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Life’s Little Oddities End Up on Display

Wendy Miller is editor of Calendar Weekend's Ventura Edition

In my family, we aren’t really collectors, unless you consider the empty candy wrappers and wads of chewed gum that have been smuggled into the house and stashed in the back of my son Ben’s desk drawers as the makings of a collection.

Family life is generally too hectic and confusing to attempt to accumulate things in an organized way. The truth is, we are too busy looking for things to even consider how best to exhibit them.

My husband, an illustrator, has hundreds of pieces--drawings, paintings, computer-generated works--some of which are artfully displayed around the house. But most of them are stuffed into and spilling out of things. My daughter loves books and has lots of them. But this seems more like a pile than a collection, since most of the books are under beds, rather than in bookcases.

So I was amazed and hopeful after reading Jane Hulse’s Jaunts column (page 7) on the new exhibit at the Ojai Valley Museum, where director Sherry Smith has assembled the rather eccentric collections of local residents: amazed that anyone could have the vision and stamina it takes to amass an exhibit’s worth of apple peelers or animal traps; hopeful, because now I think I can actually come up with a plan for all those candy wrappers and that vintage gum.

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One local collector who won’t be part of the Ojai exhibit, but who will be in the area this week (for a dinner at a local restaurant and a book signing), is Debbie Puente of Thousand Oaks. She has been collecting creme bru^lee recipes for several years and has compiled enough of them--from the sublime (lavender) to the ridiculous (ginger-chile) to compile a book “Elegantly Easy Creme Bru^lee & Other Custard Desserts” (Renaissance Books). For more information on her rather specialized brand of comfort food or on her local appearances, see the Tidbits column (page 45).


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