The Stuff That Survived
by Dennis Greene
I have been acquiring precious, useless stuff for over 60 years, but I am periodically forced to clean house to make room for more. Yet, somehow, the following items have managed to survive each successive purge.
A rubber “Froggy the Gremlin” squeeze toy I had when I was five. Froggy was a leading character on Smilin’ Ed’s Gang, a children’s TV show sponsored by Buster Brown shoes. The show was one of the earliest TV broadcasts, beginning around 1948.
The King Tut magic trick, a tiny blue mummy in a yellow plastic casket. The mummy usually rested quietly, but, as the Magician, I could make the mummy pop out and refuse to go back in. I can’t disclose the secret.
An olive drab rubber snake bite kit slightly bigger than King Tut, containing a razor, antiseptic, a tourniquet, and an instruction sheet. The container also functioned as the suction cups needed to suck out the viper venom. I carried this kit when hiking and camping in New Mexico in 1958. Happily, I never had to use it. I also managed to keep the ornate 24” leather belt with brass Philmont buckle that held up my Boy Scout shorts that summer.
A small silver bell attached to a rawhide thong. Eileen and I shook a bunch of these bells all throughout our 26-mile hike through a grizzly infested section of Glacier National Park in 1976.
A leather-covered jewelry box containing a solid gold key engraved with the initials D.I.G. The key opened the Partner’s liquor cabinet at Mintz Levin and was presented to me when I became a Partner in the law firm in 1979. It is a relic of another era, as am I.
A square piece of cardboard with the words “Duncan Creek, Yukon Terr,” a small piece of scotch tape that once held several flakes of the gold my girls panned on a trip to the Yukon around 1989. I managed to keep the cardboard but lost the gold.
A bag containing 13 MBTA subway tokens.
Seven two-inch square waxy cardboard “Playroom Portraits” of Howdy Doody, Clarabelle, Dilly Dally, the Inspector, and the Flub-A-Dub. Beginning in 1950, I and several other first graders would arrive at my friend Rosemarie’s house just before 5:30 each weekday to watch The Howdy Doody Show on the only TV in our neighborhood. We were the first TV generation, and we all used Colgate Toothpaste.
A clay pipe heavily used during the period from 1970 through 1974. There are still remnants of some illegal substance in the bowl.
A glossy identification badge with a picture of a scantily clad seductress and an affable looking dragon, indicating my status as a Volunteer at the 2013 Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Ga. Fifty thousand sci-fi and fantasy fans, many wearing elaborate CosPlay costumes, took over the five largest downtown hotels for five days. I was about 45 years older than the average attendee, but I had a blast.
A black case with a “Showcase Live” logo sticker, containing a harmonica engraved with the same logo. Showcase Live is an entertainment venue located at Patriot Place created by Shari Redstone. I represented Shari when the place opened, and the harmonica was among the gift items distributed to guests. I have never been back.
I have no idea why these random items survived while so many others, probably more valuable and meaningful, were discarded. I do know that each of these items serves as a prompt. I could tell you stories.
Whether it’s pop culture, sci fi, memoir, or whatever is on his mind at the moment, Dennis provides us with his own blend of engaging humor–and, clearly, he has more stories to give us!