“The Museum of Whatnot” by Kevin Wilson
I stumbled on this gem at Fifty-Two Stories this morning. Janey is the curator and only employee of the Carl Jensen Museum of Whatnot.
The MOW is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to the acquisition and preservation of the everyday made unique. Things that are ordinarily junk but not junk because someone, somewhere, made it more than that by their collecting, hoarding, and preserving it.
Some of the museum’s exhibits are creepy, like the toenail clippings, and some are sad, like a boy’s collection of letters cut from magazines. Janey spends her days taking care of theses collections, of other people’s stuff, things they cared about for whatever reason, but has no things of her own, things she feels attached to, things she wants. Her belongings come and go, she doesn’t hold onto anything, or anyone for that matter.
Her life is changed by a regular visitor to the museum, an older doctor whose weekly visits center on a collection of spoons. When Janey finds six more spoons in the museum basement to add to the collection, he is glad and asks her out to dinner, something the reader feels like he’s been wanting to do.
Although the story focused on Janey and her relationships, both with people and objects, it also touched on what things mean to us, why we sometimes need to keep them, collect them, how we deal with the loss of loved ones and the things and feelings they leave behind.
I found the story touching and Janey was a character I could relate to somewhat. I read it on-line at Fifty-Two Stories, but it’s part of Wilson’s collection Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, which I’ve already added to my wishlist.
John hosts Short Story Monday at The Book Mine Set. Head over there to see what he and others have been reading.
The above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.