Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Flotsam and Jetsam As Biography

Remember S&H trading stamps? 

I painted them the other day, as part of my project to paint my mother's things
I haven't worked on that in more than a year, and this painting didn't turn out, but the image brought back memories---of places that gave these stamps out––
the gas station (Sinclair, I think, with a big green dinosaur out front) and the grocery store (Piggly Wiggly!)––
and of sitting at the kitchen table helping my mother lick and stick sheets of these stamps into books to be redeemed for... what?... 

Did she ever even redeem them? 

Did yours? 

Here's a similar project---after her mother died, photographer Beatriz Ruibal recorded her things, "in an obsessive fashion."
These are the sort of jetsam* that turn up in the Thrift Store, wrapped in a piece of newspaper, or maybe not, maybe a bit chipped from being loose in a brown paper bag.

Terms for marine wreckage per Wikipedia

  • Jetsam is part of a ship, its equipment, or its cargo that is purposely cast overboard or jettisoned to lighten the load in time of distress and is washed ashore.
  • Flotsam is floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo.
  • Lagan (also called ligan) is goods or wreckage that is lying on the bottom of the ocean, sometimes marked by a buoy, which can be reclaimed.
  • Derelict is cargo that is also on the bottom of the ocean, but which no one has any hope of reclaiming (in other maritime contexts, derelict may also refer to a drifting abandoned ship).


Zhoen said...

A tennis racket, I played at the public park with several friends in high school. I wasn't any good, and got some wicked tennis elbow, but we had fun. Green stamp racket, as cheap as could be, in a frame with wingnuts. And a can of balls.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, massive single volume bought with green stamps a letter at a time from the grocery store.

poodletail said...

Flotsam, jetsam, lagan/ligan, and derelict: all useful terms to have in my pocket in my new home of the PNW. Thanks, fresca.

Fresca said...

ZHOEN: Fun! With a can of balls even!
That's one of the things I hate about people being dead: you can't ask them stuff like, Did you ever redeem green stamps?

POODLE: May some wonderful jetsam treasure wash up on your beach, my dear.