder. See the star pin in the top center? That's my heart pin superimposed to its right. Similar but ...  NOT!

All this has inspired me to start wearing my pins again, and documenting that. I'm going to blog my pins at a new blog site http://www.pinsenvy.blogspot.com/. Come see what the Pin of the Day is today!